Government’s “Modernization of Forest Policy” initiative has a major deficiency due to the adopted process. There is a lack of clear, high-level statements from Government relative to an infrastructure framework that guides the process. Incorporating the recommendations presented in Forest renewal vision framework-action plan will go a long way in making a correction to reflect the demands of the 21st Century.
Congratulations to Minister Conroy and others involved in the transfer of the Canfor Forest License to Peak Fort Nelson Properties Ltd (https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2021FLNRO0070-001629 ). The transfer includes a Peak “objective of each part of the total forest-stand profile will be used for its highest and best use.” This creates an opportunity to work with the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality and Fort Nelson First Nation to diversify the wood fibre economy contributing to resiliency of the communities. Now we need to create an investment climate that encourages investors to build facilities to utilize the quality wood in the region.
The importance of a forest inventory in moving toward community resiliency is discussed in Forest inventory-foundation for community resiliency It is in the best interests of BC forest dependent communities to insist upon having a robust and detailed forest inventory of Crown land to meet their resiliency needs. If communities are to move toward resiliency, they cannot afford to make decisions based on poor data and information.
A transitioning to more value-added wood products is required for the BC forest sector to contribute to Indigenous and Non-Indigenous 21st Century community resiliency and capitalize on the full value of the BC forest asset. The components to move forward are outlined in Increasing V-A products from BC trees.
BC Government is proposing actions to renew the forest sector. A BC forest renewal vision framework-Nov update provides a recommended framework for the 21st Century, including recommended actions. It includes maintaining the positive components of the current forest sector and adding those to reflect the issues and challenges expected in the next Century.
The forest industry wants fibre security and proposes establishment of a Working Forest designation on a portion of the BC Crown land base. This is a controversial proposal that has been rejected in the past. However, the fibre security objective is sound. A Working forest-alternative approach is proposed while still contributing to community resiliency and consistent with the BC forest renewal vision framework.
The BC Government has repeatedly identified that the forest sector needs to adopt innovative practices in its journey to revitalization. However, their recent change to the Manufactured Forest Products Regulation questions, Is BC Government serious about innovation
Lawyer Jeff Waatainen outlines on page 25 of Bill 22 – Waatainen comments the continued uncertainty created by Bill 22 and the associated Regulation. Not only is the “public interest” test still unclear as outlined previously in Bill 22 – comments but so is the application of the old and new definitions of the other tests “unduly restrict competition” and “detrimental to competition.” Surely Government can clarify these tests and reduce the uncertainty they have generated within the industry, communities and investors. This is not a trivial issue and needs immediate attention.
HFHC recommendations and comments regarding moving toward SFM and community resiliency from 2011-2019 are included in articles presented in Revitalization of Forest Sector-recommendations-comments (1)
Moving to a new BC wood manufacturing sector will not be quick or easy! As outlined in Building a diversified mfg sector-challenges_1, there are challenges to overcome in this transition. It will be a journey, not an event requiring:
- Politicians thinking strategically beyond a one-term election period or political ideology,
- Politicians adopting a business environment that addresses the needs of investors, profitability of companies and acknowledging current and future markets,
- Companies committing support for a secondary wood manufacturing sector, and
- Communities being realistic and supporting local investments in secondary wood manufacturing.