Community voices their opinions

Gathering gives residents the chance to speak about forests

  • Sep. 20, 2011 7:00 a.m.

Jessica Schwitek

reporter2@thegoldenstar.net

More than 20 members of the community came together at the Golden Seniors Centre on Thursday to discuss their concerns regarding the forestry industry in this province, and this community.

“We are here to capture your ideas and present them to decision makers,” said woodlot owner and registered professional forester Denise English.

The discussion was part of an initiative by the non-profit Healthy Forests-Healthy Communities called A Conversation on B.C. Forests. It is a non-partisan, volunteer-supported program co-ordinated by registered professional forester, and PhD Bill Bourgeois of North Vancouver.

They aim to record an open dialogue about the people’s vision for the forested lands of B.C., and identifying areas for improving long-term sustainable management to achieve their goals.

“We want to create a vision that the communities themselves are responsible for,” said English. “So often in our community, we only come together during a crisis.”

Similar open dialogue sessions have been held all over the province in towns like Quesnel, 100 Mile House, Squamish, Campbell River, Salmon Arm and many more.

Several different concerns were brought up during the session including declining wood values, markets, community support, infrastructure, secondary manufacturing, and waste management.

“People have been reluctant to speak out for various reasons,” said Bourgeois.

“While communities may not think they have any ability to control what happens on their local-regional forests, this is not the case. Things are going to change and B.C.’s communities are going to have even more formal voice in the future.”

The prospect of a community forest liscense in Golden was also discussed at the meeting. This would allow the community to have more control over the region’s forested areas, as well as its manufacturing prospects.

“The sky’s the limit really,” said woodlot owner and RPF, Brian Amies, about the possibilities that go along with a community forest.

“And this way we would have control over where the jobs go,” said Amies, adding that with the current system, jobs and profits don’t always stay in the community.

 

For more information about Healthy Forests-Healthy Communities go to bcforestconversation.com.

 

 

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