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  • (2023-11-10) BC Timber Sales response to public comment regarding its logging plans on Maurelle Island (Theresa Cleroux)

    Theresa Cleroux

    To: Maya Weichelt, Chair Surge Narrows Forest Advisory Committee


    Dear Maya Weichelt: I am responding on behalf myself and Jillian Tougas with respect to your letter dated September 29, 2023, regarding proposed logging on Maurelle Island.

    We appreciate your comments as the chair for the Surge Narrows Forest Advisory Committee, and the input received from the community during the September 11th meeting at Surge Narrows.

    B.C. Timber Sales (BCTS) was established to set benchmark timber pricing through the development and auction of timber harvesting areas; this maintains appropriate returns to the B.C. public from industry utilization of public timber resources. BCTS’ annual allowable cut is apportioned for this purpose.

    Tourism and forestry are two of B.C.’s major economic sectors and the provincial government aspires to balance the tourism-forestry interface with positive results for both industries through Visual Quality Objectives (VQOs). The Sunshine Coast Natural Resource District completed the VQO revision referred to over the timeframe of a decade. In accordance with the Government Action Regulation (GAR) Order guidance, the revision considered the requirements of the involved sectors and the associated public benefits to determine objectives that reflect the various integrated values of the area. BCTS aims to develop a visual design that will take into account the importance of tourism to the local community while meeting legal requirements. Tourism operators are valued stakeholders and their interest and feedback on these strategic level plans is appreciated by the Province and the Sunshine Coast District.

    Biodiversity is one of the eleven resource values that are identified and protected under the Forest & Range Practices Act (FRPA). This legislation governs all forestry activities on crown land, including those on BCTS operating area. Old growth deferral areas across the province were developed from recommendations determined by the independent Old Growth Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) as seen in their report, found here: A New Future for Old Forests: A Strategic Review of How British Columbia Manages for Old Forests Within its Ancient Ecosystems. Old growth deferral areas are in place to protect existing old growth that may be immediately at risk of harvest; areas deferred met the criteria for ecological characteristics of prioritized old growth categories using available data. Factors considered in the selection of old growth deferral areas can be found here: Priority Deferrals: An Ecological Approach. BCTS will complete old growth assessments at TAP standards to retain areas within block boundaries that meet deferral criteria.

    Wildfire management regulations for the province are outlined in the Wildfire Act and Wildfire Regulation. Additionally, BCTS has specific wildfire training, assessment, abatement, and reporting requirements for both employees and Licensees working in BCTS operating area. On Maurelle Island, BCTS is currently working in collaboration with the Emergency Program Manager for the Outer Discovery Islands and BC Wildfire Service to consider wildfire hazard abatement options.

    The Province is committed to climate change strategies that lead towards a carbon neutral future. Forests are an integral part of this plan as they offer opportunities to mitigate impacts through management. Forest carbon management practices are being adopted across British Columbia to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from forests and forestry operations while enhancing carbon sequestration. BCTS operates in coordination with the provincial Forest Carbon Initiative program to increase forest carbon sequestration and contribute to provincial and federal climate change targets.

    BCTS hopes to continue to work with the Maurelle Island community to develop operations that are consistent with regulations and regard the unique attributes of the area. Further concerns can be directed to BCTS.SunshineCoast@gov.bc.ca.


    Theresa Cleroux, RPF

    Planning Forester, BC Timber Sales

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