Keep The Gates Open

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BCiscool's picture

Neil
Nanaimo, BC
Keep The Gates Open

After a 32-year law career in Southern Ontario, I retire early to move back to BC to pursue my dreams of exploring British Columbia’s beautiful backcountry. I returned home in July of 2017 only to find gated crown land.

Logging & mining companies are infringing on all British Colombians rights! Straight from the BC Government website - definition of Crown Land is as follows:

“Crown land is land (or land covered by water like rivers or lakes) that is owned by the provincial government. This type of land is available to the public for many different purposes – from industry to recreation and research.”

If you haven’t already I urge each of you to follow the link below and sign the petition “Keep The Gates Open.” After all it’s your right!

https://www.change.org/p/island-timberlands-keep-the-gates-open-its-ever...

Neil

Old smokey's picture

Andrew
Victoria

Good to have a lawyer on our side!

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Shane
North Cowichan

Unfortunately here on the Island most of the land isn't actually crown owned anymore. A huge swath of it was handed to private for-profit corporations many years ago who are now locking it up and depleting the mountainsides of what should be a shared resources. At this point it's become almost a hard requirement to trespass on privately owned forestry land to get to any of our beautiful remote lakes, rivers and mountains. I agree with the spirit of petitions such as these but at the end of the day the logging companies have very little incentive to allow public access to the wilderness that they claim to own. The best option for individuals is to find access via whatever means possible while still being respectful to legitimate property owners and presenting a positive image of off roading to outsiders who may not understand the appeal or necessity of backcountry access.

BCiscool's picture

Neil
Nanaimo, BC

The history of private managed forestlands is one of public largesse. The Big Three timber companies (TimberWest, Island Timberlands and Western Forest Products) hold land that first became private in exchange for a public service, building a railway. The original social contract for Tree Farm Licenses (the logging rights to public lands) was return that land to management under Crown regulation. But the timber companies very profitably broke that social contract- and the provincial government let them – when they released their private lands from TFLs. In 2003, the Liberals further delinked private lands from public obligations with the “fox watching the hen coop” provisions of the Private Forest Land Management Act, a “results based” and essentially voluntary regulatory regime.
The Big Three do extremely little for the people of the province in return for these gifts, but they certainly donate a lot to the BC Liberals who deregulated them. Between 2008 and 2011, Brookfield Asset Management (parent company of Island Timberlands) donated $95,000; Western Forest Products $72,500; Weyerhaeuser $35,500; and TimberWest $87,000. A partnership between forest owners and the provincial government,” indeed.

According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the results of the PFLMA include: logging at twice the sustainable rate; ever younger trees logged; all of Island Timberland’s Douglas fir “merchantable” stock slated for depletion in 25 years; loss of jobs because trees are no longer delivered to coastal mills; huge increase in raw log exports from B.C.’s coast, 62 per cent of which come from private forestlands; and tens of thousands of hectares of private forestland being readied for sale as real estate developments or other “ so called higher and better uses.”

It is worth noting that in 1962, a BC Special Committee on Public Access to Private Roads considered this issue, and recommended consideration of a Public Access Act. The envisioned Act would have been administered by the Department of Commercial Transport and allowed for the making of regulations governing the use of private easements, right of ways etc. The Legislative Committee also recommended the creation of criteria for the expropriation of private roads in the general public interest -- and that Government consider reserving the right to designate a right-of-way over land in all future Crown grants. However, the Committee’s work was shelved when forest companies freely granted recreational access to their Crown and privately-held properties.
Unfortunately, over the intervening decades a number of companies have withdrawn access. Among other things, hundreds of kilometres of roads to access lakes stocked at public expense have now been gated off. A modern solution to the old problem clearly needs to be fashioned.

The time is now to fight and take back OUR forests and protect OUR Crown Land.

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