Bios of citizens’ Working Group on future of Municipal Forest Reserve reveal diverse backgrounds and interests

Meetings of the newly appointed citizens’ Working Group on future management of the 5,000-hectare Municipal Forest Reserve are not open to the public, but sixmountains.ca has at least obtained some basic background on the individuals selected.

The Municipality of North Cowichan issued a news release this week announcing that the public consultation process into the Municipal Forest Reserve, also known as Six Mountains, had been suspended for 90 days due to spread of the coronavirus. “Staff and Council will re-evaluate resuming engagement before the end of the 90-day period if it can proceed in a safe, fulsome, and inclusive way,” the release stated.

Here are quick bios on the Working Group members:

Sharon Horsburgh: “After a 28 year career with local government, I recently retired as an environmental planner. I recently founded Bayshore Planning Services and I am now applying my experience to assist the development community with a variety of land use projects. I have been a resident of Maple Bay since 2006 and enjoy hiking Mt. Tzouhalem, Maple Mountain and Stoney Hill. Through my experience I recognize the competing interests forestry resources and appreciate this opportunity to work collaboratively to strike a balance that reflects the values of all community stakeholders.” 

Roger Wiles: “Roger Wiles comes to the table as a private citizen of the Municipality of North Cowichan. He has a degree in geography and a background in forest land inventory and planning in Canada and New Zealand. In recent years he was a member of the CVRD’s Environment Commission and Parks and Trails Master Plan advisory group. His current volunteer affiliations include: the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve, ‘Bring Back the Blue Birds’ restoration, and the Cowichan Community Land Trust.” 

Dan Williams: “41 year old Cowichan Tribes band member and owner of two local businesses. I have over twenty years experience in the forestry industry covering all phases from block engineering, road design, road building, quarry development, logging, silviculture and firefighting, 15+ years in recreation and tourism and 15+ years in Health and Safety management. I have participated in various non profit organizations over the years with most recent being the Coastal Invasive Species Committee where I currently sit as vice president (previously president). My interests and current focus other than spending time with my family is developing my businesses and creating employment opportunities for First Nations communities, I currently employ 17 around the Cowichan valley, 12 of which are First Nations.”

Bruce Coates: “Geologist by trade, I’m nominated to represent the Cowichan Valley Naturalists Society. I’m also member of the Cowichan Agricultural Society, Cowichan Green Community, Cowichan Valley Garden Club, Cowichan Rockhounds, EcoForestry Institute and the Land Trust. As a Naturalist I will attempt to represent the millions of stakeholders in the forest that can’t come to our meetings themselves.”

Marilyn Palmer: “Marilyn Palmer is a retired architect and flower farmer who lives on Maple Bay Road, overlooking Quamichan Lake. She represents the Quamichan Lake Neighbourhood Association, (QLNA), on the MFR Working Group. The QLNA advocates for the health of the Lake and its watershed, in terms that value a balance of its ecological, social and economic capacities.”

Robert Fullerton: “Robert Fullerton is representing WhereDoWeStand - WDWS is the group that collected the petitions and citizen comments and brought a delegation to Council to ask for a PAUSE in logging for the Public Engagement & the Forest Review."

Paul Tataryn: “I am the representative for the Maple Bay Community Association regarding issues (in) the MFR within our community area. I am managing the farmland and forest of Bird's Eye Cove Farm in Maple Bay; my working background includes forest management, management of recreation trails and community involvement.”

Margaret Symon: “Registered professional forester, business owner, paramedic, proudly based in North Cowichan. Special interests: sustainable forest practices, wildfire interface management, outdoor safety, life balances.”

Rhonda Hittinger: “I am retired senior VP of human resources and have lived in Chemainus for 30 years. I am a member of the SVI chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of BC. Our chapter’s mandate is to be stewards of our forests and trail systems throughout the Cowichan Valley.”

Rick Martinson: “I moved to North Cowichan in 1987 to join the public accounting practice of Hill & Partners; and retired in 2019 from MNP – a period which included 18 years as senior partner. A focus of my practice was Indigenous services. I was selected Business Achiever of 1996 for the Cowichan Region by the Chamber of Commerce, British Columbia CA of the Year for 1997 by the Institute of Chartered Accountants and was a 2004 finalist for the Black Tie Service Awards in the category of Business Achiever. I have held leadership positions in many community organizations, including Cowichan Trail Stewardship Society, Canadian Diabetes Association, Duncan Dabber Bingo Society, Chances Cowichan, Duncan-Cowichan Festival Society/39Days of July, Crimestoppers, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and chaired a Parents’ Advisory Council. I GoByBike whenever possible. I use bikes for commuting, shopping and recreation. I hike and bike on our mountains extensively and was selected by Cowichan Trail Stewardship Society to represent hiking and biking interests on this working group.”

Deb Savory Wright: “Resident of North Cowichan for over 45 years and Past Member of the North Cowichan Parks and Recreation Advisory Council.”

Larry MacIntosh: “Inspired by Simon Charlie three decades ago, I am focused on bringing to fruition the following two projects: StoryTrails, for a video glimpse of the StoryTrails initiatives please visit Vimeo.com/240845143 (password withheld by sixmountains.ca); for a video glimpse of the Passing Through Place initiatives please visit: YouTube: Sansum Point Songs.”

Sally Leigh-Spencer: “Sally Leigh-Spencer is a registered professional biologist (R. P. Bio.) who has worked extensively throughout western Canada as a wildlife ecologist/biologist for government agencies, the forest industry, private landowners and special interest groups. The work has included assessments of the potential impacts of resource development on wildlife populations and their habitats. She has extensive experience with wildlife inventories, habitat suitability/capability modeling and monitoring of species at risk and regionally important wildlife in British Columbia and Alberta. A significant proportion of her experience has involved habitat modelling, analysis and inventories in relation to forest management and environmental impact issues. She has worked extensively on policy and management issues that involve knowledge of the BC Wildlife Act, the Forest Range and Practices Act (FRPA), Migratory Bird Convention Act, and the Species at Risk Act (SARA). She was involved in the early planning stages of ecosystem based management practices in Clayoquot Sound and the Great Bear Rainforest on the Central and North Coast of BC."

Susan Derby: “I’ve lived in the Cowichan Valley my whole life and belong to a very forestry-oriented family; I spend many hours out in the forests and river trails. I am hoping for a well-balanced and respectful approach in this group.”

Michael Petereit: No bio info available.

 

— Larry Pynn, March 20, 2020

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