The elephant in the room: public engagement

What if the public is more educated on forest issues than is assumed?

The elephant in the room: public engagement

Once again, UBC came to town. On July 30, experts from the Faculty of Forestry presented to council on the management of our community forests. It took a moment to get the slides in order. As other profs sorted out technical difficulties, Dr. Arcese grinned and said, “How many profs does it take to present one Power Point?” Everyone laughed. The five scientists were down to earth, engaging, and presented a vast array of possibilities — including carbon credits as a way to replace business-as-usual logging.

The meeting was not a lecture, it was an invitation to question, explore and discover forest issues as a community. The “community” came up over and over. It was heart-warming to hear these experts make public engagement their number one priority and to hear councillors say the same.

For the first time in a council meeting, it wasn’t entirely frustrating to sit in the peanut gallery with zillions of questions dancing in one’s head but no way to be part of the conversation.

Lack of public engagement has felt like the elephant in the room, even when addressed, because it was incomprehensible to many of us why public meetings hadn’t been offered to date and why logging/salvaging decisions were still being made before public engagement.

I bring this up because now that public consultation is going to happen, how it happens is the big question — it is the million dollar question. After hearing UBC and council, I’m feeling cautiously optimistic. On Aug. 21, council will consider the UBC proposal. The council meeting will be open to the public. Some of us are expecting that great things may happen — we expect the elephant may stand up and walk out of the room.

Icel Dobell

North Cowichan

Just Posted

North Cowichan taxpayers could face a one-time 133% increase in ‘worst case’ VIMC lawsuit

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

LAKE FLASHBACK: Remember swine flu? Bosnian conflict? Moving St. Christopher’s? It’s been a while

From worldwide stories to those close to home, we’ve a real cross-section this week

Mary Lowther column: Making your own supplements from garden plants

Health food stores offer powdered green supplements to augment deficiencies of commercial vegetables

Lake Cowichan fire department back with annual toy and food drive on Dec. 13-14

As Lake area gets ready to fill Christmas hampers, firefighters call for donations of toys and food

Chargers in every match at provincial tourney

DCS finishes 12th after competitive tournament

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Oscar Hickes: Longest running hockey tournament on Vancouver Island cancelled

Patrick Murray, one of the organizers for the tournament, broke the sad news on social media.

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Trustees ask for more help after tearful meeting on B.C. school’s ‘toxic’ stench

Enforcement has ‘no teeth,’ school trustee says, while kids become sick

Most Read