Posted By PWR Initiative

In August of 2016 the BC Chief Forester Diane Nicholls made her final determination for the Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) – the harvest volume a forest licensee is permitted to cut on an annual basis – for the Phillips River Watershed, i.e. TFL 39 Block 5. In her “professional” assessment Nicholls assigned an annual harvest volume of almost 42,000 m³ for the Phillips watershed – or did she? Unfortunately, no one is able to tell what level of AAC applies to the Phillips watershed because WFP succeeded in convincing Nicholls to combine the AACs of TFL Block 3 and 5 (Block 3 is an insignificant timber harvest area for WFP). As a consequence it is impossible to determine what  impact  the AAC decision has on Kwiakah First Nation’s Aboriginal Rights and Title (thereby rendering the consultation process meaningless) – no one knows precisely how much timber will be harvested until it has been harvested. Will it be 30,000 m³ from Block 5 and less than 12,000 m³ from Block 3 (highly unlikely) or will WFP choose not to harvest in Block 3 at all and turn the Phillips Watershed into a “cash cow” and harvest the full amount of AAC in Block 5 (very likely – one has to assume it was the plan all along).

In previous discussions with Kwiakah First Nation WFP had determined that a harvest volume of 15,000 m³ per year is a reasonable timber harvest volume for the Phillips watershed (taking into account how much damage forest activities have done to the watershed in the past). Unfortunately, while discussing such lower numbers with Kwiakah, WFP approached the BC Liberal Government with a request of 79,000 m³ per year. In an effort to appear listening to Kwiakah’s concerns the BC Chief Forester cut the WFP request almost in half. However, this approach to decision making is not very scientific (well, King Salomon tried it with a baby and his strategy worked – the baby lived; Nicholls crude approach to problem solving on the other hand created only more problems).

Kwiakah First Nation was provided with an opinion letter by renowned wildlife scientist and forester Dr. Brian Horejsi. He clearly disagrees with the BC Chief Forester’s assessment and the supporting comments by her staff (e.g. BC’s large carnivore “expert” Tony Hamilton). Here are some quotes from the opinion letter:

“Neither the Hamilton e-letter the Chief Forester relies upon, nor the Chief Forester, appear inclined to recognize or acknowledge the advanced state of vegetation change imposed on the Philips watershed by a long history of logging and road building”

“The incongruity in the Chief Foresters perspective – that roads and logging can impact bear viewing operations by displacing bears (p.38), but apparently said activities will not impact “bears” themselves (referencing Hamilton on her p. 37,and again on p.42), stands out.”

“The expectation, both written and implicit, that human use can and will be controlled in the Phillips, is both naïve and far-fetched.”

See BC’s full rationale here: ) .

It appears that the BC Liberal government has ZERO interest in a decision-making process that is based on science. The BC Liberal government decision making is solely based on political and economic interests.

BTW, have we mentioned that Kwiakah First Nation did not donate to the BC Liberal Party?

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