Parks Settlement Agreement -- MacMillan Bloedel
NEGOTIATED AGREEMENT REACHED WITH MACMILLAN BLOEDEL ON VANCOUVER ISLAND
Reference # 1999:027 * Released on Mar 16, 1999 *
VICTORIA After a year of tough negotiations, the B.C. government has reached an
agreement with MacMillan Bloedel to resolve the company's loss of harvesting rights due to
the creation of new parks on Vancouver Island in the mid-1990s.
MacMillan Bloedel will receive resource rights and land from the province worth
$83.75 million, the negotiated value of MB's forgone cutting rights covering about six
million cubic metres of timber. The specific lands to be transferred have yet to be
identified but may include release of MacMillan Bloedel's private land from tree farm
licences 39 and 44 and/or transfer of Crown parcels to MacMillan Bloedel as private
property. These parcels may be drawn from Crown lands within the E&N Belt on eastern
Vancouver Island or from Crown land under existing MB tenures. The total amount of public
and private forest land involved will represent less than one per cent of B.C.'s
commercial forest land base.
"This creative solution allows government to meet its conservation goals while
remaining responsible to the taxpayers of British Columbia," said Forests Minister
David Zirnhelt. "I applaud MB's progressive attitude toward forestry and expect the
company to manage any new private land in the same progressive manner."
MB president Tom Stephens emphasized the company's commitment to follow its new corporate
forest policy on all public and private forest lands managed by MB, including those in
"Our forest management policies require the phasing out of all clearcutting over the
next five years, increased conservation of old growth and independent validation of our
forest practices through certification," said Stephens. "In addition, the
agreement demonstrates to the North American investment community that government and
industry in British Columbia can work through complex issues when there is good faith on
"Some spectacular parks have acquired for the benefit of all British
Columbians," said Environment Minister Cathy MacGregor. "These include Clayoquot
Sound, additions to Strathcona Park, Carmanah Pacific, Tsitika, Tahsish-Kwois, Brooks
Peninsula and Nitinat River."
The agreement also defines the process to select and appraise the lands to be transferred
to MB. The first step is to identify parcels of land in MB's operating areas, which will
then be evaluated by the province. The province will consult with First Nations, as per
the Delgamuukw decision, and other stakeholders before selecting lands suitable for
transfer. These lands will be independently appraised to determine their worth.
In September, 1997, MacMillan Bloedel filed a lawsuit against the province stating that
newly created parks had affected their harvesting right. The lawsuit will be dropped once
all conditions of the agreement are met.
"Coming to this agreement with MacMillan Bloedel meets our longstanding commitment to
pay fair compensation for these parks," said Zirnhelt.
Victoria lawyer David Perry will lead the consultation process. Perry is noted for
bringing stakeholders together in 1996 to develop a preservation plan for the Greater
Victoria watershed. Consultation will be done over the next three months.
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