There are concerns about logging impacting trails and wildlife habitat in Fernie. Photo taken on Coal Creek Road. Phil McLachlan/The Free Press

AKBLG endorses Fernie logging resolution

Resolutions call for stronger laws on private land logging; more local government consultation

  • May. 4, 2019 12:00 a.m.

Fernie’s plea for tighter restrictions on private land logging has been heard by local governments across the Kootenay and Boundary region.

At the 2019 Association of Kootenay and Boundary Local Governments (AKBLG) Convention in Castlegar from April 26-28, the AKBLG membership endorsed the City of Fernie’s resolution after splitting it into two resolutions for clarity. It was co-sponsored by the City of Nelson, where clearcutting on privately-owned land is also a concern.

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The first resolution asks that the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) call upon the Province to bring regulations and standards for private land logging in line with those on Crown forest land.

The second requires private landowners to undertake annual consultations with local governments to provide information regarding long-term disposition or development intentions for land adjacent to local government boundaries if intended for commercial purposes.

“I am very pleased that the membership endorsed the Fernie resolution after splitting it into two separate resolutions,” said Fernie Mayor Ange Qualizza.

“The topic of logging near our communities has become significant in the past several years and we all share a certain vulnerability around this issue. There might be division around why we feel vulnerabilities as the issues are not totally identical but the commonalities of concern saw the membership come together to support these two resolutions.”

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Also up for consideration at the convention were locally-endorsed resolutions for stand-by pay for key emergency personnel, a sustainable funding model for search and rescue groups, and capital funding for rural and municipal fire departments.

Qualizza said it was not lost on the membership that of the 24 resolutions considered, many of them were around issues of emergency preparedness and securing more resources for wildfire mitigation.

All resolutions endorsed by the AKBLG will now go to the UBCM for consideration at the 2019 convention, to be held in Vancouver from September 23-27.

All three Elk Valley mayors were expected to attend the AKBLG convention, along with several councillors.

Qualizza participated in the Highway 3 Mayors and Chairs Committee meeting, where priority projects were put forward to the Province.

She said other highlights were Kimberley Mayor Don McCormick’s presentation on the town’s experience with cannabis retailers and keynote speaker Chris Fields, who discussed community branding and his work with the emerging tech community of Canal Flats.

“When local governments come together to collaborate and learn from one another, we really are richer as a region,” said Qualizza.

The AKBLG also held its annual general meeting and elections in Castlegar. Regional District of East Kootenay Chair Rob Gay has finished his two-year term as president and remains on the Executive as past president.

Qualizza was thrilled to be re-elected to the Executive as Director at Large for another two-year term. “I think the work of local government associations is extremely important to our region,” she said.

“We have a unique opportunity to provide meaningful support through strategic advocacy to the Province on behalf of our membership.”

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