Public Consultation Summary Report - Summary of Results

Stakeholder Focus Groups

West Northfield

Date and location of session
April 4, 2013, Northfield District Fire Hall

Number of participants
18 Participants; see list of stakeholders in attendance and additional invited at end of document

Facilitator’s comments about the session
There were 18 people representing 15 stakeholder groups in attendance at the session out of approximately 39 invited. There was a good mix of stakeholder groups comprising of representatives from municipalities (including a Mayor and Deputy Mayor), the forest industry, a research group, recreation groups, chamber of commerce, among others. People from the same organization were encouraged to sit at different tables to allow for a diversity of views to be represented in the discussions. Three tables were set up for discussions. Participants were engaged and came up with a number of ideas with some tables deciding on some priority points to put forth. Feedback on the session was positive and one participant expressed his appreciation of the format and for the opportunity to provide input.

West Northfield Stakeholder Comments

Question 1
How can we best use the 1.5 million acres of Crown land and the associated resources in the Western Region to most beneficially and sustainably grow and diversify Nova Scotia's economy?

Broad Policy (8)

  • Need to prioritise what land capabilities allow – how to keep all stakeholders happy. Need system to prioritise – should be transparent + inclusive
  • Diversity! eg. Experimental tourism, conservation holidays, mushrooms
  • Research and education
  • Flexibility to evolve management regime to address threats or opportunities (consultation required)
  • Real multi-use. These objectives can be complimentary no need to prioritize
  • holistic management approach using GPI (Genuine Progress Index), lifestyle/economy. “multi-value forestry look at global standards. ie “Europe”
  • Room for mining/farming based on excellent global principals. ie no water runoff, land reclamation, respect for communities
  • Education/research close to communities (wood 1st policies, carbon tax/ tax credit for building with wood approach #1)

Recreation/tourism/Access (5)

  • Access: should include multiple use but be policed; respect resource and other users. Use zonation (seasonal/) and permits/gate keepers to control and generate revenue and jobs
  • Recreation (motorized/non-motorized, hunting, angling, canoeing, hiking etc.)
  • Tourism and outfitting
  • Maintenance of road infrastructure to enable controlled access
  • Recreation/controlled/monitored)

Economic Development/ Employment (5)

  • Need to manage, to create year round jobs
  • Could be made up from multiple seasonal employments.
  • Marketing is key. Local branding for both tourism and (wood products, environmental FSC, shouldn’t undercut private woodlot owners)
  • Other commercial activities (farming, mining, etc. wind farms)
  • Natural agriculture ie. blueberries, sugar maple

Protection/Environmental Issues (3)

  • Ecological area management and biodiversity
  • Water quality (Watershed management)
  • Remediation of acid rain, etc

Forestry (2)

  • Sustainable management for a wide range of purposes including commercial forestry (3rd party)
  • The best productive land should be retained for forestry

Question 2
What activities would be the most effective use of Crown land in the Western Region that would generate the most sustainable economic, social and environmental benefits for your community and Nova Scotia? Where would you locate these activities on these Crown lands?

Broad Policy (12)

  • Diversity: mushrooms, fir tips, Christmas trees, blueberries, cranberries, medicinal
  • Certain activities are compatible – clump them together e.g. protected areas/ or low impact harvesting
  • Spread around crown lands so all areas have multiple uses.
  • Activities need to be located on a site specific basis according to the best use
  • How to implement oversight and responsibility
  • Stakeholder engagement in implementation of the plan
  • Education so communities know benefits of multi-use management
  • Education so youth know about potential opportunities
  • Location/ proximity to community may determine whether activity is appropriate (farming, vs. wind farm)
  • Economic/socioeconomic study required to determine impact on families/ communities (JOBS)
  • Balanced management decisions based on all reasonable perspectives
  • Periodic review to see if meeting objectives. Enables/ address changing

Economic Development / Employment (6)

  • Need to create jobs. We’ve lost a lot of our youth, for all education levels. Quality of life is important
  • Innovation: eg Innovacorp, Research “Wood University” and promotion innovative wood products and wood marketing
  • Seasonal diversity to local jobs
  • Need more value added
  • Prefer activities – year round jobs
  • Any resources taken from lands to be used for highest and best use. (value added)

Forestry (4)

  • Lumber/forestry industry is key. Should not exceed AAC. Improve forest stock
  • Ecosystem based forestry. Grow what the lands allows you to grow
  • Productive land – harvesting sustainability
  • For example, areas of high capability for growing trees should generally be used for sustainable forestry

Recreation/tourism/Access (3)

  • Recreation: hunting + fishing – done sustainably (Lime dosing to improve fishing in future)
  • Hiking/ outdoor recreation
  • Recreation activities close to existing communities analyze existing trails

Agriculture/Resource Extraction (2)

  • Mining, stick to high global standards
  • Agriculture (natural ie. sugar maple, medicinal plants located throughout province)

Energy (1)

  • Wind power – on appropriate scale away from habitation – will generate some revenue for local communities

Resource Extraction (1)

  • Mining: has to be done in a way that doesn’t harm environment

Question 3
What other points do you feel are the most important for the Department to consider as it develops the land and resource management plan?

Broad Policy (10)

  • Keep dialogue ongoing in the future
  • Once produced initial report – consult again to make sure no mistakes before finalising decisions/ policy
  • Get consensus + follow up on recommendations, quickly.
  • Need to have responsive system! Don’t make people wait for feedback
  • Education should be big part of the process so that there is better respect for the resource
  • Ensure that land (minus existing protected lands) is used and managed for highest valued resources (sustainable)
  • Departments (Agriculture, fisheries, DNR, tourism) need to communicate re those lands
  • Educate “urban minced folks” to the value of harvesting forests (sustainability)
  • Make sure all information is inclusive and that no-one has been over looked
  • Some thought about the process for resolving potential conflicting interests/ uses. (dispute settlement mechanism)

Protection (3)

  • Put health of forest and waterways (wetlands) first. (including drinking water)
  • Crown lands need to be protected against fire, insect disease.
  • Mitigation in wilderness areas some of the proposed natured reserves must have management plans preferably community based i.e. Carters Beach/Spectacle Island

Forestry (1)

  • First priority- give value to historical sustainable industry. ie forestry

Economic Development / Employment (1)

  • Get people working a.s.a.p. – don’t be scared of making some mistakes

Additional Stakeholder Submissions

Additional material from stakeholders was received by DNR and is currently being reviewed.