Public consultation on North Cowichan Municipal Forest Reserve begins this summer – Cowichan Valley Citizen
The long-awaited public engagement to determine the future of the 5,000-hectare North Cowichan Municipal Forest Preserve is expected to resume by mid-summer.
In a report to council, the municipality’s communications and public engagement manager, Barb Floden, said North Cowichan is currently in phase three of the forest review schedule.
She said that during this phase, the University of British Columbia’s partnership group, which is working with North Cowichan on its forest reserve review, is developing potential forest management scenarios for the LIM.
“Before sharing these scenarios with the general public, the partnership group will present them to [North Cowichan’s] forest advisory committee for their input and feedback prior to a final review by the board,” Floden said.
“Any potential changes will be made at that time, and the second round of public engagement will begin. This will include workshops, a survey, as well as a statistically valid telephone survey of North Cowichan residents.
Floden said the partnership group has experienced delays due to unforeseen personal circumstances within his team and will share potential storylines with staff in the coming weeks.
She said that after that, a meeting of the CCF could be organized to get feedback and then the forest management scenarios for the MFR will be presented to the council.
“Given this delay, public engagement is expected to begin in mid-summer,” Floden said.
“This adjustment will impact the rest of the timeline. Generally speaking, public engagement in July and August is generally avoided. Fall 2022 also poses timing challenges with local general elections scheduled for October 15.
In 2019, the council only approved the completion of existing forest contracts from 2018 and the harvesting of windthrow in the forest reserve that year until experts were solicited for their input and the public had been carefully consulted on what people want for the future of public properties.
No commercial harvest in the LIM has taken place since then.