Minister heard concerns

Committed to continuing with a consultation process before re-introducing any legislative amendments

Re: Big 5 forests firms to log big windfall (Mirror, Oct. 31)

In response to Ben Parfitt’s Oct. 31 op-ed, I think it’s important to remind your readers of some key facts.

This government was re-elected by the people of B.C. and it remains our intent to govern for all the people of B.C.

It was the Special Committee on Timber Supply, after reviewing over 650 submissions from across the province, produced a unanimous report that recommended increasing area-based tenures as an option to enhance mid-term timber supply in mountain pine beetle-impacted areas.

When I withdrew the amendments to the Forest Act that would allow, on a select basis, the ability to convert some volume-based forest licences to area-based forest licences in areas of the province where it might enhance mid-term timber supply, I committed to continuing with a consultation process before re-introducing any legislative amendments. We heard the concerns being expressed, and now we’re taking the time to ensure any revised proposal addresses those concerns before launching our consultations.

Last but not least, I want to strongly emphasize that area-based tenures are not privatization – not even close. Crown land remains Crown land.

While Mr. Parfitt mentions tree farm licences, I would remind all British Columbians that very popular community forests, woodlots and First Nation woodland licences are all area-based tenures which are strongly supported in their communities.

Steve Thomson

Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations