Rainforest Solutions Project

Promoting conservation and economic alternatives in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest


Great Bear plan praised

February 10, 2006

Tuesday’s announcement of the Great Bear Rainforest plan was a special moment for former Campbell River Mayor Jim Lornie.

“I’m very, very pleased with it,” the former chair of the Central Coast Land and Resource Management Plan
(CCLRMP) board told the North Islander. “It’s done, so it’s just terrific.

“It doesn’t just have provincial significance, it’s national and international. I was looking at the New York Times yesterday and there was about a half page write-up on the plans and the significance of it. It really has an international scope.”

It was back in 2002, as Lornie was serving out the last months of his tenure as Campbell River mayor, when Comox Valley MLA Stan Hagen, then Minister of Sustainable Resource Management, restructured the process and asked Lornie to chair.

“It was pretty onerous at the start,” Lornie remembered Wednesday. “There was not much common ground.”

The CCLRMP board submitted its final report about two and a half years later. That was combined with the North Coast LRMP to create a plan for 6.4 million hectares of BC mainland coast line stretching north from the Campbell River region.

Lornie said it was a process that transcended government and other specific agendas.

“It’s very, very significant to have this accomplished now, and to have First Nations sign off on it as well,” he said. “It’s really important for communities like Campbell River where a lot of the wood fibre comes from. A lot of the tourist activity in terms of services and lodging and all the rest of it come out of Campbell River and service that area, so it’s really important.

“This is going to allow the forest sector to continue to exist and to be sustainable, and a lot of other economies to evolve out there, particularly the First Nation economies as we move further and further into treaties.

“I feel really good for what I was able to accomplish with it and the accomplishment of the table members and all of the First Nations that took part in it.”

Like Lornie, Port McNeill Mayor Gerry Furney was invited to attend this week’s big announcement, after playing a role in the process.

“Having seen the negative effects of the CORE (Commission On Resources and the Environment) process on Vancouver Island, I was not an enthusiastic participant in this current process,” he said. “But I am also a realist who greatly respects the leaders of the indigenous people of our coast who have lived here for thousands of years. Leaders, such as Chief Percy Starr are also realists who see the benefits of sustainable forestry and salmon aquaculture as opportunities for their people.

“Therefore, I am pleased to endorse this plan with the expectation that all stakeholders will do their part in implementing it. I offer my congratulations to all the participants and especially to Premier Campbell and his many cabinet ministers who have worked so hard on it, and have brought us to this critical and, hopefully
positive, point.”

Furney said coastal communities and industry from Campbell River to Stewart have sacrificed immeasurable opportunities for economic benefits and jobs to achieve the results that are presented in the plan presented this week.

“It’s the best that could be achieved under the circumstances, and as such signifies a new beginning,” he said. “And it provides more economic certainty. We expect that this plan will be honoured and respected by all parties in the interests of the people who have the greatest stake in the plan, the people who live and work there.

“The next challenge will be the implementation of the plan, and we look forward to seeing that the interests of all coastal peoples are given consideration in this process.”