City seeks change to private land logging regulations
By Riley Wilcox
City of Fernie council February 25 drafted a resolution in response to growing community concerns regarding CanWel’s clear-cut logging practices on its privately-owned land in the Elk Valley area.
Mayor Ange Qualizza reviewed a resolution that she scribed on behalf of council that will be provided to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM), asking for provincial government change to the Private Managed Forest Land Act and Regulations that would give local governments authority to require public consultation around private land logging.
Council was first presented with information regarding CanWel’s logging operations during the January 28 regular council meeting public input period by representatives from Wildsight and the Fernie Trails Alliance. The 15 minute public input period is a one-way communication process where community members can provide information to mayor and council that did not have sufficient time to be placed on the agenda.
Mayor Qualizza read the Private Forest Lands Act Resolution: “Whereas many local governments in rural B.C. are surrounded by significant amounts of forested private land; And whereas local governments are expected to manage the assets that support the value of their communities which include sight line, municipal infrastructure, slope stability of land, and watersheds;
“Therefore be it resolved that UBCM call upon the province to amend the Private Managed Forest Land Act and Regulations to standards that are equivalent to Crown forest land regulations and to provide local governments the authority to require owners of PMFL to undertake annual consultations with local governments to share information and opportunity regarding long term disposition or development intentions for land adjacent to municipal boundaries.”
Mayor Qualizza noted that the next step in the process is for the resolution to be emailed to the Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments (AKBLG) to be entered into the resolution package at the AKBLG annual general meeting slated for April 26-28 in Castlegar.
“The idea is that if we vote as a local government association area in favour of a resolution, we put more emphasis on it when it gets to UBCM and it is an important part of the process,” Mayor Qualizza said.
Council unanimously supported the resolution with Councillor Morgan Pulsifer providing the motion that was seconded by Coun. Kyle Hamilton.
Lead image: Clear-cut logging on private land near Fernie. Photo courtesy Wildsight