LETTER: Private land logging law needs changing

From reader Sandra Hartline

When slopes above Cottonwood Lake near Nelson faced private clearcutting, it took dozens of local citizens rallying to raise the funds to purchase the land and stop the clearcut.

If the BC government had reformed an outdated law, we would not have been faced with this challenge.

The Private Managed Forest Land Act has no requirement for forest harvesting to be sustainable and no limit on cut for landowners; short-term gain is prioritized over long-term sustainability. The lack of regulations for private land logging has shifted the burden to communities, forcing British Columbians to pay the price for provincial tax rules that let big companies claim tax breaks after clearcutting vast areas.

Water, wildlife, and community recreation suffer when private land logging destroys forests. Environmental protections are lacking, with minimal stream and water protections and no requirements to maintain wildlife habitat. Landowners are not required to consider downstream values or to consult with affected residents, communities, and local government.

We need stream and water protections and requirements to maintain biodiversity. Communities should not have to face the impact from weaak provincial regulations.

Private managed forest logging plans should be subject to a public consultation process, and the law should be changed.

Sandra Hartline