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Letter: Bias shown in forest reserve article

It’s time for the greening of North Cowichan, and an evolution past destructive frontier thinking

Bias shown in forest reserve article

It’s astonishing to read the municipality’s article published free in December’s Valley Voice.

That story concerns our municipal forest reserve program’s history and revenues — plus our current public discussion and survey regarding our nationally rare reserve’s future. The public input deadline is Dec. 31, 2022.

Incredibly, our municipal managers fail to explain in the Voice our survey’s four forest-reserve options — spanning Status-Quo logging to Active and Passive conservation.

It’s disgraceful how our staff arguably shows bias implying the survey’s Status Quo (continued logging) option No. 1 would best benefit taxpayers and municipal revenues.

To wit, it’s what is not said in the Voice that’s most appalling.

Staff had no business implying anything anywhere, especially during our critical public-input period.

Those responsible should be questioned, disciplined and perhaps fired for this egregious community gaffe.

Our Six Mountains are publicly owned, priceless, and must be saved through Active Conservation, option No. 3.

I would gladly pay more taxes to save our Six Mountains for ecological, cultural, educational and recreational values, plus potentially huge carbon-credit remuneration.

Neither does our staff say in the Voice why “in 2018 area residents wanted a say in how the forest was managed, and council listened and paused all harvesting activities.”

Residents demanded that say, and council paused reserve logging, after folks realized the crucial ecology of our precious Six Mountains is being destroyed. Continual patch clear-cutting produces net-revenue chump change plus questionable numbers of logging jobs.

Private analysis of North Cowichan’s annual forestry reports shows paltry net average profits of just $128,286 annually during the past 32 years after sacrificing our forests’ irreplaceable biodiversity.

Conversely, municipal brass — under CAO Ted Swabey — expounds in the Voice about dubious virtues of our “sustainable” municipal forestry program funding community programs, softer taxes, and municipal-coffer bulking.

But many foresters, environmentalists, scientists and taxpayers now realize commercial logging is indeed not sustainable ecologically. Critical biodiversity is lost forever. Nature does not simply recover with mono-crop silviculture and ‘green-up’.

It’s time for the greening of North Cowichan, and an evolution past destructive frontier thinking.

Yours in ecology and smart growth,

Peter W. Rusland

North Cowichan