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B.C. Greens release plan to strengthen community self-reliance

October 08, 2020

SHAWNIGAN LAKE B.C. – Sonia Furstenau, Leader of the B.C. Greens, released the party’s platform to strengthen community resilience. The platform includes policies to improve food security, adapt to climate change, to protect drinking water and ensure our forests are managed sustainably and for the benefit of local communities.

“COVID-19 has made it clear how vulnerable our communities are to sudden shocks,” said Furstenau. 

“We need to look at the changes on the horizon and make sure B.C. communities are strong enough to weather them. By taking action now, we can make ourselves resilient to the inevitable changes we will experience in coming years, while also creating jobs and opportunities for British Columbians. We can make sure we are managing our resources sustainably and responsibly so that our communities derive maximum value from them now, and so that British Columbians can enjoy their benefits and security for generations to come.

Food security 

We will Create a Food Secure B.C. strategy to make B.C. agriculture more climate resilient, improve local food security and support local agricultural producers. 

  • Establish a long-term food sustainability strategy for the province to decrease reliance on increasingly unreliable import supply chains and diversify farming in BC.

  • Recognizing income and regional disparities in food insecurity across BC, work to enhance access to high quality, healthy food for low-income British Columbians

  • Supporting local processing of agricultural products.

  • Incentivize small-scale farms to adopt technologies to increase low-carbon and hyperlocal farming.

  • Identify options to make farming a more attractive and lucrative endeavour e.g. by approving micro licences for cannabis cultivation.

  • Expand the area of land under food production and create a publicly owned agricultural land bank available to lease by new farmers

  • Restrict foreign ownership of ALR land.

  • Incentivize agro-ecological farming practices such as regenerative farming.

  • Protect and restore B.C.'s wild fish populations and support the use of sustainable selective fishing methods.

Climate adaptation

  • Build capacity in communities so they can respond safely and effectively to extreme weather and natural disasters - and so they can recover quickly when the threat has passed

  • Protect communities from wildfires and flooding through landscape level, ecologically-centred, forest management and fuel treatment projects.

  • Increase the resilience of regional ecosystems by restoring habitats and protecting biodiversity.

Forestry 

Reform forestry management in BC so that it serves the long-term needs of local communities and supports a truly sustainable industry, where community and ecosystem values are the primary focus of management.

Take back control of our forests from major corporations, ensuring forestry is meeting the needs of local communities. 

  • Reinstate government authority in decision-making at provincial and local levels, beginning with  enhancing the authority of district managers to refuse or amend permits.

  • Begin a process of tenure reform to redistribute tenures from a few major companies and grow  the proportion of tenures held by first nations and community forests. 

  • Establish a forester general position, an officer of the legislature who is non-partisan and reports to the House annually.

  • Establish a Chief Biologist as counterpart to the Chief Forester to ensure multiple values are adequately incorporated into timber supply analysis.

  • Enhance capacity in FLNRO and establish more community based Ministry of Forests staff, to support the sustainable management of local forest resources and provide well-paying community jobs.

Manage our forests holistically, for all the values they hold. 

  • Shift the management framework through reforming legislation, away from an exclusive focus on timber supply to managing for all the values that our forests hold.

  • Adopt a wider variety of logging practices, including selective logging and longer stand rotations.

  • Undertake landscape-level ecosystem-based planning, reforestation and restoration in partnership with local communities and First Nations.

  • Protect communities from wildfires and flooding through landscape level, ecologically-centred, forest management and fuel treatment projects.

  • Restore government capacity to ensure forest stewardship, monitoring and enforcement, and enhance funding for forest inventory research and primary research.

Protect our remaining high value old growth forests forever. 

  • Immediately move to fully implement the recommendations of the old growth review panel in partnership with First Nations. This includes:

    • An immediate end to the logging of old growth forests in high risk ecosystems across the province.

    • Enacting legislation that establishes conservation of ecosystem health and biodiversity of BC’s forests as an overarching priority.

  • Establish funding mechanisms to support the preservation of our old growth forests.

Generate more jobs and revenue from what we harvest. 

  • Ensure that small producers have access to fibre and incentivize value-added product innovation, including non-traditional uses of wood fibre including bio fuels, and productive uses of residual fibre.

  • Apply the carbon tax to slash-pile burning to reduce carbon emissions from our forestry sector and ensure that we use residual materials. 

  • Put an end to raw log exports. 

  • Ensure the benefits of B.C. resource flow to local communities by directly sharing more resource revenues with local First Nations, municipalities, and regional districts.

  • Better support forestry workers and communities, including through expanding investments into retraining and support finding new job opportunities. 

  • Investigate opportunities to diverse milling and secondary manufacturing to better use existing timber

  • Promote more sustainable development of forest resources, including investing in tourism opportunities and low-carbon economies.

Water quality 

We must recognize that access to clean water is a human right and ensure B.C. communities have long-term, reliable, and equitable access to clean water. 

  • Creating a dedicated Watershed Security Fund that will create sustainable jobs in communities across BC in watershed restoration, monitoring, technology, training, and education.

  • Conducting comprehensive watershed planning in conjunction with First Nations, communities, government agencies,  stewardship organizations and industry and, including watersheds as part of a landscape-level ecosystem-based management approach to development.

  • Implementing the Water Sustainability Act to secure the environmental flows needed to sustain healthy and functioning rivers, lakes and watersheds.

  • Working with local governments, school districts and other stakeholders to upgrade municipal infrastructure and replace household pipes through grants and incentives.

  • Exploring science-based solutions to reduce water acidity.

  • Implementing a ban on fracking, a chemical-intensive process that has been shown to contaminate freshwater, trigger earthquakes, leak methane, and poses an unacceptable risk to human health.

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