Public support key to Dungate Community Forest expansion

Proposal has economic and other benefits for community

Dungate expansion project to be developed over the summer. (District of Houston illustration)

Plans by the Dungate Community Forest to expand its annual allowable cut will be helped along by local support, says one person involved.

“It is an important part of the application,” noted Greg Yeomans speaking on behalf of the community forest.

“As we go through this process we are hoping to hear back from the community and reflect on that feedback before we submit anything to the government,” he said.

And while the forest, lands and natural resource operations and northern development ministry has consistently told the community forest all of the annual allowable cut within the Morice Timber Supply Area (TSA) has been allocated, Yeomans said that’s the case with every timber supply area in the province.

“There are many community forests that would not be here now if that was the final answer,” he said.

One argument forwarded by Dungate is that adjacent TSAs have a higher proportion of their annual allowable cuts allocated to community forests than does the Morice TSA.

By percentage, 3.4 per cent of the Bulkley TSA is allocated to community forests and 21.8 per cent within the Lakes TSA compared to 2.4 per cent in the Morice TSA.

In terms of cubic metres, that works out to 29,000 for Dungate and 10,088 for the Babine Lake Community Forest.

The Dungate proposal is to add 15,000 cubic metres to its current 29,000 cubic metres.

Yeomans noted that there is no set percentage set aside within TSAs for community forests allotments.

“Burns Lake has a very high level of community forests. This is not typical. This happened in response to a mill burning down,” he said. “The mill was later rebuilt but all the pressure occurred when the mill rebuild was unknown.”

That desire for more local control of timber harvesting is very much at the core of the Dungate philosophy with Yeomans emphasizing the impact on Houston when Houston Forest Products closed in 2014, resulting in both the loss of jobs and economic activity.

“I am sure this plus input from the community will be a very important consideration for the government,” he said.

In addition to local employment opportunities, Dungate has also pointed to the profits it generates being returned as grants to community groups and activities.

As of late 2019, nearly $41,000 was provided to groups and activities.

And thanks to a 99 per cent ownership by the District of Houston, Dungate profits have helped the District finance current and future capital projects.

Also core to the Dungate proposal is taking in a portion of the Morice Mountain Recreation Area as it is within that area that Dungate could then expand its annual allowable cut.

“It is important to note that the Morice Mountain Recreation Area is part of the timber harvesting landbase. This means to support harvest levels there has to be harvesting up there some day,” said Yeomans.

“We are looking for a tenure that works well for doing something different for these special areas adjacent to Houston.”

And given the prospect of logging within the recreation area, Dungate’s broad plan calls for small scale harvesting to enhance recreation opportunities within the recreation area for locals and to attract tourists.

So far, Yeomans says forests ministry officials have been listening closely.

“As they understand the special areas we are trying to include in the proposal, they have become more understanding without making any promises,” he said.

Given the current COVID-19 restrictions, the formal Dungate proposal to the province will be developed over the summer.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Police investigate July 2 homicide in Houston

Man succumbed to injuries at Pearson Road residence

QUIZ: Put your knowledge of Canada to the test

How much do you know about our country?

RCMP patrol of smokehouse sparks concerns by Wet’suwet’en hereditary leader

Hereditary Chief Woos says he is feeling uneasy after RCMP attended the smokehouse with rifles

Regional District approved for business liaison grant to assist with COVID-19 recovery

Grant offers each of the northern development regions up to $75,000 in funding

Lines getting painted

June 25 the Houston Mall had their parking lot painted with parking… Continue reading

Police issue warning after baby comes across suspected drugs in Kamloops park

The 11-month-old girl’s mother posted photos on social media showing a small plastic bag containing a purple substance

Collision results in train derailment just east of Golden

The derailment occurred Sunday night, according to a statement from CP

Lower Mainland woman says llama farming neighbour shot her 11-month-old pup

Young dog was on owner’s Maple Ridge property when it was killed on June 21

B.C. records 31 new cases, six deaths over three days due to COVID-19

There are 166 active cases in B.C., 16 people in hospital

B.C. highway widening job reduced, costs still up $61 million

Union-only project scales back work to widen Trans-Canada

Greater Victoria nanny pleads guilty to child porn, sexual interference charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to slew of sex crimes

Most Read