Recently, one of my stories was referred to as an “exposé.” I don’t think it was meant as a compliment, but I really didn’t expose anything. In fact, the story was pretty much that no one was talking about something that everyone seems to know is happening.
The parties involved had no comment, and I am sure they all have their reasons, but I had to ask, especially since people keep asking us what is going on. I reported as much as was confirmed to me, which wasn’t much.
Now, I’m not so sensitive that one negative comment is going to hurt my feelings. I certainly appreciate knowing how other people view my work, or the situation I am reporting on. I did find it frustrating to not get answers when I was working on the story, but I understand that is sometimes going to be the case. I understand people and organizations may sometimes have their reasons to keep facts to themselves, at least for a while.
But this last week, I realized that having that information public could be good for those organizations – because it could mean that the public will contribute to a decision that will likely affect the future of this entire valley.
McBride and Valemount Community Forests have been trying to acquire Carrier’s forest licenses – everyone seems to know they are trying, but no one knows the details, and the boards and managers haven’t wanted to say anything. People have asked us here at the Goat about it – that is supposed to be our job, find out stuff and tell the public, but we couldn’t find out anything.
But now the Robson Valley Timber Supply Area is up for review. The decision the Chief Forester makes is not a calculation, but an assessment based on a lot of factors, and comments from the public will be a big one. And whether or not the Community Forests get more volume, or tenure, or license area, or whatever it is they are after, may depend directly on the outcome of the review.
Let me say that differently – the Chief Forester is going to make a decision that will affect our area deeply for years, based in no small part on what we say.
So what should we say?
The review is looking for input until early February. When I reported on the review being announced in December, I wondered if it would have an effect on the Community Forests trying to get Carrier’s licenses. But I think I asked the wrong people.
There are tonnes of things I don’t know much about, and I know that sometimes a little bit of information is dangerous. But each of us has the ability to learn more about the things we know about. And discussion is a good start.