Consultation is set to begin again on the future of the North Cowichan Municipal Forest. (submitted photo)

Consultation is set to begin again on the future of the North Cowichan Municipal Forest. (submitted photo)

Consultation about forests: we don’t take the math exam before we learn to add and subtract

Public consultation, paused because of COVID, is about to start up again

Consultation about forests: we don’t take the math exam before we learn to add and subtract

The pivotal moment has come for each and every one of the hundreds of people who have been asking for an enlightened new way to caretake our Six Mountains Forest to take action.

Public consultation, paused because of COVID, is about to start up again, but not in the way many of us hoped for. Rather than debate with diverse experts on the forests, consultation is going online with virtual tours. The process is going to happen fast — first stage ends in September — yet, there are many questions that need to be addressed.

We wouldn’t take a math test before learning the subject, so why is consultation beginning with a survey? Where in the consultation budget is education? Who will teach us the important lessons we need to know about the forests? How will citizens be made to feel comfortable expressing their opinions? Can there be guarantees of anonymity so people can speak and answer surveys frankly and freely?

What we need now, it seems to me, before surveys, first and foremost is information and education from forest experts knowledgeable about the diverse vales and systems that make up our forests — above all, how they survive and die. Then, we can engage and answer surveys in an informed way.

Can this happen online? It remains to be seen. At this point all we can do is pay attention, be informed and participate.

To cover the process and ask the tough questions of those running it, we are fortunate to have one of the top investigative, multiple-award-winning journalists in the province living here, Larry Pynn.

Where Do We Stand will continue to link to Larry’s important sixmountains.ca articles.

WDWS will continue to give updates and warn what is coming. We are close to 1,000 subscribers — if every subscriber reminded 20 friends to sign on, who reminded 20 friends…

This, my friends, is what it’s going to take.

Icel Dobell

Where Do We Stand

Cowichan Valley Citizen

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