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Taking It All Away - Communities on Haida Gwaii say Enough is Enough

Cover
| Introduction | Goodbye Wood, Goodbye Jobs | Where the Cut Goes
Lower the Cut - Retain the Jobs | Redesigning the Status Quo
Untenable Tenure | Hitting the Wall
Islands Community Stability Initiative
Conclusions





By reducing the cut and recycling the wealth, it is more than possible to maintain, perhaps even increase, jobs in the local forest economy. That's good news for Haida Gwaii residents. It's also good news for the province. By logging less and capturing more money from each tree, the province will continue to collect significant stumpage revenues (see sidebar). And by encouraging more on-Island milling, Haida Gwaii will become a vital link in the "value-added" chain, supplying off-Island mills with wood for further processing into finished products.

Consider also that mechanisms are being put in place to increase forestry investments on Haida Gwaii through Forest Renewal BC. Forest Renewal is a new Crown corporation. It disburses money collected through increased stumpage charges under the Forest Renewal Act (1994). Those increased stumpage charges mean that logging companies on BC's coast pay about $12 a cubic metre more in stumpage payments than they did prior to Forest Renewal. About two thirds of that money ends up at FRBC where it is then redistributed into a host of forestry-related ventures including: watershed restoration; forest inventories; worker training and education; intensive silviculture; value-added enterprises; and community development.

Haida Gwaii residents understand that about $16 million a year is collected for FRBC from their forests. A District Advisory Committee has been formed to "work with local people and Island communities." Given local demands for a restructured forest tenure system and diversified forest economy, FRBC provides a critical element in helping Islanders realize their dreams.

Opportunities abound to make wise local investments with Forest Renewal funds. Already, many Haida have been trained to do watershed assessments and develop watershed restoration plans for some of the areas damaged by logging practices on the Islands.

Soon, a host of other projects will be identified for potential Forest Renewal funding - projects that will provide valuable training and work opportunities in intensive silviculture and other forestry-related activities. All this will be made possible because money collected from logging Haida Gwaii will be returned to Haida Gwaii, where local residents advise FRBC about how that money is spent.

Local control over local resources. That's what many Islanders see as the best hope for Haida Gwaii. As Jim Abbot says, what Islanders want is a "radically restructured forest economy" that is "managed by Island people for Island people. Local control of the timber resource would result in training and investment in our communities, and hundreds of manufacturing jobs on the Islands."

The goal, quite simply, is self reliance, dignity and opportunities for future generations, both on and off the Islands.
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