Comments sought on Fort Nelson timber supply review

Public comments are being sought for determine the Fort Nelson timber supply area review.

Comments are being accepted until Tuesday, Sept. 11. Public feedback on the discussion paper will be considered by the chief forester, before setting the new allowable annual cut.

The discussion paper provides the results of the timber supply analysis, including a base-case harvest forecast. It describes the geography, natural resources and current forest management practices in the Fort Nelson Timber Supply Area.

The Fort Nelson Timber Supply Area covers nearly 9.9 million hectares in northeast B.C., with almost 706,000 hectares available for timber harvesting.

In 2011, Canfor permanently closed the Tackama Mill in Fort Nelson, affecting about 200 direct jobs. In 2014, the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality prepared a business case that if Canfor didn’t want to operate mills in the area, another company should be allowed to.

Next to nothing had been harvested for close to six years so, with an allowable annual cut of 1.62 million cubic metres, there was an accumulated undercut of 6.3 million cubic metres, according to a forestry investment overview drafted by the Northern Rockies Regional Municipality (NRRM).

“The undercut alone is the equivalent of what the Canfor operation would have consumed in five years,” NRRM community development officer Mike Gilbert told Business in Vancouver magazine in 2014. “So if you only consumed the undercut, that would give you five years of operation before you got into the annual allowable cut.”

To download a copy of the discussion paper, visit the following Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Timber Supply Review & Allowable Annual Cut webpage: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/forestry/managing-our-forest-resources/timber-supply-review-and-allowable-annual-cut/allowable-annual-cut-timber-supply-areas/fort-nelson-tsa

Copies of the discussion paper can also be viewed at the Fort Nelson Natural Resource District office: Mile 301 Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson. Members of the public are asked to call ahead to book an appointment: 250 774-5511.

Fort Nelson is the major community in the timber supply area. There are a number of smaller settlements next to the Alaska Highway: Prophet River, Toad River, Muncho Lake, Liard River, Coal River and Fireside.

Quick Facts:

* The chief forester’s allowable annual cut determination is an independent, professional judgment based on information ranging from technical forestry reports, First Nations and public input to the government’s social and economic goals.

* Under the Forest Act, the chief forester must determine the allowable annual cut in each of the province’s 37 timber supply areas, and 34 tree farm licences, at least once every 10 years.