Public Involvement Processcpazarka2022-09-23T08:54:29-06:00
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Spray Lake Sawmills’ (SLS) forest operations occur along the foothills from west of Sundre and south to the Crowsnest Pass. Operations are conducted under two Forest Management Agreements, one covering the B12 Forest Management Unit in the north and the C5 Forest Management Unit in the south of our operating area.
We operate our business on the traditional territory of the Treaty 7 Nations, including the Blackfoot First Nation tribes of the Piikani, Siksika, and the Kainai, the Stoney Nakoda First Nations tribes of Chiniki, Bearspaw, and Wesley and the Tsuut’ina First Nation. The area is also the homeland to the historic Northwest Métis and to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3.
SLS operates on Crown lands and people have the right to be involved in decisions affecting them. Interested and affected communities, groups and individuals have local knowledge and expertise that can improve how our operations are conducted.
Our promise is to keep people informed, listen to and acknowledge concerns and aspirations and provide feedback on how provided input influenced decisions. SLS’s consultation policy is to thoughtfully consider input and then provide a response that addresses concerns. Changes to a plan or operation as a result of input are recorded by SLS and communicated back to the community, groups or individual.
To achieve our objective, Spray Lake Sawmills maintains communication programs in each of the following areas:
First Nations Consultation
Public Public Education
Response to Information Requests
Communications with Stakeholders & Government Agencies
Collaborative Planning Sessions
Resource Management Workshops
Spray Lake Sawmills encourages anyone with an interest in our operations to contact us.
Collaborative Planning Sessions
After carefully considering the stakeholder comments from the June 11, 2013 Mixed Use Workshop , a three step, stakeholder collaborative harvest planning approach was initiated by the company in 2013.
Step 1: SLS facilitates interested parties to develop preliminary harvest designs on a forest compartment basis using GIS, the Detailed Forest Management Plan and the General Development Plan. This step provides stakeholders the opportunity to collaborate with SLS, prior to any field work or harvest plan submission to the government.
Step 2: If specific concerns are raised during step one, SLS will arrange a field tour with stakeholders to address specific concerns on the ground and make any needed mitigations etc. prior to any field work or harvest plan submission.
Step 3: SLS follows-up with participants showing how the collaborative planning work was used to develop draft final harvest plans. Stakeholders then have the opportunity to comment on the draft plans prior to harvest plan submission. SLS then follows up with stakeholders, posts the results from the session on the company website, writes the final harvest plan and submits it to the government.
Spray Lake Sawmills holds an annual open house during the first week of May, in both the Crowsnest Pass and Cochrane locations. The public is welcome to view the Woodlands General Development Plan, Five Year Access Plan, Final Harvest Plans and Annual Operating Plans. Participants are invited to provide input into the various stages of plan development. Knowledgeable staff is available to respond to comments or questions and record input.
As critical benchmarks are reached during planning processes, additional open houses may be held for stakeholders to review developments, ask questions and provide comments for further consideration.
Spray Lake Sawmills’ media plan includes the placement of information articles and advertisements in the local weekly newspapers. Topic areas include such things as health and safety, forest management practices and announcements. When Spray Lake Sawmills’ activities relate to other communities, articles are submitted to those local papers as well.
Spray Lake Sawmills’ website contains information about the company’s background, mission and various departments’ operations. It also provides a method of contacting the company via email.
SLS first established a Public Advisory Committee (PAC) in 1995 to assist in the development of a harvest plan for the McLean Creek Area. In 2001, SLS signed a Forest Management Agreement with the Province of Alberta. An integral component of the FMA is the Forest Management Plan (FMP). A requirement of FMP development was to have a meaningful public involvement process. SLS established a public advisory group in 2002 to help define FMP objectives, guide and coordinate public involvement activities and critique plan development. The committee’s mandate ended with the approval of the FMP in 2007. A new PAC was established in 2015, to help define FMP objectives, guide and coordinate public involvement activities and critique plan development for the 2021 FMP renewal.
