Premier Christy Clark speech closes each Union of B.C. Municipalities convention. The next one is in Vancouver Sept. 21-25.

Fires, forests high on local government agenda

Municipal politicians look for more provincial support to remove forest fuel from interface areas, including private land

As mayors and councillors from across the province prepare to gather in Vancouver for their annual September convention and meetings with the B.C. cabinet, the state of B.C. forests and the threat of fires is top of mind.

A resolution up for debate from Premier Christy Clark’s constituency of West Kelowna calls on the province to take the lead on forest fuel management, directly funding and managing it for private as well as public land. It notes that despite high costs and widespread damage from the 2014 forest fire season, the province’s Strategic Wildfire Prevention Initiative excluded operational activities and was restricted to financing community protection plans.

The program spent $62 million between 2004 and 2014 to assist local governments reduce interface fire risk. Applications for fuel projects were halted last year when the budget was spent, and this spring the forests ministry put another $5 million in, for projects on municipal or provincial land only.

The province maintains that fuel projects on private land are best left to local governments to coordinate with their public land programs.

In the wake of beetle losses and reduced timber harvest limits, Williams Lake, Quesnel, 100 Mile House and Wells are calling for the province to improve certainty on the working forest land base. Their resolution calls for the province to “deliver the full allowable cut allowed under the BC Timber Sales program” and “complete a science-based inventory of available timber supply.”

Forests Minister Steve Thomson said in an interview the province’s $80 million increase in inventory funding over 10 years has been focused on areas hardest hit by pine beetle infestation.

“I’m confident that we have significantly improved information that is going into the timber supply reviews and timber supply analysis,” Thomson said.

Log exports is a perennial issue of concern to coastal communities. The latest resolution from the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District notes that log exports increased 65 per cent between 2010 and 2013, with 90 per cent of exports from the B.C. coast.

Their resolution calls for a review of log export policy, which requires logs for export to be advertised so local mills have the option of bidding before export is approved.

Hundreds of mayors, councillors and regional district directors will converge on downtown Vancouver for the UBCM convention Sept. 21-25.

 

Just Posted

Suspects charged after police incident by golf course

Mission and Maple Ridge RCMP combined forces to arrest two men

Mobile complaint clinic coming to Langley Feb. 9

The B.C. Ombudsperson is touring cities, taking complaints against the provincial government

UPDATE: Tsunami warning cancelled for coastal British Columbia

Warning issued following 7.9 earthquake off Kodiak, AK

‘Restless night’ for Semiahmoo First Nation after tsunami warning

Alaska earthquake puts Semiahmoo First Nation on notice

Mission RCMP recover 22 stolen vehicles and several firearms

Charges are still pending after police search two separate properties

Tsunami warnings 101: Canada

Here are some things to know about tsunami alerts in Canada and how they work

Castlegar homicide victim identified

The victim was 38-year-old Jordan Workman of Castlegar, B.C.

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates get one last prime-time pitch

Leadership campaign to be decided in Feb. 3 vote

Homeless evicted from First Nation reserve land say they have nowhere to go

‘Why not just let us stay until spring?’ one camper at Chilliwack site pleads

Andrew Scheer on trade, Trump and Trudeau

Canada’s Conservative leader begins three-day visit to B.C.

Victims restrained, sex toys and cash stolen from B.C. adult store

Armed suspects sought in adult store robbery

UPDATED: 10 Safeways in Lower Mainland to close

Locations in Vancouver, Burnaby, Surrey, Coquitlam, Richmond and Mission slated to shut

Vancouver Islanders ponder need for tsunami siren song

Alarm sounds in Port Alberni but not at the DND base in Esquimalt

Five charged in bid to shut pop-up pot market in Vancouver’s Robson Square

Marijuana flower, edibles, money and some weapons were seized as part of weekend raid

Most Read