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The Land & Resource Management Plan

Process is Limited

- we cannot participate in the process -

by Ralph Nelson

 

The Land and Resource Management Plan (LRMP) is touted as being grassroots-local and the answer to controversy. It is neither.

I have listened, and asked: "grass-roots" acquaintances disagree. They tell me the following represents their thoughts well enough.

The LRMP is a government construct, designed to end controversy on the grounds that it is a local response to local concerns over the use of the land/environment. But local concerns and responses get considerably watered down by non-local input: Big Business (and we all know just how big) and grinding bureaucracies (most of us have been ground) have not only the most representation, but are paid to participate, carry the weight of might, and limit the subjects and scope of potential changes to the status quo. It goes without saying that the status quo needs changing - that is the problem - and the LRMP process is the government answer to the unrest. Apparently all would agree there. Politicians gauge the appropriateness of their actions by the number and tone of complaints heard. The more complaints from each extreme the better, the assumption being that they are then toeing the middle line. The middle mediocre being the place they apparently want to be seen.

The LRMP process is rooted, now, in some history. That is unfortunate, if it was a new process, and the government was still bumbling along unconcernedly, we might have a chance of getting a local plan without too many restrictions. But not now. The restrictions have been imposed, and they are why we cannot participate.

When do you count an LRMP as started? I don't know; but there are approximately 17 processes underway in the province, and there is serious dissent; many organizations are refusing to participate, on various grounds.

There are many and varied problems with LRMP processes. Our specific reasons for non-participation:

Primarily:

Really, that is enough reason not to continue, but there are numerous other reasons that should be addressed, and aren't.

And:

The LRMP is not the vehicle for change.

There is sufficiently little large old growth valley bottom forest left, and there is almost none of this forest in the parks. A multitude of species and individuals live in large area, large tree forests - many birds and mammals need to range between valleys and occupy places between, and/or afar, some of the year.

Biological diversity is very much compromised already, and will be further reduced by the inaccessibility and small size of isolated pockets of remaining habitat. And old growth is not forecast to return: there are no plans to set aside large forest areas to re-grow in perpetuity.

If we let ourselves be led by what the powers want us to consider to be achievable, then we won't change very much. Government and industry want the status quo with as few as possible disruptions, and less responsibilities: they do not have our best interests in mind. Our governments are essentially foreign, though they are British Columbian and Canadian, and industry is multinational.

Governments and big business are not to be trusted, most of us have our personal stories in this regard: why do we, should we, trust them yet again - don't let's be silly.

And these things happen now, and are the basic presumptions for the future process of talk and log - talk and log being presumed better than log and talk.

Surely a continual revision of the ideal of best, should be the target for any logging anywhere.

Concluding:

Participation would compromise our personal and collective integrity - it would render us liars and hypocrites. Our position clearly does not fit within the framework of the LRMP process.

Indubitably, change is possible through an LRMP process, but is it significant? And is it good change, given likely compromises? And then, why should we compromise with far away governments and soulless industry? We don't think the minimal change possible is the most that can be accomplished for the 2-3 year projected effort of participating in an LRMP.

It is not the only process in town, however. There is a good, positive alternative. Let us local peoples, of all cultural backgrounds, draw up a plan of our own - without the constraints of what is considered politically expedient for governments - and make it work. We need to be especially clear about what we want, lest we end up compromised, as we have been at times, between ICSI and the government, for example (there is no attempt here to denigrate the vast work associated with ICSI's accomplishments on our behalf us Islanders).

These reasons are being offered for everyone's consideration, and specifically to the LRMP process - for the table.

* Worked Over Watershed by S. Davies

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