WestFor makes its case to Queens County

Western Crown lands, modified from CPAWS map (2012)

An article by Michael Lee, WestFor manager defends clearcutting practices, in the Apr 5, 2017 print version of LighthouseNow describes a presentation to Council for the Region of Queens Municipality by WestFor Manager Marcus Zwicker. (The article is not available online.)

As I read the article it seems the presentation was much along the lines of an earlier presentation to Digby Council, but there were evidently fewer (or no) voices of dissent amongst the audience.

The mayor for the region of Queens, David Dagley, expressed support for WestFor (“From my past knowledge and understanding, I do not see difficulty with a lease to WestFor”), while commenting that there could be less clearcutting:

Dagley who also serves on the Western Region Stakeholder Interaction Committee, a DNR advisory committee on WestFor, said some stands need to be clear cut, but he believes there can be a lower percentage of them. “It’s a very contentious public issue, there is no question.”

Dagley serves on the 20-member committee through his affiliation with the Queens County Fish and Game Association. Members are not associated with WestFor and include the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute, Paddlers of Nova Scotia, ATV Association of Nova Scotia, a local contractor, Medway Community Forest Cooperative, the Municipality of Annapolis, the Nova Scotia Native Council and Registered Professional Foresters Association

I was interested to read about the advisory committee on WestFor as its hard to find info about it otherwise. (Actually, it was the first I had heard about it.) I suppose it is too much to expect that the proceedings of this committee be made public.

In the same issue of LighthouseNow, a Waterloo (Lunenburg Co.) resident urges landowners to Wake Up!

Small (for example, 500 acres and less) private woodlot owners need and should have priority in moving our wood to mills. Basically, you never know whether you can sell your product or when it will be trucked. Our pulpwood price is gobbled up by the truckers because of distance to pulp mills. Maybe the rate should be subsidized by the government. Lots of other industries are. Our wood is going fast and we’re getting little for it. Wake up, landowners.

I had wondered in an earlier post whether the delay in the government signing off the Western Crown Lands to WestFor was due to some nervousness about how Trump & Co. might view the deal. Now that the Liberals seem geared up for an election, I am thinking that they are waiting for it to be over, so they can avoid the bad press that would probably follow the WestFor deal. (It’s not like the opposition Conservatives and NDPites are giving the Liberals a hard time about it now.)

But who knows. Maybe the delay is because the government is giving serious consideration to the concerns that have been raised about the WestFor deal.

Or maybe they are just trying to figure out a way to make it palatable, as first Hines and now Zwicker make the rounds. ‘Sound familar? It should:

The 1899 Lease Act constituted the beginning of a provincial policy toward pulp and paper industry development…In Cape Breton… the Big Lease resulted in all the drawbacks of a long-term lease but no pulp and paper mill. Instead, the Big Lease was part of a system which kept the price of purchased pulpwood low… – L. A. Sandberg in Forest Policy in Nova Scotia: The Big Lease, Cape Breton Island, 1899-1960


Tip of the hat to A.M. for forwarding the article and letter.

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