CBC interviews reveal WestFor got a one year renewal on its access to Nova Scotia’s Western Crown Lands on Oct 1, 2018

There’s a lot in these recent Information Morning interviews, unfortunately none of it indicating any significant changes in the way government/L&F and Industrial Forestry think about forests and forestry in Nova Scotia following the Lahey Report.

Apt Comment received Nov 8:
LAF clearly demonstrates through the on-going clearcuts that they cannot reform themselves from within

4th interview on Nov 8: Ecologist says forests in crisis

5th interview on Nov. 9: Raymond Plourde from the Ecology Action Centre says the province is better at protecting the forestry industry than the forests


Western Crown lands, modified from CPAWS map (2012)

Westfor lands Western Crown lands, modified from CPAWS map (2012).

In a post on Oct 4, 2018, I asked “While we wait for the government to respond to the Independent Review, what agreement is in place with WestFor?

Now, thanks to some digging by CBC, we know the answer. A one-year agreement was signed 3 days earlier, on Oct 1.

On Nov 5, 2018 Information Morning (Halifax) interviewed “a Nova Scotia woman [who] is upset to learn that a clear cut she fought to stop has been given the green light” (audio, 7 min 23 sec)

Some people in Shelburne County are upset that the province has approved a clear cut on 260 hectares of forested crown land. The area is made up of eight parcels of land, near Wagner’s Lake in Middle Clyde, Shelburne County. Last week the province gave the Westfor consortium the go ahead to cut on that land. More than 300 people from the local area signed a petition earlier this year opposing the clear cut. Shelly Hipson wrote that petition.

On Nov 6, 2018, in a followup interview with Marcus Zwicker, General Manager of WestFor, it was revealed that the Province had signed a new one-year agreement with WestFor on Oct 1, 2018:

Westfor says it’s just following the provincial guidelines when it clear cuts a forest (audio 10 min 18 sec)

While Nova Scotians wait to hear how the province will respond to an independent forestry review, Westfor has just signed another one-year agreement with the province to cut trees on crown land in south-west Nova. We speak with the company’s general manager Marcus Zwicker.

Portia Clark (CBC) asked “Are there any significant changes in the new agreement that reflect the conclusions of the Lahey report?”

Marcus Zwicker: “No…because the province hasn’t indicated publicly what recommendations it will be implementing out of the Report.”

On Nov 7, 2018, Information Morning spoke to Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin.

An independent forestry review calls for a decrease in clear cutting. Yet the province has just approved new clear cuts. We’ll speak with the minister of Lands and forestry. (Audio 11 min 27 sec)

An independent review says there should be less clear-cutting in Nova Scotia. But as we heard yesterday, the government has issued a new licence for Westfor to cut trees on crown land. We ask Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin about that.

CBC’s Phlis McGregor first talks to Peter Stoddard who has a camp on Wagners Lake. She asks about the forest, how he would describe it: “Vibrant… you see deer, bear, rabbits, hawks…” responds P.S., “I thought the government would listen to the people, most people are not against forestry they are just against clearcuts”.

Portia Clark asked Minister Rankin “Why didn’t the province take time to talk to the 300 people who signed a petition against a clearcut in that area…”

Rankin refers to the Harvest Plan Map Viewer and the scientific processes followed, without acknowledging that the Independent Review found major issues with those processes.

Portia Clark asked if he had read the Lahey report.

Iain Rankin: “Yes… we accept the spirit of the Report… It is a science-based system… we need to ensure that we have a thriving industry…[referring to Industrial Forestry, not to Tourism, or Hunting and Fishing] ”

Portia Clark: How many more clearcuts will be approved between now and when you do respond to the Lahey report?

Ian Rankin: Staff are working very diligently. We will respond when we are ready. It’s an important industry and we will take a balanced approach.

There’s a lot more in these interviews, unfortunately none of it indicating any significant changes in the way government/L&F and Industrial Forestry think about forests and forestry in Nova Scotia following the Lahey Report.

At least there was some good news from south of the border today.

Addendum Nov 7 evening: View also Shelburne County residents pan ‘disrespectful’ clearcut plans
Moira Donovan, Phlis McGregor · CBC News · Posted: Nov 07, 2018


I am still left with the same questions I expressed on Oct 4 when I wondered…

  • Was a new Interim Agreement made with WestFor that covered the September cuts and ongoing harvests in SW Nova Scotia? [Answer: YES for ongoing; not clear about Sept]
  • Were the restrictions cited above [see Oct 4 post]  removed?
  • Were any of the Recommendations from the Independent Review cited in any agreements made after the Report was released (e.g. as  in the Sep 11 e-mail to WestFor and others from Allan Smith cited in a CBC report)?
  • Can the public be informed about these agreements?
  • Is a long term agreement with WestFor still in the works, and will that await a formal government response to recommendations in the Report on the Independent Review?


From Woods and Waters Nova Scotia, Nov 11, 2018:

Dear Minister Rankin, Deputy Minister Julie Towers, MLA Chris d’Entremont, and Municipal leaders:


Help us understand.

· Even though our community has stated clearly that we want this forest to remain intact and as it is – to enjoy and support recreational hunting and our way of life; (Petition with Signatures Enclosed)

· And that we have communicated to you that WE UNDERSTAND the negative impacts of clear-cutting – which are also outlined and echoed in the Lahey report;

· And we, the people, submitted a petition with over 300 HAND WRITTEN SIGNATURES IN TWO DAYS basically taking in the population of the Clyde River area;

· And that we submitted this petition to Province House, with our MLA, Chris d’Entremont and to Forestry Maps meeting the required deadline for input;

That the Department of Lands and Forestry – the department that you manage – has approved this clear-cut?

1. Can you please tell us the purpose of having a window of opportunity for the people of Nova Scotia to make comment on harvests?
2. Why did we the people not stop this harvest? What information is necessary to do so?
3. Who signs off on this harvest knowing that there have been two studies and no action by government to reduce clear-cutting in this province?

4. What revenue will the province receive from this harvest? What expenses will be incurred by the province? (For example, road grants etc.)

At this time, we would like to request a moratorium on all proposed harvests and approved clear-cuts until government takes action and implements the recommendations of the Forestry Report.

We look forward to your response and a meeting with our community at your earliest convenience.

Shelly Hipson
& community


From: Minister, Natural Resources [mailto:MINDNR@novascotia.ca]
Sent: October 31, 2018 10:49 AM
To: Shelly Hipson
Subject: Re: Proposed harvest in Middle Clyde (DNR Log #18-270)

Dear Ms. Hipson:

I am responding to your email concerning the proposed harvest in Middle Clyde (Wagner Lake).

This proposed plan SH068112 has been approved after a review of all the information and comments provided by members of the public.

As you are aware, the department has received the report from Professor Lahey and we are looking at his conclusions and recommendations in detail.


Iain Rankin

Minister of Lands and Forestry

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