Draft Community Engagement Plan and Council Presentation

Presentation of the Draft Engagement Plan for Community Engagement on the Future of the Municipal Forest Reserve.

Purpose: To seek Council’s approval of the proposed draft engagement plan put forward by the engagement consultant, Lees and Associates, to undertake community engagement on the future of the Municipal Forest Reserve (MFR).

The plan will be presented at the Council meeting which begins at 1:30 p.m. January 29, 2020

This document lays out a detailed 2 year public engagement plan.

We have some questions relating to the plan:

  1. Why is there a two phase engagement - interim (2021) & final (effective 2022)
  2. Why is it going to take 2 years?
  3. What is going to happen in the meantime - is there a pause in logging?
  4. Will doing it twice double the cost of the engagement project?

Hopefully some of these questions will be answered at the council meeting on the 29th.

It's Not What's In The Report; It's What's NOT In The Report

Lees and Associates have produced a draft Community Engagement Report for the North Cowichan Forestry Review. It is a robust two year engagement plan that checks all the boxes. However, missing from the report is the projected logging activity for 2020 and 2021.

The Municipality seems to have already determined this before the community input begins and before UBC has prepared their strategy.

Ernie Mansueti (General Manager, North Cowichan Community Services Division) stated in the 2019 July 3rd Council Agenda, "harvesting strategy would maintain near-normal (or average annual cut for the last 10 years) harvest levels while the operational review is underway".

"The strategy would be an interim measure that includes low impact harvesting methods, such as variable retention and/or patch cutting."

Patch cutting is the current method employed by the Municipality.

This translates to roughly 17,000 cubic meters (based on a 10 year average cut) or 40 hectares per year.

For context, this is considerably more than the 10,585 to 11,562 cubic meters cuts in 2017 and 2018.

photo courtesy of Chris Istace