City of Powell River councillors have taken issue with a potential provincial initiative to harmonize stumpage rates, which could affect Powell River Community Forest’s revenues.
At the April 5 committee of the whole meeting, council reviewed correspondence from Chris Laing, who manages the community forest’s logging operations, asking for support in a request from the BC Community Forest Association.
City chief administrative officer Russell Brewer said the ask is that council consider submitting a resolution to Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM).
“If the committee wished to do so, they could send it to council to forward onto UBCM,” added Brewer.
Brewer said that in November and December of 2021, the province sought community engagement on modernizing forest policy and council submitted feedback.
“The community forest board and its manager would appreciate support in sending this resolution,” said Brewer.
The provincial community forest association is calling for keeping the current rates in place.
Mayor Dave Formosa said, regarding this request from Powell River Community Forest, it is important to the city.
“The community forest is a huge contributor to the whole qathet region; even though the city is the owner of that corporation, we share the funds with the whole region.” said Formosa. “If [the provincial government] changes the stumpage rate to the community forest, it’s going to take a big chunk of that money out. We need to get behind this resolution to UBCM. We should also probably send a letter from the city saying we do not support the change.
“It’s not going to help the province with its financial woes. We’re small players in the communities that have these small tenures. We should really let the province know we can’t afford to take this loss.”
Formosa asked what the community would have done without the community forest.
“I would like to suggest a letter to the ministry ourselves and of course, we want to support this resolution to UBCM,” said Formosa.
Brewer said if there was direction to staff to draft a letter to the minister of forests and/or the premier, the letter could include feedback included in the city’s submission last year.
The committee gave unanimous consent to support the resolution to UBCM and for the city to send a letter to the province regarding the concern about stumpage rates. The matter will come before the city council.