By Laura Keil, Publisher/Editor
It is difficult to qualify what the Province is doing with old-growth management right now. It’s clear they want to temporarily freeze harvesting in areas of at-risk forest, but then they announced this week that they plan to transfer these areas to smaller license holders to increase the size of tenures of First Nations, local communities and small companies.
So are they saving old growth or just transferring it from big companies to small ones?
Paradoxically, the impact of the proposed 2-year old-growth deferrals will be felt disproportionately by the small operators, the ones that could stand to benefit from transfers down the road. And it’s still unclear, pending consultation with First Nations, whether or not these deferrals will be permanent.
It’s got many locals on tenterhooks. At least 50 mill jobs, plus dozens of forestry jobs will be affected in some way by the deferrals and eventual transfers.
The Province has announced money to help communities and workers that are affected by these changes but when that money will materialize is an open question.
And compensation doesn’t make up for a lost industry.
It is basically a waiting game for local mills and loggers, first for a response from First Nations on the deferrals and then for transfer decisions from the Province.
As one forest manager put it to the Goat, this is not going to be resolved quickly.