North Cowichan Council Election Commitments - Community Forest

January 13, 2019

Larry Pynn recently retired as an award-winning reporter with The Vancouver Sun. He posted a blog article titled "North Cowichan Council Urged to Honour Election Commitments To Changes In Municipal Forest Reserve". The posting summarizes the questions and answers posed by Larry Pynn in the leadup to the October 20th municipal election.

The candidates were asked if they support:

(1) a policy that allows residents to comment on logging plans within the Municipal Forest Reserve prior to logging decisions being made.

(2) better balance of community interests on the Forestry Advisory Committee to ensure that a wider range of community interests, including the preservation of important viewscapes, is represented

(3) – a logging ban on important forest viewscapes

" To summarize: 6 of 7 elected to council (Tek Manhas, Kate Marsh, Christopher Justice, Rob Douglas, Rosalie Sawrie, and Debra Toporowski) expressed support for the public’s right to review logging plans in the Municipal Forest Reserve before any decisions are made."

Here are some quotes from the candidates:

"Our forests are a public resource, and as such there should the public representation about the values managed, the management objectives, the land and resource planning, operational design etc. The forestry advisory committee should include other resource experts such as those involved in visual management, recreation and more."

Christpher Justice

"I would support making logging plans public at the start of the year and giving residents an opportunity to comment and have discussed this with municipal staff. I see no reason why we can’t do this in 2019."

Rob Douglas

"(1)— Yes, I do support a policy that allows comments on logging plans.

(2) I believe we need to work collaboratively with communities, other councils and municipal staff to come up with solutions to that better address the community interests.

(3) A logging ban on important forest viewscapes, including the lower slopes on the south and east sides of Mt. Prevost."

Debra Toporowski

"I strongly believe in more community engagement around the forest reserve and think including someone in recreation on the committee would be a great start."

Rosalie Sawrie

"I will work to maintain and enhance the quality of life we all enjoy in North Cowichan as well as to create livable communities. Having more say from affected communities can certainly help with my vision."

Tek Manhas

"I would be very supportive of widening the input from the community on each of the issues you brought up."

Kate Marsh

"Sorry to disappoint you, but I’d be lying if I committed in any absolutist terms to any of the things you ask for in your questions. Of course there’s always room for dialogue and discussion, but that discussion must be done in a broader context which acknowledges the realities which I’ve outlined above." (see link below to view the Mayors full response to the questions)

Al Siebring

Click on the link below to read the full article.

This article is designed to pose questions and spark debate, not to provide answers. This article is based on online research, talking with experts and visual observation. Please use the online form below if you believe there is more to this story than we are aware of.

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District of North Cowichan, Vancouver Island BC