Al Siebring photo _edited.jpg

Resource Works flops during presentation to North Cowichan council

A 12-minute forestry presentation to council by industry mouthpiece Resource Works fell flat Wednesday, offering little on North Cowichan’s Municipal Forest Reserve.

“Imagining the future of forestry in the Municipality of North Cowichan, I think, is what a lot of people are talking about,” said Resource Works executive director Stewart Muir, a registered federal lobbyist.

He went on to say: “I’m not here, in case you’re wondering, to really talk about the Municipal Forest Reserve. I know what a huge issue that is, but it’s not really the main topic.”

Muir (https://bit.ly/35VvyQ4) plowed quickly through a power-point presentation loaded with numbing stats and graphs that provided general information on the importance of forestry to BC — which, for the record, is not being debated.

We all know that forestry is important to the BC economy. We need wood.

The debate in North Cowichan is whether continued municipal clearcutting is the highest and best use for our forest reserve (our backyard, a postage stamp compared with the greater forest land base) rather than biodiversity, viewscapes, recreation, tourism, etc.

Muir also spent a lot of time on old growth, of which there is none in the forest reserve.

He did briefly mention “there are opportunities in carbon,” something that does apply to North Cowichan.

The University of BC forestry department has told council it stands to earn as much or more from carbon credits by leaving the forest standing.

According to municipal figures, logging in the 5,000-hectare forest reserve in 2019 created as few as 10 full-time forestry jobs, two of them municipal staffers. The companies hired to do the logging were from Nanaimo and Campbell River — not North Cowichan or even Duncan. Sixty-three per cent of the trees harvested were exported as raw logs.

A report for the municipality has estimated 141 species at risk in the forest reserve, which falls within the endangered coastal Douglas-fir zone.

When Muir finished his talk, not one councillor had a question for him.

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— Larry Pynn, Aug. 19, 2021

Al Siebring photo _edited.jpg