It’s hard to ignore the logic on either end of the Policy 81 debate but after some consideration and reaching out to the BC Community Forest Association it’s clear most communities work to manage risk rather than eliminate it. Treating this as black and white results in the tendency to think in extremes. Interpretation of written documents is fundamental to the practice of law; there will always be a spectrum of how to interpret and enforce law. It doesn’t make sense to go to such an extreme when we have one of the most successful community forests in BC with a board most would dream of.
In the BC community forest associations guide book “Tools and Techniques for Communities in British Columbia” they cover conflict of interest policy. VCF has modeled after this and the information is open to the public on their webpage https://bccfa.ca.
It would be nice to see a focus on risk management with compromises made on both sides to find a more effective process. There are many ways to further manage risk but an example would be to classify individuals on a personal interest disclosure form. They could be classified with passive or active involvement and those with active involvement could be excluded.
- Active involvement – someone that relies on the community forest for their primary source of revenue or income (High perceived risk).
- Passive involvement – someone that might do business with the community forest from time to time but does not rely on the community forest as their primary source of revenue or income (Low perceived risk).
VCF operates in a very cyclical and highly competitive environment. Its long term success relies on an unhindered board with a deep understanding of forest management that lends to thinking in centuries not four-year terms. I’m personally proud of both our local government and VCF board but on this point feel some segregation of the two is healthy and if managed diligently both will continue to thrive