November 5, 2014
No news is good news, and since the July 25th and 26th public meetings with the Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resources, that has been the status. Today, November 5th welcome news coming from the Sunshine Coast Natural Resources Districts.
The Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations has decided to decline to accept a winning applicant in the recent tendering of two woodlots on Gambier Island in order for the Province of British Columbia to address community concerns and undertake further consultations with the Squamish Nation consistent with the Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Tsilhqot’in Nation v. BC (Tsilhqot’in decision). On June 26, 2014, several months after the woodlots were tendered but prior to the selection decision, the Supreme Court of Canada delivered its decision in this case which provided greater clarity both on Aboriginal title and the Province’s responsibilities in relation to both established and asserted Aboriginal title. In reviewing the consultation record for the two Woodlot Licence areas, the Minister concluded that more work needs to be done to ensure that the Province properly carries out its constitutional obligations consistent with this new direction, as well as to address the public interest.
If you have any questions, please contact Scott Shaw-MacLaren, Acting District Manager, Sunshine Coast Natural Resource District, by email at Forests.SunshineCoastDistrictoffice@gov.bc.ca or by phone at (604) 485-0710.
Information from the Public Information Sessions held on July 24 and July 25, 2014, can be found at:http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/ftp/dsc/external/!publish/Gambier%20Woodlot%20Information%20Package/
The question remains what the results will be of appropriate consultation with First Nations. A more robust consultation process has been called for between the province and the public since the tendering of these woodlots was announced. This latest reprieve may be the opportunity to review best land use alternatives to large scale logging in the Wild Heart of Howe Sound.