Greater Community Consultation = Better Forestry Decisions

imageIs your community troubled by mill closures, lay-offs or forest stewardship plans that don’t clearly articulate what is actually happening on the ground in your area? If yes, then the UBCM’s Community Economic Development (CED) Committee wants to hear from you. Please provide us with your feedback by completing UBCM’s Forestry Survey.

At the November CED meeting, Councillor Brian Frenkel, UBCM’s appointment to the Minister’s Forests and Range Practices Advisory Council, advised that the Council is interested in hearing from communities on forest policy matters. Specifically, the Council would like communities to identify what specific policy decisions would be better served by greater community consultation.

Acknowledging that communities are more than just stakeholders, Councillor Frenkel has been advocating to his Advisory Council colleagues for greater community consultation prior to forest decisions being made. By undertaking the forestry survey, UBCM is seeking to provide Councillor Frenkel with the quantitative and qualitative information necessary to encourage the Advisory Council to respond to local government concerns.

The CED Committee has made this a priority in its work plan for the year ahead recognizing that many local government economies are dependent on the forestry sector. And as communities continue to struggle in response to declining timber supplies, decisions around the forest resource become even more important to their economic and social welfare.

While better community engagement and consultation will not solve all forestry issues, UBCM’s CED Committee considers it to be a step in the right direction. Through our appointment to the Minister’s Advisory Council, UBCM and its members have an opportunity to be heard.

Register your feedback by completing the online survey by January 15, 2016. A summary of the survey results will be shared with the membership in a future Compass article. If you would like to connect with Councillor Frenkel directly, please feel free to do so.

UBCM’s Community Economic Development Committee acts as an advocate for communities on resource policy matters related to fish, forests, energy, mining, agriculture. It also works to connect communities to emerging economic development opportunities (e.g. Value-added, tourism, technology sectors, arts. culture and heritage, etc.) and advocates for greater provincial support for jobs/skills training and retraining efforts.

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