Saturday, September 17, 2011

Locals try to stop development on land previously dedicated to forestry

Locals are trying to stop residential development near the Juan de Fuca marine trail on the West coast of Vancouver Island near Victoria. (Click on title to see map) A public meeting organised by the Capital Regional District had to be extended to three days to accommodate presentations that were overwhelmingly against the development.

The private land in question was once owned by a forest company. It was dedicated to forestry purposes as part of a Tree farm Licence. After World War II, forest companies could get Tree Farm Licences if they offered some private land to gain harvesting rights to a much larger area of public forest land. Both the private and public forest land was dedicated to sustainable forest management in perpetuity.

In recent years, the BC Government allowed forest companies to withdraw their private lands from Tree Farm Licence agreements. The private land along the Juan de Fuca trail were once part of a Tree Farm Licence agreement. After the land was withdrawn by the forest company, it was sold to a developer. The problem was downloaded to a regional district. Public resistance is now blocking development.

The BC Government is now being called to buy back the private lands to solve the problem. The BC Government under the original terms of the Tree farm Licence agreement, had the right to ensure that the private lands would be dedicated to forestry purposes rather than development. Now the Government will have to use taxpayer dollars.

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