The provincial government’s Coast Forest Sector Revitalization Initiative offers a chance for the public to comment on two legislative reviews.                                 MIKE YOUDS PHOTO

The provincial government’s Coast Forest Sector Revitalization Initiative offers a chance for the public to comment on two legislative reviews. MIKE YOUDS PHOTO

Have your say on forest management legislation

Deadlines approach for public feedback

BY MIKE YOUDS

Only a couple of weeks remain for the public to provide comment on key forest management legislation in the province.

The online surveys form part of dual reviews launched this spring of the Private Managed Forest Land Act and the Forests and Range Practices Act that governs logging on Crown land. Both are part of the province’s Coast Forest Sector Revitalization Initiative.

Continued logging on private land within local watersheds has given rise to concerns that taxpayers may have to eventually foot the bill for costly water filtration.

Chris Alemany, a former city councillor, has been working with Port Alberni Watershed Forest Alliance to raise awareness of the issue. They’ve requested a meeting with MLA Scott Fraser to discuss the issue. Alemany encourages local residents to provide comment through the current review process.

Existing legislation puts timber supply ahead of other considerations including watershed impacts, he noted.

“There’s a lack of control over watersheds in privately managed forest lands,” Alemany said.

When launching the review in May, the government said its main goal is sustainable management.

“We want to hear from the public about whether there is room for improvement in the management of private forests and also weather the private managed forest land program is a benefit to private forest owners and the communities they live in,” said Doug Donaldson, minister of forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development.

The public has until July 22 to respond to an online questionnaire on the Private Managed Forest Land Program at https://feedback.engage.gov.bc.ca/919592?lang=en.

July 15 is the deadline for online feedback on the Forest and Range Practices Act. An online feedback form is available at https://feedback.engage.gov.bc.ca/732363?lang=en.