Category: Private Managed Forest Lands

In follow-up to the July 3 and October 20 meetings that have been held with local government and other stakeholders on this topic, at the October 30, 2014 Executive meeting, the following action plan was endorsed:

That AVICC staff support UBCM Victoria Operations General Manager Glen Brown to create a smaller stakeholder group with staff representatives from VIHA, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Resource Operations, UBCM, AVICC, Private Forest Landowners Association and Private Forest Land Council to develop a terms of reference for a working stakeholder group that could be pulled together as needed to address local or regional concerns;

AVICC Executive encourages regional districts to contact the Managed Forest Council to discuss offering an information session in your region for the information of local government staff and elected officials; and

That Private Forest Land Council be invited to submit a presentation proposal for the 2015 AVICC Convention.

Two meetings on this topic have been held, both in Nanaimo.

The first was held on July 3, 2014 with Councillor Solda and Director Marcotte in attendance on behalf of AVICC.

The second was held on October 20, 2014 with Councillor Solda, Director Marcotte, Councillor Price and Chair Stanhope in attendance on behalf of AVICC. Other local government representatives included: Mayor Baird and Sundance Topham from Cumberland; Campbell River’s Water Supervisor, Nathalie Vaiu; Comox’s Senior Manager of Engineering Mark Rutten, and Nanaimo RD’s CAO Paul Thorkelson.

Representatives from other organizations to both meeting included Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Private Forest Land Council of BC, Private Forest Landowner’s Association, TimberWest and Island Timberlands.

A Ministry of Environment representative attended the first meeting and three representatives from Vancouver Island Health Authority attended the second.

The agenda for both meetings included a roundtable discussion where representatives’ roles and responsibilities related to water protection were highlighted and included the nature and scope of the issues they would like to have addressed.

The proposed action plan going forward is two fold. The first is to create a smaller stakeholder group with staff representatives from VIHA, FLNRO, UBCM, AVICC, PFLA and PFLC to develop a terms of reference for a working stakeholder group that would be pulled together as needed to address local or regional concerns. The model would resemble the Regional Drinking Water Teams that worked effectively in the past. The intention would be that it would be able to address issues through the regular day-to-day responsibilities of the stakeholders involved.

The second is to address the need for education and awareness on the protections that are in place and the avenues open for addressing issues arising. The Private Forest Land Council is prepared to respond to this issue and they are in process of developing an updated communications strategy and PowerPoint presentation that is modern and more reflective of the work they do (interactive) which should be ready before year-end.

The Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC) is currently working with key stakeholders including the Ministry of Forest, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO), the Ministry of Environment (MOE) and Private Managed Forest Lands Council (PMFLC) to address a number of challenges and concerns regarding watershed protection on privately managed forest lands.

A meeting was held on July 3, 2014 with senior staff from FLNRO, MOE, PMFLC, Timberwest, Island Timberlands, and AVICC executive to discuss watershed protection issues. The meeting provided the opportunity for all stakeholders to openly identify concerns and provide input. The discussion was productive, and there was agreement to continue, with a follow-up meeting to be scheduled in early September 2014.

AVICC’s focus moving forward includes exploring opportunities to educate and build awareness regarding; private managed forest land impacts on watersheds, the Private Managed Forest Land Act , and how it is implemented/enforced in British Columbia. There is interest and value in looking at the differences and similarities of how forests are managed on crown versus private land.

Another focus for AVICC is to improve communication and collaboration between stakeholders. An opportunity exists to re-establish a ‘stakeholder group’ that has met regularly to discuss regional and local issues focused on watershed health and protection. Under the Action Plan for Safe Drinking Water in BC, regional drinking water teams were established to address regional and local drinking water issues. While these groups have been less active in recent years, there is the opportunity to re-establish and re-focus these groups to address current regional drinking water and watershed issues.

The desired outcome is to have effective collaboration and communication that includes decision making involving input from key stakeholders, including local governments.