Six month extension given to WestFor to operate in SW Nova Scotia but with a reduction in allocation

Western Crown lands, modified from CPAWS map (2012)

Western Crown lands, modified from CPAWS map (2012)

I was wondering recently what happened to the interim WestFor Agreement which expired sometime in September. I have not seen any related news item or press release but a google search turned up discussion of an extension in Hansard:

“MS. KIM MASLAND « » : Mr. Speaker, my question through you is to the Minister of Natural Resources. Late last week, 13 mills working with WestFor received notice that their timber lease was up for renewal and would only be extended for 30 days. You can only imagine the shock and concern this posed to mills that employ thousands of Nova Scotians in rural Nova Scotia.

After the mill owners met with the minister, the minister advised that the agreement would be extended for six months, but it came with a catch. There has been a reduction in allocation, and elimination of unused allocation. This has serious impacts to mill operations in Nova Scotia.

Does the minister think that catching industry off guard with a surprise reduction is any way to do business in Nova Scotia?

HON. MARGARET MILLER « » : I thank the honourable member for the question. I think we are all aware in this House that part of the campaign was a promise that there would be no more long-term commitments for mills until after there was a forestry review. Unfortunately, the forestry review could not be completed and won’t be ready until the end of February.

But we are standing by our word. There are no long-term commitments. The mills were aware of that. WestFor was aware of that (Interruption)

Read more in The House Oct 3, 2017

A lot is riding on the Independent Review. We are still in phase I of that review and waiting to hear more about it.

The review will be conducted in three phases:
— Sept.-Dec., a preparatory phase to assemble and review background material, retain independent experts and commission background papers
— Dec.-Jan., an issue identification and review period that involves outlining major issues, Mi’kmaw engagement, and stakeholder and public input
— Jan.-Feb., analysis and report preparation.

From: Press Release: Review of Nova Scotia Forest Practices, Department of Natural Resources August 30, 2017

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