Election_PhotoThe next local government elections in British Columbia are set for November 15, 2014.

Local government elections now happen in British Columbia every four years. This includes elections for mayors, councillors, regional district electoral area directors, school trustees, trustees for the Islands Trust, local community commisioners and park board comissioners.

Phew. That’s potentially a lot of candidates, new and returning, vying for voter attention, soliciting information and hoping to persuade constituents they have the ideals and ideas best suited for the job. At times like these, private forest land often becomes part of the agenda.

PFLA is dedicated to spreading the word about responsible forest stewardship and municipal elections are an excellent opportunity to educate and inform local candidates about private forest land and the Managed Forest Program.

Local governments have control over zoning, non-forest land use and property taxation mill rates. Because these powers can have a significant impact on land management decisions, it’s important, and beneficial to everyone, if local government representatives have a solid understanding of the present-day stewardship practices and regulatory frameworks in place to guide private forest management in the province.

If you know of any candidates who might benefit from some support in helping to understand private forestry, please let us know.

If you’re keen to find more information to share with your local candidate about the Managed Forest Program, or private forest stewardship, in general, might we suggest a few of our earlier posts:

Managed Forest Fundamentals—A Provincial Regulatory Model

This is a short article that answers questions like:

  • What is managed forest land?
  • How does the regulatory model work?
  • Why is forest management a matter of provincial jurisdiction?
  • Why does private land have a different regulatory model than Crown land?

5 Messages Every Candidate Should Know About Private Forestry

This is an article we put together before the last provincial election with the similar aim of helping members to help candidates understand the valuable and important contributions private forestry makes to local communities. While the audience is slightly different, the key messages are still helpful. You can read the whole thing here, or we’ve excerpted the highlights below.

If a candidate knocks on your door, or you’re inclined to knock on their door, or for some other reason you find yourself with 60 seconds to talk to your local candidate, here are five key messages to share about private forestry in B.C.

  1. Private managed forest owners are the only landowners in BC committed and legally bound to grow and harvest trees. We’ve planted more than 100 million trees on private forestland in the past 10 years (that’s a lot of trees!).
  1. Private managed forest land is governed by over 30 acts and regulations that protect key public environmental values including water quality, fish habitat and critical wildlife habitat.
  1. Forest owners are responsible neighbours to some of B.C.’s fastest growing communities. The timber crops we’re harvesting today were planted decades ago, long before expanding communities built subdivisions next door to our forests.
  1. We have a solid track record of responsible practices and community communications. Nobody likes surprises (except maybe lottery winnings) so we make every reasonable effort to talk with our neighbours and let people know what’s happening with our operations.
  1. We value healthy dialogue. Invite your candidate out into the woods to see firsthand how we manage our forests. Offer to help with any other questions they might have. Let them know: we’re part of the solution and we’re here to help.