Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Premier makes preparations for a Haida Gwaii experience

Fuel up the executive jet, the Premier is about to hit the road.

Premier Gordon Campbell will make the journey to Haida Gwaii on Thursday, attending a luncheon to celebrate the signing of a land use agreement between the province and Council of the Haida Nation.

Background on the agreement and details of the Premier’s visit to the Queen Charlottes were part of Tuesday’s Daily News.
Gordon Campbell heading for Islands
By Leanne Ritchie
The Daily News
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Page one

Premier Gordon Campbell will visit Skidegate on Thursday and attend a luncheon in celebration of the signing of the historic land use agreement between the province and the Council of the Haida Nation.

The land use agreement was formally signed by Guujaaw, president of the Council of the Haida Nation and the premier in Vancouver on Dec. 12 after many years of negotiation and land use uncertainty on the Queen Charlotte Islands.

Highlights of the agreement include a commitment to an economic timber opportunity of at least 800,000 cubic metres per year, to ensure continuation of sustainable forestry operations, and an agreement to develop a process that will inform the determination of the long-term timber supply for Haida Gwaii.

There will also be new protected areas to reflect ecological, cultural conservation, spiritual and recreation purposes, totaling 254,000 hectares to be managed collaboratively with the province. The new areas equal 25.3 per cent of the total land base and, with the Gwaii Haanas, Naikoon and other existing protected areas, bring the total protected area on the islands to about 50 per cent, which is nearly equivalent to the size of Prince Edward Island.

The agreement also establishes the forging of an economic development understanding (EDU) among all Islands communities. Completed by local government leaders, this additional agreement outlines a common set of economic development priorities and an Islands-wide economic development approach.

The agreement provides for a number of key implementation steps within the next 24 months, including more detailed forest planning to address cultural cedar values, coastal zone planning and protected area management planning. Included in the plan is an agreement with the province to ensure no net job loss because of new land use designation.

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