UpdatePFLA remains actively engaged on a number of important policy files relevant to forest owners across the province. We make every effort to maintain regular communications with elected officials, ministry staff and community members to ensure the perspective of private forest owners is understood at all levels of the policy making process.

As we wind our way toward the end of 2015, here’s a brief update, in no particular order, to keep you informed about a few of the policy areas we’re working on right now.

BC Assessment and Property Taxation

Property taxation is a re-emerging issue. There appears to be an upward pressure on assessed property values, which in turn could translate into upward pressure on property tax bills for 2016. PFLA is monitoring the situation closely and will advocate on behalf of forest owners as needed.

Eligibility and succession planning within the Managed Forest Program is another area we continue to work on with the Managed Forest Council and BC Assessment to obtain better policy transparency and clarity.

Tina Ireland, Director Property Owners, with BC Assessment has nothing new to report since her presentation at PFLA’s 2015 conference. Tina expects business as usual for the rest of the year as they work toward finalizing any changes in 2016.

The Species at Risk Act and the Migratory Birds Convention Act

Both the Species at Risk Act and the Migratory Birds Convention Act remain important policy file areas. PFLA continues to work closely with the Canadian Association of Forest Owners (CAFO), the farming community, and other land managers across B.C. and Canada to make sure landowners are recognized for the existing measures taken to protect endangered species on private land.

The goals continue to be: 1) Receive credit and recognition for the habitat land managers provide on private property. 2) Receive compensation when the ability to grow and harvest timber is restricted.

If you have any specific concerns or feedback about these policy areas, please contact PFLA directly for more detailed information and insight into PFLA’s participation with these ongoing policy processes.

Water Protection on Managed Forest Land

Water quality is one of the key public environmental values protected within the Managed Forest Program. PFLA is engaged with the Managed Forest Council (MFC) and Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (MFLNRO) staff on a number of very active local water initiatives.

The goal is to educate the public, local government and communities about the protections, practices, relationships and programs already in place to protect water quality on private forest land. This is also an opportunity for PFLA to listen and understand what local concerns are and look for common ground.

Because protecting water quality is fundamental to the Managed Forest Program, the Managed Forest Council is also looking closely at water protection. The MFC is in the process of evaluating the effectiveness of water protection under the current regulatory regime and best management practices model.

Please contact the Managed Forest Council directly for more information on this process.

Log Export Restrictions and Market Access

Log export restrictions are another key policy area PFLA continues to be diligently involved with. PFLA is actively monitoring international developments and, as always, the goal is to obtain international pricing for private land logs.

Galiano Island Residency Issue

PFLA has participated in a number of productive meetings throughout the year and continues to work closely with the province to find a solution to the Galiano Island residential issue. The objective is to permit one residential dwelling per title on Galiano Island, which is consistent with the policy intent as reflected everywhere else in the province.

Provincial Inventory Program

The province is currently undertaking an inventory program for public land. PFLA is working closely with MFLNRO staff to achieve an appropriate level of distinction for private land. PFLA has concerns about access to information on private land and is working hard to ensure private forest owners in British Columbia are treated with the same level of respect as forest owners in competing jurisdictions

Wildfire Response Agreements (WRAs)

Wildfire Response Agreements (WRAs) for private land are set to expire at the end of March 2016. The province is revising the formula they use to calculate the rates for private landowners to have provincial resources conduct initial attack and response on their land. The government is anticipating a rate adjustment based on actual costs and is engaged with landowners in advance of the 2016 fire season.

Hopefully, this brief policy update provides enough information for you to get the gist of what we’re focused on these days. If you have any question or concerns, or if you’re interested in more information, please don’t hesitate to contact PFLA directly.