Protecting endangered forests

Regional District of Nanaimo motion passes, but at least two directors express concerns

The Regional District of Nanaimo is getting on board the province’s bid to protect the threatened Coastal Douglas Fir ecosystems in the area.

The issue arose at the regular RDN committee of the whole meeting in a report from planner Paul Thompson, who said the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations requested they participate in the Coastal Douglas Fir and Associated Ecosystems Conservation Partnership.

The group, Keller explained, arose from a recognition of a need for a strategic and collaborative approach to conserve Coastal Douglas-fir ecosystems. The group, he said, will promote shared stewardship and will identify conservation priorities, share information and provide support for participants.

In presenting the report, RDN general manager Paul  Thorkelson said there has been much interest in development proposals in the ecosystem in the region.

The initiative got an enthusiastic response from Qualicum Beach alternate director Scott Tanner.

“This is teriffic,” he said, noting the Town of Qualicum Beach has incorporated the protection of the Coastal Douglas-fir ecosystem into their official community plan.

“It’s something that’s critical and needs to be incorporated in all the area OCPs,” he said.

However, Coombs-Errington director Julian Fell wasn’t so sure.

“I find it ironic the government sponsoring this is the same one that logged DL33, one of the last pieces of Doublas-fir ecosystem existing on the Island,” he said.

For his part, Lantzville director Brian Dempsey said the move sounded like another example of downloading from the province to more junior levels of government.

Despite the concerns expressed, the board approved the move. However, it still needs to be ratified at a full meeting of the RDN board.