B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as ‘Namgis Chief Don Svanvik speaks at an event at the B.C. legislature on phasing out salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago north of Vancouver Island, Sept. 19, 2019. (B.C. government)

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as ‘Namgis Chief Don Svanvik speaks at an event at the B.C. legislature on phasing out salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago north of Vancouver Island, Sept. 19, 2019. (B.C. government)

‘Namgis First Nation announces it will waive ministerial deferrals for old growth

‘Namgis will continue with a joint planning process to focus on protecting many important ecosystems

The ‘Namgis First Nation (‘Namgis) has made a decision regarding old growth.

In a statement to media, the Nation said it has “decided to waive the ministerial deferrals proposed by the Government of British Columbia’s Technical Advisory Panel (TAP) in determining the areas of old growth harvest in ‘Namgis Territory. ‘Namgis will continue with a joint planning process to focus on the protection of many important values across the ecosystems, including wildlife, fish habitat, flora and fauna, and archaeological features, as well as old growth forests.”

The Nation noted it is in the midst of creating “a joint planning project with Western Forest Products Inc. (Western),” and is “preparing a draft forest landscape plan for TFL 37, in the Nimpkish Valley, the heart of ‘Namgis Territory. The planning project is a pilot supported by the Office of the Chief Forester and will produce the first draft forest landscape plan for a tree farm licence in B.C. The plan will define long-term sustainable harvesting while protecting unique ecosystems, salmon habitat and important cultural features.”

The Nation added while the planning process continues, and in combination with collaborative re-design and expansion of existing forestry reserves, “Namgis and Western have agreed to the retention of a substantially larger area than what was proposed by the TAP for temporary deferral.”

“The ‘Namgis planning project had already been reviewing Tree Farm License (TFL) 37 and identified potential forestry reserves on 30,700 hectares to protect old growth and other values. We considered the work of the Technical Advisory Panel, which would have provided temporary protection for 7,536 hectares,” said ‘Namgis Chief Don Svanvik. “The expanded review works to protect all values important to ‘Namgis to create a long-term plan for forestry in our Territory.”

“We have been working together for over a year to find new ways to comprehensively manage for important values while advancing sustainable forest management, furthering reconciliation and increasing certainty and stability for our business, our employees and local communities,” said Shannon Janzen, Western’s Vice President, Partnerships & Sustainability, and Chief Forester. “This exciting work allows Western and ‘Namgis to plan in an integrated way.”

In addition to the ongoing work with Western, other licensees in ‘Namgis Territory have made various forms of agreements, including:

• Atli Resources has agreed not to harvest old growth without ‘Namgis’ consent,

• Mosaic Forest Management has voluntarily agreed not to harvest in the TAP-identified areas until further review with ‘Namgis is complete, and,

• British Columbia Timber Sales has committed not to offer a proposed old growth sale until it has ‘Namgis support and planning processes are complete.

‘Namgis will continue to work with licensees to foster and strengthen productive partnerships that protect ‘Namgis values within its Territory.


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