Councillor Manhas out of line with forestry comments
Regarding your Sept. 16, 2021, article: “More balanced approach is needed in forestry discussions, advocate tells council.”
This article is based on a presentation to North Cowichan council by industry lobbyist Stewart Muir of Resource Works. Muir addressed the topic of logging generally in B.C. and did not present specifically on the 5,000-hectare municipal forest reserve.
However, the headline and comments by Councillor Tek Manhas may leave the impression that Muir was speaking about the forest reserve and the ongoing consultation process asking the general public and First Nations for their vision of the reserve.
Manhas voted in favour of the consultation process and should keep an open mind on the future of the forest reserve until the process is concluded rather than using his position to champion yet more industrial logging of our backyard.
He insults the electorate by making up his mind long before the process is concluded. He is the only councillor who has voted in favour of logging the reserve during the consultation.
In the article, Manhas also falsely accuses UBC forestry officials — whom the municipality hired to help provide advice — with lobbying in favour of carbon credits. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was sixmountains.ca that contacted one such official for an update on the issue of carbon credits since the public consultation had been stalled for a year.
It is also important to note that North Cowichan is currently conducting a review of Manhas’s conduct under the Council Policy Standards of Conduct as it pertains to his dealings with Muir.
Two citizens complained separately to the municipality about Manhas after reading an article published by sixmountains.ca based on freedom-of-information documents.
That article revealed that Muir wrote Manhas’s motion asking Muir to speak before council.
Manhas said in an email to Muir: “If you agree please send me a motion that would do Justice to your organization and the sane people of North Cowichan.”
Council’s Standards of Conduct policy requires councillors to treat the public with dignity, show sensitivity around comments and language that may be perceived as derogatory, and value the role of diverse perspectives and debate in decision making.