Terra Nova MHA and Town of Port Blandford at odds over clearcutting issue
Social media comments fired back-and-forth between Mayor and MHA
As citizens in Port Blandford continue their lobby against clearcutting in their area, discord has brewed between the town council and Terra Nova MHA Colin Holloway.
In a Facebook post on March 27, MHA Holloway cited his disappointment with the committee against clearcutting and the town.
In his post on social media, MHA Holloway says he’s been working to help find a solution, but has been met with “ridicule and political backlash.”
The MHA is also a resident of Port Blandford.
Since February, a local committee and the town have been fighting to prevent planned clearcutting around and in the community in zone 2, including the Southwest River Valley. They’ve met with the minister of the Department of Fisheries and Land Resources Gerry Byrne and are proposing alternatives to clearcutting.
The community is planning to rezone a large area slated for cutting within town boundaries as recreational so that cutting will only be allowed under permitted use.
Amongst his other complaints on his Facebook post the MHA noted: the town has actually been aware of the impending cutting plans and are now changing their tune; the rezoning plan is going to take longer than led to believe by council; and council cannot “supersede provincial law.”
The MHA’s social media post prompted Port Blandford Mayor Chad Holloway and the town to issue a news release in response.
In the March 28 release, Mayor Holloway called the MHA’s statements “misleading, inaccurate and irresponsible.”
Mayor Holloway says the town council never denied knowing about the planned cutting, but they did not know the extent of the harvesting proposed.
“The Town has been engaged with the forest management planning process for over 20 years as the 2017-21 five-year operating plan is the fifth management plan approved by Council. For decades, the Town of Port Blandford has supported small-scale cutting in the Southwest River … In developing these plans, the Town has always advocated against large scale clear-cutting in the community and has always asked that the viewscapes around the community be protected,” the mayor stated in his release.
In an interview with The Packet last Thursday, MHA Holloway said he’s been working on the clearcutting issue since it was brought to his attention in February.
According to the MHA, the matter, in terms of planning and correspondence, goes back to early 2016 and the town did not take action against clearcutting until local citizens raised concerns this year.
The MHA says council’s previous concerns were allayed last year when they viewed previous maps provided by government, as long as there was no conflict