Lantzville council agrees to representative for advisory group

NANAIMO – No decision-making power afforded to representatives over woodlot in Lantzville.

A Lantzville councillor will sit on a woodlot management advisory group.

At last week’s meeting, District of Lantzville councillors voted in favour of appointing Coun. Dot Neary to the Lantzville Woodlot Advisory Group, also known as LWAG.

The advisory group was formed in 2014 to ensure the public could provide input, express concerns and provide recommendations regarding the management of Woodlot 1475, which is currently managed and logged by John Gregson and his brother.

The group, which is the reincarnation of a similar advisory group that was formed in 2000, is currently made up of representatives from the public, Nanoose First Nation, South Island District, Econ Consulting and the woodlot operators.

In 2013, Gregson’s management of the woodlot earned him an award by the provincial government. But in recent years, a number of residents have expressed concerns about the amount of logging being conducted on the woodlot.

A group known as Save Lantzville Forest has been leading the efforts to get various levels of government to change the woodlot’s designation to a permanently protected area and compensate Gregson.

There was some opposition to the advisory group as Coun. Will Geselbracht said that many of the goals set out by the 2000 advisory group have not been achieved by the woodlot operator or the current advisory group.

“With all respect Mr. Gregson, and in no way diminishing his abilities operating the wood licence and I say that in all honesty, I think it is a total waste of time that we bother sending anybody to this toothless advisory committee,” he said.

However, Coun. Bob Colclough, who was in favour of the motion, said it was better to have representation on the committee than not, pointing out that the meeting is held once a year.

“It may be toothless but at this point, I think, you can only do what you can do,” he said.

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