Following is the

MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN:
Islands Community Stability Initiative (ICSI) and BC Ministry of Forests (MoF)


With the addendum Statement of General Principles provided by:
MacMillan Bloedel
TimberWest
Husby Forest Products
Western Forest Products

This memorandum of understanding (MoU) represents the efforts of Islands Community Stability Initiative (ICSI) and the Ministry of Forests (MoF) to address the social, economic and environmental concerns regarding the forests of Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands within existing legislation. This is seen as a starting point for dealing with the many issues of today and into the future.

The major licensees have existing contractual rights and obligations which contribute significantly to the Islands' economy. As an addendum to this Memorandum of Understanding, the forest industry has provided itsStatement of Principles, which it believes will enhance community stability. The forest industry will work with the MoF and ICSI wherever possible to support their MoU and to ensure a stable future for all island communities.

1. SUSTAINABILITY

All parties agree with the principles of sustainability. However, it is also clearly recognized that there are many differing viewpoints. To address the issues on sustainability, several joint commitments have been made.

For the Queen Charlotte Timber Supply Area, ICSI, the Ministry of Forests (MoF) and the Chief Forester are mutually committed to reanalyzing the AAC in advance of the legislated five-year time period. In order to ensure the issues are addressed in advance of the TSA reanalysis, all parties agree to work towards completion of the following initiatives:

- a consensus-based process, higher level strategic plan for the Islands (Section 5-6);

- the necessary forest inventory works (Section 2); and

- Cabinet decisions on protected areas (Section 5).

 

2. TIMBER SUPPLY & INVENTORY

An independent review provided the following recommendations for the TSA:

- terrestrial ecosystem mapping in combination with economic and physical operability for the entire TSA

- site index/BEC correlation to be done for the entire TSA

- stem analysis for mature Sitka spruce

- all inventory projects, studies and processes include ways to enhance community involvement.

The MoF will work with the communities to review, prioritize and implement these recommendations. The mutual objective will be to complete these works , considering the resources available and priorities, within the next two to three years.

It is acknowledged by all parties that in terms of addressing sustainable harvest issues, the highest priorities are the working forest landbase, old-growth site indices and second growth yields.

 

3 FOREST PRACTICES

The FPB has committed to a partial review of current forest practices to ensure that results expected under the FPC are being achieved.

Provisions for independent appeal of operational decisions by the Ministry of Forests are contained within the Forest Practices Code Act and the BC Forest Act, which allow such decisions to be rescinded, varied or upheld. The Forest Service is committed to ensuring that these processes become widely known by providing educational opportunities for the public.

 

4. COMMUNITY TENURES & ON-ISLAND MANUFACTURING

General

There is general agreement with the objectives of designing forest tenures to address community economic and employment concerns.

From a community perspective, area-based tenures are preferable to volume-based tenures. The parties will focus discussions on designing community tenures with the long-term objective of being accessible to and targeted towards island communities.

In order to implement the community-oriented tenures, all parties agree to complete a schedule including volumes, priorities and timelines, by October 31, 1996.

The parties acknowledge the need to explore and implement options to increase the proportion of timber manufactured on-island.

All parties recognize that industrial development is restricted by limited available energy resources.

Island communities will independently pursue avenues such as FRBC to explore available energy creation opportunities. Wherever possible, the MoF will provide the technical data support for any proposals.

MoF Commitments

Up to 35,000m3 of the Small Business Forest Enterprise Program (SBFEP) volume will be reallocated towards non-replaceable 10-15 year term forest licenses and will be tendered reflecting the general objectives of stimulating local employment and on-island manufacturing.

The SBFEP volumes in TFL 39, totaling 56,000m3 annually, will be redirected into a form of community tenure. The general objective will be to designate an operating area to be managed by the tenure holder.

The implementation of new tenure opportunities is proportionate to the forest landbase.

The new apportionment of the TSA Annual Allowable Cut is scheduled to be announced by the Minister. Any new opportunities in excess of existing commitments, will be directed towards community tenures. It is expected that up to 25,000 m3 may be directed towards community tenures.

The nature, timing, and operating areas for these tenures will be done in cooperation with ICSI and the general public.

The volumes for the SBFEP from TFL 24 (Western Forest Products) totaling both backlog and current annual commitments are scheduled for tendering in the near future. MoF will work with ICSI and the Small Business Community to ensure they are tendered in a manner which will maximize local opportunities.

To address short term timber supply issues for TimberWest operations and provide opportunities for future community tenures in the areas located behind Skidegate and Queen Charlotte City, the MoF and TimberWest will expedite discussions regarding the viability of exchanging Timber Licenses in these areas for another area in the TSA.

For small-scale opportunities, the Queen Charlotte Islands Forest District is piloting new and innovative methods to provide volumes to operators wishing to harvest volumes typically under 200-300m3. The types of volumes to be targeted include blowdown, diseased, and danger tree stands. Two "pilot" projects include a salvage "Finders License" in the Rennell Sound area and Blanket Cutting Permits for salvage operations on TFL lands.

 

5. PROTECTED AREAS & LAND USE

The MoF and ICSI will pursue the initiation of an Island-wide strategic and higher level planning process to resolve land use conflicts. The main objectives of this planning process are outlined in the general roles and responsibilities of the Islands Forest Council described in section 6 below.