Based on these past successes, SLS has established two standing Public Advisory Committees. For the northern, FMA operations, a PAC was established with the mandate “to act as a review panel and sounding board for the company’s monitoring program, provide feedback on development of the company’s operating ground rules, and provide advice on on-going stakeholder communications”. In the south, SLS established the Crowsnest Forest Products PAC with the mandate “To provide input with respect to ongoing plan development and the committees advice concerning public communications”.
PAC members have represented a broad spectrum of interests including:
Motorized and Non-motorized recreation
Oil and Gas
Fish and Game
To view the Terms of Reference, Committee membership and meeting notes for each of the PACs, please see side panel of this page.
Other Communication Tools
A variety of methods for accommodating public input have been evaluated and used by SLS over time. Communication tools need to be open, transparent and accessible. The key is to promote dialogue and appreciation for varying points of view.
Other communication tools considered include one on one meetings, surveys, questionnaires, focus groups and newsletters. Spray Lake Sawmills have selected several of these public involvement tools in the past to garner a more complete scope of public opinion and will continue to use the entire tool box. Tools are selected for their ability to:
Be effective and meaningful for the participants
Be time efficient in meeting strategic planning benchmarks
Be cost effective
Spray Lake Sawmills (1980) Ltd
Dispute Resolution Process
Spray Lake Sawmills operates under two different forms of tenure, a Forest Management Agreement (FMA) and a Coniferous Timber Quota (CTQ or quota). Both of these fall under provincial jurisdiction and are administered by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AAF). All of the company’s timber supply areas are located on Crown land.
Within the FMA, Spray Lake Sawmills has the right to manage the forest for the primary purpose of establishing, growing, harvesting and removing timber under the principles of sustainable forest management. The Minister reserves the right to manage the FMA landbase for other interests such as, hunting, fishing, recreation, fire control, wildlife, seasonal protection of roads, trapping, grazing and geophysical activities. (This is a brief paraphrasing of Section 8 of the FMA)
The province currently has defined dispute resolution processes in place to address issues between the forest industry and the grazing and trapping sectors. Disputes which may arise between Spray Lake Sawmills and other resource users or generalized stakeholders/members of the public have no provincially defined process for resolution, although it is generally recognized that AAF is the primary administrative body that will provide a ruling on landuse related issues.
Spray Lake Sawmills works openly and directly with interested parties to try and reach broad consensus before disputes arise. Initiating dispute resolution requires that the interested party has previously consulted with SLS on the matter, and that SLS has had a reasonable amount of time to address the concern. Initiating dispute resolution is only a last resort, when consultation efforts by both SLS and the interested party have been exhausted.
Dispute resolution includes the following steps:
A written request is submitted to SLS requesting dispute resolution as the interested party has previously consulted with SLS regarding the dispute and reached an impasse.
If step 1 is unsuccessful, the interested party will be asked to provide a written narrative supporting grounds to continue with dispute resolution.
Within 30 days of receipt of the written narrative, SLS will complete a written assessment in response to the interested party. If the evidence provided in the written narrative supports a corrective action, a corrective action plan will be developed with PAC input. The corrective action plan will be provided to the interested party within 30 days of the PAC review. If the written assessment finds corrective action is not warranted, the interested party will be provided the assessment along with notification that dispute resolution is closed.
Any dispute resolution records including CFP responses will be maintained as part of the public consultation record.
Public Consultation and Respect in the Workplace Policy
Spray Lake Sawmills has an established respect in the workplace policy that promotes an atmosphere of trust, teamwork, cooperation and respect. In the spirit of that policy, Spray Lakes Sawmills employees are required to discontinue consultation in the event of the public exhibiting threatening or abusive communication or behavior; making false accusations that serve to defame the company; or otherwise demonstrate consultation with Spray Lake Sawmills is not in good faith.
Main Office – Cochrane, AB
305 Griffin Road West, Cochrane, AB
Phone: (403) 932-2234
Fax: (403) 932-6675