Lantzville councillors request meeting with B.C. government over woodlot

Community group calling for protected corridor within Woodlot 1475

Lantzville councillors are calling on the provincial government to call a halt to any future logging activities within a portion of a local woodlot.

During a council meeting on Monday, Lantzville councillors unanimously voted in favour of sending a letter to Doug Donaldson, B.C.’s minister of forests, lands, natural resource operations and rural development, asking the province to impose a moratorium on logging in within an a proposed protective corridor within Woodlot 1475. Council’s letter will also ask Donaldson to meet with councillors, Snaw-Naw-As chief and council, members of Save Lantzville Forest and John Gregson, the licence holder for Woodlot 1475, in order to discuss a proposed 60-hectare protective corridor within the woodlot.

For years, a local group known as Save Lantzville Forest has been fighting to protect 256 hectares of forest in upper Lantzville that is 96 per cent Crown land, arguing that the woodlot is home to a coastal Douglas fir ecosystem, at-risk species, and has high recreational value for the community.

As the licence holder, Gregson, who has won an award for management of the woodlot, has every right to selectively log the entire area.

After various efforts failed, including trying to get various levels of government to change the woodlot’s designation to a permanently protected area, Save Lantzville Forest proposed the creation of a 60-hectare corridor within the woodlot along Knarston Creek, with 30 hectares dedicated for recreational use in exchange for fair financial compensation to Gregson, last year. That proposal, which had been submitted to MLA Michelle Stilwell, who was then the minister of social development and social innovation, received support from councillors last year.

Coun. Mark Swain, who made the motion, told councillors the district has heard nothing from Donaldson in regards to the woodlot and that it is time to have a meeting with all interested parties in an effort to move the issue forward.

“At some point we have to get all interested parties into the same room to discuss this, otherwise it is just going to get kicked down the road.”

Coun. Denise Haime said while she supports the motion, the former and current provincial governments have expressed zero support for the proposal, adding that her concern lies with tree cutting that is taking place within other areas of the community. She said the response from the government came in December but has never been made public, but should be.

“We know we’ve got it, but I don’t know if the residents realize we’ve got it, so I think we need to publish that so they are aware of what came back from the ministry,” she said.

Coun. Will Geselbracht said he felt that there is no mechinsim to sort the issues out and to allow the community to have a voice.

“If the community really wants to preserve trails, especially the Knarston creak … this would be a good idea to bring the government to task and have a little sit down,” he said.

Mayor Colin Haime said in his experience, other than a commitment from the minister to have a meeting, very little actually occurs following a meeting. He said, even though they’ve already had meetings with them, it might be better to hold discussions with the Snaw-Naw-As first.

“Why don’t we just start with meeting with Nanoose First Nation chief and council,” he said. “Or even just a meeting with the players, separate of the minister, and come up with a community-based plan … as to how to kind of move forward with this.”

Swain said while he didn’t disagree with the mayor’s comments, he felt there was a sense of urgency.

“This is our opportunity to actually do something,” he said.


nicholas.pescod@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook or follow Nicholas Pescod on Twitter

Lantzville

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Beefs & Bouquets, Aug. 12

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Nanaimo Art Gallery summer campers explore private, public spaces in new show

Dazzle Camouflage participants to unveil painting and video projects online next week

‘Unstoppable’ Nanaimo nurse recognized for work caring for survivors of assault

Island Health’s Aimee Falkenberg receives Canadian Forensic Nurses Association’s Visionary Award

Regional District of Nanaimo urges residents to sign up for new emergency alert system

RDN aligns its alert technology with Nanaimo, Parksville and Qualicum Beach

‘Food 4 Summer’ campaign in Nanaimo receives $10,000 from Island Savings

Loaves and Fishes trying to build new donor relationships during pandemic

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Man accused of killing Red Deer doctor says he does not remember attack

Appearing before a judge, Deng Mabiour, 54, rambled about being sick and needing a doctor

Teen killer Kelly Ellard gets day parole extension, allowing up to 5 days at home

Ellard is serving a life sentence for the 1997 murder of 14-year-old Reena Virk

Andrew Scheer likely marking last day in House of Commons as Opposition leader

Today’s Commons sitting is one of two scheduled for August

Deaths feared after train derails amid storms in Scotland

Stonehaven is on the line for passenger trains linking Aberdeen with the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow

DFO says 5 aggrieved B.C First Nations were consulted on fisheries plan

Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations calls response ‘a sham,’ adding DFO never incorporates their views

Man arrested after stabbing incident at makeshift camp near Vancouver Island mall

RCMP in Parksville report 28-year-old man taken into custody without incident

Lower Mainland woman gives birth on in-laws’ driveway

Frédérique Gagnon new son is appropriately named after Norse trickster god

Most Read