Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson has approved the removal of 116 hectares of private land from Tolko Industries' Tree Farm Licence 49.
The decision to allow Tolko to remove two parcels of non-commercial forest land from TFL 49 was reached after an extensive consultation process that involved local First Nations and the Regional District of Central Okanagan. Forest management issues such as old growth management areas, wildlife habitat, recreational access, road access, water users and others also were considered.
TFL 49 covers 141,975 hectares of Crown land west of Okanagan Lake near Kelowna, Vernon and Armstrong. About 116,165 hectares are considered suitable for timber harvesting.
Tolko has agreed to donate approximately 30 hectares of land to the regional district as parkland. The deletion allows the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to work with Tolko with ongoing safety improvements to Westside Road, including land for a vehicle safety pull-out.
Tolko Industries Ltd. is a private, Canadian-owned forest products company based in Vernon, British Columbia with approximately 3,000 employees. Tolko is a major producer and marketer of lumber, veneer, plywood, oriented strand board and kraft papers, with manufacturing operations across Western Canada.
Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson -
"It's a win-win situation where non-commercial forest land is put to better use. The public will benefit from increased road safety and access to land with, recreational and ecological significance. At the same time, there will be no impact to Tolko's allowable annual cut, which is good news in an area that's been hit hard by the pine beetle infestation."
Robert Hobson, chair, Regional District of Central Okanagan -
"RDCO appreciates that the Province has considered the community-wide interests of residents of the Central Okanagan in reviewing the proposed withdrawal of the Tolko land. This land contains important habitat for ungulates including California bighorn sheep. The property is also bisected by a portion of Westside Road that has been the subject of future improvement discussions and the RDCO continues to support any opportunities to create additional roadside vehicle pullouts and an improved road alignment. Today's announcement has confirmed that the RDCO's interests for both habitat conservation and future infrastructure improvements have been recognized by the Province."
Tolko Industries Ltd. Brad Thorlakson, CEO and president -
"We've worked closely with stakeholders to make this plan come to life. We believe that access to additional parkland in the Central Okanagan will enhance the quality of life of people in the region while providing the opportunity to address ongoing road safety concerns of local residents."
- A tree farm licence has a term of 25 years and requires a management plan providing for the establishment, management, and harvesting of timber in a described area (Crown and private land) on a sustained or perpetual yield basis.
- Tree farm licences often cover areas that include both private and Crown land.
- There remains 16,000 hectares of private land in publicly managed tree farm licences around British Columbia.
* There are about 2 million hectares of privately owned forest land in the province.
Our Natural Advantage: Forest Sector Strategy for British Columbia: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/mof/forestsectorstrategy/Forest_Strategy_WEB.PDF
Mid Term Timber Supply Action Plan: http://www.for.gov.bc.ca/hfp/mountain_pine_beetle/mid-term-timber-supply-project/MTTS-Action-Plan-201210.pdf
Public Affairs Officer
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations