WestFor Lease still being negotiated – Hines

Western Crown lands, modified from CPAWS map (2012). The WestFor agreement would hand over management of most of these lands to a consortium if mills for a 10-year period.

The impending WestFor lease has occupied a bit of attention recently, with Hines touring SW Nova Scotia and Annapolis and Digby Counties expressing concerns about clearcutting and the WestFor lease.

I had wondered about the status of the Westfor lease (agreement) commenting a few days ago that “It’s still not clear whether the province has signed the 10-year lease with Westfor.”

A CBC story by Michael Gorman today cites Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines saying that “talks continue between his department and the group, with eyes on a 10-year licence with a renewal and review option after five years. Industry needs to know that they have time to recover their investment and government needs to be diligent about maintaining the rights to influence the operation on the public lands.”

As well as Lloyd Hines, Gorman interviewed two vocal opponents to the WestFor lease, Raymond Plourde of the Ecology Action Centre (“Plourde…says the licence would amount to a corporate sellout at the expense of the forest’s long-term health”) and Helga Guderley who has set up a petition requesting Premier McNeil not to sign a lease with WestFor, and calling for fundamental change in the management of Crown land. WestFor’s general manager, Marcus Zwicker, was also interviewed.

The article provides a snapshot of the opposing views on the WestFor lease, the government and industry maintaining that WestFor management of Crown lands would be professional and scientifically based; the opponents highly skeptical and concerned about the long term future of our forests and forestry in SW Nova Scotia.

View Opponents say Crown land licence would chop down forest health, Minister says it would provide stability for industry but maintain government oversight (CBC, Mar 13, 2017)

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