In a Regional District of Bulkley Nechako (RDBN) board meeting, the members advised the district to form an advisory committee for the Dungate Community Forest expansion to ensure the resident’s voice is heard.
The District of Houston and the Dungate Community Forest have been looking to expand the community forest to include the Morice Mountain Recreation Area and other areas close to Houston and Buck Flats. This expansion is being proposed, keeping in mind the economic benefits and employment opportunities as a result of an expansion. The expansion is also being proposed to increase small-scale and community focused recreational operations with community involvement and input, while also striving for opportunity to have greater wildfire protection measures in place.
The District and the forest brought up the issue of expansion and asked the RDBN board members for a letter of support for the project.
During the meeting, Area G Director Chris Newell expressed his concern over the expansion of the forest being so close to the residential areas of Buck Flats. “This will affect everything, wildlife, recreation, how much logging will go on and how close all of it is to the residential areas. That being said, I am all for a community forest. I am however in a quandry, I really want to see this go ahead but myself and residents in the area don’t want to see industrial logging and we really want some say on how logging goes ahead.”
Mayor Shane Brienen for the District of Houston, expressed his support to Newell’s sentiments and looked to the board for suggestions while pointing out that the project was “somewhat timely” and support from the RDBN would mean the District could go to the Province soon for a final decision on the expansion.
The board ultimately decided to provide a letter of support and advised the district to formulate an advisory committee comprising of residents of the Buck Flats and the surrounding areas to ensure they are properly represented and any logging activity that occurs in the area, if the expansion is approved, gets appropriately voted upon by the committee.
According to Mayor Brienen, the formulation of such a committee would happen as soon as the province approves the expansion.
“We are hoping to get an approval from the Province. I would hope that we know for sure before the end of the year,” said Brienen.