LETTER: Change overdue in forestry practices

Published on March 8, 2017

I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, but that's because the record is broken!

The reporting of Lloyd Hines, Minister of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), speaking to the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce last Thursday is an example of our government leading from the top - down.

I always thought that governments were there to carry out the wishes of the people. Not anymore, I guess.

About 10 years ago, DNR had Voluntary Planning conduct a series of meetings around the province asking Nova Scotians what they wanted to see in a natural resources policy. You may remember this was held at the Museum of Industry here in Pictou County. The result of this province-wide survey was that the majority of attendees wanted to see a change in the status quo of forestry in this province. The people aren't impressed with the state of our forests and rightly so. The industry's reliance on clear-cutting (over 85 per cent of all harvesting) is rapidly depleting this resource, releasing carbon into the atmosphere and causing the loss of important soil nutrients, particularly nitrogen. I'm not calling for any mill closures as my livelihood as a woodlot owner and operator would obviously be affected, but I agree with a change in practices and said so to Voluntary Planning.

It turns out that a majority of people telling the government very clearly what they want doesn't carry much weight with our elected officials. Ten-plus years after this exercise started, there has been much foot dragging and gnashing of teeth to bring us to today. The status quo is firmly entrenched and now the Minister gives us his version of DNR's (and I suspect industry's) "vision." Why are we letting this happen? Obviously people care; it looks like the government doesn't though.

We have a provincial election coming soon, let's remember that a change may be helpful.

Tom Miller

Green Hill