Mar 12, 2013 / 4:54 pm
The BC government has backed off on a plan that critics said would have sold out public control over Crown forest land.
Forests Minister Steve Thomson says he's withdrawn proposed changes to the Forest Act that would have allowed volume-based forest licences to be converted to area-based forest licences, essentially giving private companies more power over government-owned land.
Thomson says it's become clear more public input is needed on the idea, so the government will conduct broad consultations this summer on the recommendations of a special committee that first proposed the change.
That means nothing will be done until after the May election.
NDP forests critic Norm Macdonald welcomed Thomson's move.
"The proposed changes were deeply problematic and went in exactly the wrong direction," MacDonald said in a news release.
"They threatened public control over BC's land base and risked hard-won environmental standards.
"I'm glad to see that the minister listened, not only to what I had to say, but to the concerns of thousands of British Columbians who let the Liberal government know that this was simply unacceptable."
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