Neighbours get no notice about clearcut on Crown land

Not good for the neighbourhood

A CBC report on Information Morning this a.m. records the stress caused to a rural resident when she was asked to move her vehicle so the clearcutters could access neighbouring land. It was only then that she she learned about it. It didn’t help that the license plates were from Quebec and New Brunswick.

Another resident was “frustrated by the cut and the amount of clear cutting in general. If they were going to use it for farmland clearing that would be fine, but it just sits there for years and slowly grows up in weeds….[they] don’t seem to be leaving anything for future growth”. View CBC report

The report cites frustration with trying to keep up with information on the Harvest Plan Map Viewer, NSDNR’s vehicle for informing the public about proposed cuts: “…short of checking the website every day, there is no way for someone to know if there are new additions or for how long a comment period has been open. Hines defends the department’s public consultation process.”

That was true when the parcel of land being talked about was announced via the Map Viewer earlier in 2016, but some changes in the notification about new cuts were implemented December 20, 2016 which now make it a bit easier to follow – see Harvest Plan Map Viewer Updates now include list . It still requires a lot of vigilance, however and if you have concerns, there is only a short time to try and get them addressed. So far, it seems, there have been few, if any, modifications made after proposed harvests/sites have been posted; if there are modifications, that info. is not communicated to subscribers to the Map Viewer notices.

Given the notices and opportunities for input that individual residents in urban areas receive about proposed new buildings, roads etc., it doesn’t make a lot of sense that a rural resident would not be informed directly about a planned or proposed clearcut right next to them and given ample time to comment and for the government to consider the concerns and respond accordingly. (That should also apply to private lands; perhaps it does operate so informally to some extent, many landowners being sensitive to concerns of neighbours.)

We would not tolerate the level of environmental disturbance associated with clearcutting in any other context without much more public input. Why do we continue to give clearcutting a pass? The government will argue that this is the job of NSDNR, that they are taking care of the public interest. Increasingly, however, the science or the representation of the science behind harvest decisions, and government claims that clearcutting on Crown lands has been reduced, are being questioned. (View listings under Show Us the Science for some examples.)

Government pronouncements that all is well are not calming the disquiet about clearcutting. Regrettably, the case highlighted by the CBC report is only the most recent illustration of public concern about clearcutting.

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