Letter: Campaign killing forest interests with ‘wacky’ ideas

Over the past century North Cowichan has been endowed with an impressive area of forests

Campaign killing forest interests with ‘wacky’ ideas

Recently the Citizen has crossed the fine line from reporting on issues in the North Cowichan forests to being an advocate for questionable and nonsensical ideas being promoted by anti-logging, anti-forestry interests.

Over the past century North Cowichan has been endowed with an impressive area of forests covering more than 5,000 hectares and 25 per cent of the municipal area through tax sales and other acquisitions. At one time these beautiful forests and their sound management by forest professionals were similar to other large B.C. municipal forests such as those owned by the District of Mission.

These forests have provided their communities with millions in revenue to build infrastructure and moderate tax increases while producing jobs and timber for local mills and export. North Cowichan was once admired for their well-managed working and sustainable forests. Many other B.C. communities have recently acquired community forests and are responsible and active participants in the sustainable forest sector.

That changed in Cowichan when radical interests convinced gullible NC politicians to stop listening to their forest professionals. The groups said they had better ideas that would stop logging and replace these forests as new parks and maybe generate some feeble income from selling carbon credits.

And so the council killed their long time forestry business in response to a well-funded misinformation campaign with wacky ideas about forests. Four years on they have wasted a lot of public funds on endless consultation and have killed their long standing forestry business and ended up with higher taxes.

In British Columbia it is illegal for anyone but one of B.C.’s 5,000 forest professionals to prescribe treatments and actions on public forest lands. And that’s for very good reasons, because like health care where registered professionals are entrusted with protecting human health and keeping quacks and charlatans away, forests and their management are quite complex and are put in the care of forestry experts — not radicals or general members of the public. North Cowichan ignored the views of their own professionals and bought into a lot of the anti-forestry nonsense.

It’s time to return some sanity to managing NC forests.

W.E. (Bill) Dumont

Cobble Hill