NEWSLETTER February 1, 2019

Taryn Skalbania

I was surprised and delighted that you would travel from Peachland to attend Jennifer Houghton’s insightful and stirring meeting January 22, the Grand Forks Flood, Forests and Forestry.

When I read the Vancouver Sun on Saturday I make a point of reading the short column on the 2nd page, “Conversations That Matter” and there you were: We invited Taryn Skalbania of the Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance to join us for a Conversations That Matter about the right to make sure government represents everyone’s interest. I forgot to mark the date of your story.

Your conversation with Broadcaster Stuart McNish highlighted land management grievances with forestry, range management and dirt, quad bike trails that I have brought forward with newsletters and pictures.

In the article the BC Coalition for Forestry Reform made a point that resonates with every British Columbian capable of reasoned thought and due diligence who has spent time on our mountains. “Its time to put an end to a Campbell Government regulation that handed land-use over sight to the companies that are logging and mining on Crown Lands”.

The pictures I am sending my newsletter list of names were taken last November north of Greenwood and west of Grand Forks near the border. Stan Swinarchuk, a retired logger, accompanied me on the days journey and was adamant I see for myself two brutal land slides , a result of logging practices and the sorry condition of the mouth of McRae Creek where it enters Christina Lake. In eight hours of driving we saw two whitetail doe and two grouse.

Presentations by Herb Hammond and Fred Marshall both described as Professional Foresters, made it very clear that the Boundary Timber Supply Area has been ruthlessly exploited. Both presentations are on the internet and the salient facts will give plenty of information to challenge the integrity of Deputy Chief Forester, Diane Nicholls May 22, 2014 Boundary Timber Supply Rationale for Allowable Annual Cut. Https://

Deputy Chief Forester, Diane Nicholl’s argument that justifies the massive clear cuts in the Lodge Pole Pine forest is weak and hollow:

“I am aware of the linkages between AAC and employment, both locally and provincially of the importance of a balance between competing resources and the need for healthy ecosystems.” (page 31)

“Mountain pine beetle (MPB) occur naturally at endemic levels in the Boundary Timber Supply Area. However since 2002 population levels have increased and it is uncertain whether or not the epidemic will continue to expand”.

In my strong opinion, Deputy Chief Forester’s Report is nothing less than cheap politics, a point she makes with her quote;”In the Boundary where Mountain Pine Beetle infestations tend to occur in small, widely dispersed patches” (page 32)

In other words the long standing practice of logging blocks not being larger than 40 hectares would successfully deal with “small widely dispersed patches”.

The minister’s message says it all! “The Minister asked for consideration during AAC determinations of the importance of a stable timber supply in maintaining a competitive and sustainable forest industry while being mindful of other forest values”. Mindful does not square up with important in B.C.

The political reality is that the BC Liberal Government went Alt Right in 2010 on both the Forestry and Wildlife Management File.

The Auditor General of B.C. Audit of Forest Management February 2012 offers good counsel to the BC Liberal Government, a warning that forest practices were out of control.

“However, trends indicate that the future availability of timber will be even smaller and less diverse putting future revenue opportunities at risk. Government needs to establish a provincial plan that states its long term timber objectives and focuses its resources in order to foster economic stability and quality of life for British Columbians now and in the future.Existing management practices are insufficient to offset a trend toward future forests having a lower timber supply and less species diversity in some areas.”

The quote that gets the blood up and showcases the curse of Professional Reliance and a government without a moral compass is on page 16:

“The allowable annual cut in the province is currently 78.6 million cubic metres. This is higher than the estimated sustainable harvest level because the ministry is allowing increased harvesting of mountain pine beetle damaged wood before it becomes unmerchantable.”Once again a contradition of small, widely dispersed patches of bugkill in the Boundary Timber Supply Area.

The best read you will find that highlights the sum of our province’s failure to balance jobs and economy with our inherent responsibility to consider the welfare of future generations is Dr. Bruce Fraser’s critique of Professional Reliance, Saving Place, Land Stewardship in the Age of Limits.

“Always it seemed that the human footprint just kept on expanding, no matter the negotiating devices or conservation programs that were put in place, briefly flourishing, only to be replaced by others without changing the overall trajectory.”

Bruce is a class act that was in full view as moderator of the 92-94 West Kootenay/Boundary Commission on Resources and Environment. There were plenty of raucous/passionate debates between two polar opposite stakeholders. Stakeholders who wanted Parks and responsible land management and those who wanted the status quo.

John Murray, the mining representative had a message he repeated at every meeting. Minerals are where you find them, no parks! Dave Jukes, the Pope & Talbot voice, balled like a cut steer when discussing the Proposed Granby Wilderness Park. Bruce was able to keep control of the rude comments and jeers from both sides, no easy task.

The political journey of the NDP/Green Party Coalition Government doesn’t appear to give us much hope that the Annual Allowable Cut will be reduced to levels expected of responsible forest management.

Nevertheless, recent comments by Green Party Leader, Andrew Weaver in Vaughn Palmer’s Vancouver Sun article February 1; “Horgan’s Gambit Pays Off, Premier risked it all, including his own credibility as a leader and won in Nanaimo” gives a credible opportunity to remind Andrew that his climate change agenda is being compromised by logging practices.

“We are logging green parts of the mid timber supply in beetle affected areas of the interior in an attempt to ameliorate the long forecasted fall down in Allowable Annual Cut. At the landscape scale, we are extensively fragmenting the forest environment- evident in any satellite photograph or inventory of resource roads. We are listing an increasing number of species with threatened status, we are powerless in the face of climate volatility and its consequences and we are not yet managing forests for the expected disruption to the continuity of our fresh water supply, though we see it coming. (Saving Place, Land Stewardship in the age of Limits. Dr. Bruce Fraser.)

The column was about the Nanaimo by-election in which the NDP candidate won and to the dismay of the Green Party their share of the vote dropped from 20% in the last election to just over 7 percent.

As a consequence “Andrew Weaver concedes the Greens will have to rethink the relationship and take some distance from the NDP. He’s mentioned re opening the power sharing agreement and pushing hard for change.”

A bold statement when you consider the Coalition NDP/Green Government have 44 seats in the legislature compared to 42 by the BC Liberals.

I further suggest that stakeholders concerned with watershed management read Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance: Submissions to the BC Government’s Review of Professional
Reliance in Resource Industries January 18, 2018

Barry Brandow Sr.

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