Nfld. & Labrador

Province will not allow commercial cutting of Home Pond birch stand

Cabin owners at Home Pond got a win on Monday, as the province announced it will not allow a large birch stand to be harvested.

Former reserve not included in harvesting plans for next five years

Forestry Minister Steve Crocker, left, said the Home Pond birch stand will not be harvested. The news was welcomed by local cabin owners like Dennis Lannon, right. (Twitter/CBC)

Cabin owners at Home Pond got a win on Monday, as the province announced it will not allow a large birch stand to be cut down.

The provincial government had included the stand in a five-year management plan, which drew the ire of many cabin owners in the area, as well as a nutraceutical company tapping the trees for sap.

However, Forestry Minister Steve Crocker said the area is no longer included in any plan for harvesting in the next five years.

"At this current time, we're not going to be submitting the Home Pond area for environmental assessment with regards to commercial harvesting," Crocker told the Central Morning Show.

The land was formerly designated as a reserve by Corner Brook Pulp and Paper while under the company's control. 

Not flip-flopping, just the process, minister says

The forestry department did not change its mind, Crocker insisted, but rather let the normal process play out.

Many areas are included in management plans, prior to government officials getting out and speaking with locals and performing due diligence before submitting the area for environmental assessment.

"We heard the concerns of the cabin owners," he said. 

"We also met with a nutraceutical company that has an interest in this area. Under review, it was a decision not to include this in harvesting."

Crocker said government will look for better ways of advertising what areas are included in management plans.

All these people have a stake in it, and to be included, that would be very important.- Dennis Lannon

The minister will also work with the company hoping to harvest in an area to ensure it can meet its supply needs, and with local residents to find a long-term solution for the land. He did not rule out returning the land to reserve status.

 Dennis Lannon, a nearby cabin owner, was happy to hear the news.

"All these people have a stake in it, and to be included, that would be very important," he said. 

"Then we would know what's coming in our future. We're not kept guessing."

With files from the Central Morning Show