Premier Christy Clark speech closes each Union of B.C. Municipalities convention. The next one is in Vancouver Sept. 21-25.

Fires, forests high on local government agenda

Municipal politicians look for more provincial support to remove forest fuel from interface areas, including private land

As mayors and councillors from across the province prepare to gather in Vancouver for their annual September convention and meetings with the B.C. cabinet, the state of B.C. forests and the threat of fires is top of mind.

A resolution up for debate from Premier Christy Clark’s constituency of West Kelowna calls on the province to take the lead on forest fuel management, directly funding and managing it for private as well as public land. It notes that despite high costs and widespread damage from the 2014 forest fire season, the province’s Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative excluded operational activities and was restricted to financing community protection plans.

The program spent $62 million between 2004 and 2014 to assist local governments reduce interface fire risk. Applications for fuel projects were halted last year when the budget was spent, and this spring the forests ministry put another $5 million in, for projects on municipal or provincial land only.

The province maintains that fuel projects on private land are best left to local governments to coordinate with their public land programs.

In the wake of beetle losses and reduced timber harvest limits, Williams Lake, Quesnel, 100 Mile House and Wells are calling for the province to improve certainty on the working forest land base. Their resolution calls for the province to “deliver the full allowable cut allowed under the BC Timber Sales program” and “complete a science-based inventory of available timber supply.”

Forests Minister Steve Thomson said in an interview the province’s $80 million increase in inventory funding over 10 years has been focused on areas hardest hit by pine beetle infestation.

“I’m confident that we have significantly improved information that is going into the timber supply reviews and timber supply analysis,” Thomson said.

Log exports is a perennial issue of concern to coastal communities. The latest resolution from the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District notes that log exports increased 65 per cent between 2010 and 2013, with 90 per cent of exports from the B.C. coast.

Their resolution calls for a review of log export policy, which requires logs for export to be advertised so local mills have the option of bidding before export is approved.

Hundreds of mayors, councillors and regional district directors will converge on downtown Vancouver for the UBCM convention Sept. 21-25.

 

Just Posted

37th Annual Gazette Hamper Fund helps make the season bright

Hamper Fund remains more than $9,000 short of its 2017 financial goal

Community support keeps girls hockey alive on the North Island

“A successful program depends on community engagement and support.”

State terminates Cooke’s lease for Port Angeles salmon farm

PORT ANGELES — Meetings are expected to begin this week between the… Continue reading

Environment Canada says snow in the forecast for Vancouver Island

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement for flurries and cold air throughout the next week

Proposed public art installation sparks debate in Victoria

$250,000 sculpture complements an interactive sound element of First Nations drumming and singing

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

B.C. wildfire evacuee admits to setting hotel room fire

A Williams Lake wildfire evacuee admitted to setting Kamloops hotel room on fire

UPDATE: Grizzly bear trophy hunting over in B.C.

Now only Indigenous people can hunt bears for meat

Star Blue Jays announced for Vancouver ‘Winter Tour’ event in January

Toronto’s pro baseball team heads west for two-day event

UPDATE: ‘Multiple fatalities’ as Amtrak derails in Washington State

13 cars jumped the tracks as train made its first voyage between Seattle and Portland

Mental effects of wildfire still linger in Fort McMurray

‘Resilient, but tired:’ Mental effects of wildfire lingering in Fort McMurray

Climate change hits Winter Olympic preparation

AP Exclusive: Climate change hits Winter Olympic preparation

Calgary Flames thump Vancouver Canucks 6-1

Mark Giordano, Sam Bennett lead the way as Flames thump Canucks 6-1

INTERACTIVE MAP: Follow the 2017 Tour de Rock

Follow the Tour de Rock, as they pedal more than 1,000 kilometres fundraising to combat paediatric cancer

Most Read