Since the Club was heavily involved in development of the Ferguson Lake Nature Reserve, there will be considerable interest in a meeting held last night. Here is a bried report.
Local residents had noticed that tape was appearing on trees in the Nature Reserve area, and had asked for a meeting, to which the city agreed. 50 people – primarily people living in the Ferguson Lake area who had been informed about the short-notice meeting – were present to hear about, and express their views about, the development.
The City`s representative explained that the plan was to clearcut 64 hectares in the block around the Nature Reserve as part of the City`s fire suppression planning. For financial reasons, the cutting would not be selective; there was no funding available to carry out less destructive fire-suppression activities. Cutting would, unless plans were changed, begin imminently.
Participants focused on two points:
- Seriously inadequate consultation. Many groups – the PG Naturalists Club among them – would have strong views about this development, but had not been informed of, or been able to express their views about, the plans. The City`s representative fully accepted this point.
- While the importance of fire suppression work was understood, this particular spot is a sensitive and valuable wildlife area which would be seriously impacted by the planned clearcut. A wide range of points were made about the inappropriateness of the plans.
The City`s representative attempted to see if it was possible to find a middle ground, allowing work to go ahead, but mitigating concerns. No progress was made on this – those present remained firmly opposed to the plan. The meeting concluded with an agreement that the concerns would be transmitted to decision makers at the city; ultimately a decision could be taken at Council level.
More on this as matters unfold…
The message below has been sent to participants that left email addresses at Monday’s community meeting on Ferguson Lake fire-suppression plans.
Though the consultation was rather late in coming and insufficiently advertised – the City have learned from that – the event struck me as a model of community consultation and involvement. Attendees, Dan Adamson and other city managers are to be commended on their level-headedness and commitment.
It has become quite clear from the concerns raised by the residents at the December 5th meeting that there is little support in conducting the planned work, as described at the meeting, on the parcel straddling Ferguson Lake Road. Therefore, the City has decided not to proceed with the planned forest fuel treatment work as presented at the meeting. We appreciate the time you and your neighbours have put into this process.
The above addressees are the only meeting attendees that provided an e-mail address. We will do our best to phone the other attendees as soon as we can.
City of Prince George Ferguson Lake Nature Reserve
City of Prince George Mountain Pine Beetle Control
City of Prince George Urban Wildland Interface Fire Hazard Management
City of Prince George Community Wildfire Protection Plan