Naden Harbour-Massett, Kumdis Slough, Kitgoro-Niisii, Kaisun, Kano, and Carew Bay will remain as is, pending the completion of the higher level strategic plan for the Islands.

The information provided by the technical gap analysis, released by the Regional Protected Areas Team (RPAT), will be included in the resolution of protected areas through a community-based process.

The parties recognize the need to complete an interim plan for the Tlell and Government Creek watersheds to address potential local employment and environmental concerns. Through a participatory process, the MoF will develop interim development plans and present them within six months to the ICSI or the IFC for consensus support prior to sign-off by MoF.

The Yakoun Corridor and Security Inlet need appropriate planning.

Further discussion between the MoF, the forest industry, ICSI and the Haida Nation is necessary to address the Duu Guusd and Cumshewa Head areas.

Further discussion between the MoF and ICSI is necessary regarding Kootenay Inlet.

Recognizing the mutual benefits in completing a higher level plan, all parties will diligently work towards completing the planning process within a two- to three-year time frame.

When higher level plans are achieved and accepted, the Minister of Forests will take the necessary procedures to enact the laws of B.C. to implement those plans.

 

6. ISLANDS FOREST COUNCIL

An Islands Forest Council (IFC), (or community resource board) has been approved-in-principle by the provincial government. The terms of reference for the Council to be presented for approval to government (not just the MoF) will be a joint negotiation between communities, licensees, and the respective government agencies. These terms of reference would describe the mandate and responsibilities of the group, interactions with local and provincial communities, and line ministries. The mechanisms for supporting the IFC will also be finalized.

The IFC, will ensure the continuation of an island-wide higher level strategic planning process, such as the higher level plan referred to in the BC Forest Practices Code. Some of the purposes of the Strategic Plan will be the resolution and recommendations to Cabinet, on proposed Protected Areas, Biodiversity Emphasis Areas, Forest Land Emphasis Areas, Landscape Unit Objectives, Sustainability and strategic resource issues. Completion of this higher level of planning will form the foundation for subsequent harvesting approvals. As per the Forest Practices Code, the approved forest management strategies for any specific area will have to be incorporated into the plans for future harvesting on any area or Landscape Units (landscape units, for all intents and purposes, correspond to drainage or watershed boundaries).

All parties agree to:

- form an Islands Forest Council with appropriate funding for its operation;

- address the unresolved issues from the ICSI Consensus document through a localized higher level strategic planning process endorsed by the 'Islands Forest Council' and the provincial government;

- generally exchange information related to the Islands forests;

- the IFC providing the ways and means of community participation in decision-making and in designing a future that will ensure the long-term health of the forest and the stability of the Island Community;

- present higher level plans ratified by the communities to the Council of the Haida Nation and the Government of BC.

 

7. FOREST RENEWAL BC

All parties agree to support an effective FRBC District Advisory Committee. ICSI will pursue the following three projects which are part of a draft strategic plan for the Islands:

- establishing an Islands Forest Council;

- developing and implementing community forest options;

- creating value-added opportunities.

- FRBC has approved funding to communities for Community Tenure
proposals and tenders. It is expected this would apply to the Islands as well.

 

8. ISLANDS FORESTRY COMMISSION

All parties agree to revisit the creation of the Islands Forestry Commission if the processes outlined above fail to meet the objectives set forth in this document.

 

9. WITHOUT PREJUDICE

This memorandum of understanding represents the reciprocal good faith and common understanding of all parties. This memorandum of understanding or any actions taken to implement it, will not:
(a) be construed as creating, affirming, recognizing, or denying the rights or obligations of any of the parties, the Haida First Nation, or the Province. This includes the aboriginal or treaty rights of the Haida First Nation;
(b) constitute a treaty;
(c) constitute an interim measures agreement between the Haida First Nation and the Province of British Columbia; or
(d) be interpreted to alter or transfer the authority of any party, the Haida First Nation, or the Province of British Columbia.

This memorandum of understanding is without prejudice to the positions of the parties, the Haida First Nation, or the Province of British Columbia, with respect to sovereignty, ownership or title, in any proceeding before a court or administrative tribunal, or in negotiations, including treaty negotiations between the Province and the Haida First Nation.

 

SIGNATURES

We, the undersigned, commit to implementing these points of consensus regarding forest practices, sustainability, community forestry, local forestry jobs initiatives, local manufacturing, Islands Forest Council, and Protected Areas.


David Zirnhelt
Minister of Forests

Dale Lore, ICSI Chair,
Councillor Village of Port Clements

Terry Carty, Mayor
Village of Masset

Bill Mackay, Director
Electoral Area D, Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District

Wayne Wilson, Chief Councillor
Skidegate Band Council

Leslie Johnson, Alternate Commissioner
Queen Charlotte City/ Skidegate Landing Advisory Planning Commission

Bill Beldessi, Chair
Moresby Island Advisory Planning Commission

Jim Henry for Duane Gould, Director
Electoral Area E, Skeena-Queen Charlotte Regional District

Greg Martin, Commissioner
Graham Island Advisory Planning Commission


The MoU has yet to be signed by
Wilson Brown, Chief Councillor - Village of Old Massett.