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‘Round table’ setting future Crown land plan

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The Boreal West Round Table will hear public presentations on the future of natural resources and resource management on Crown lands Sept. 11 from 7-9 p.m. at the Fort Frances Legion.

With eight meetings and a “bombardment of paper” under his belt, round table member Jack Hedman admitted the group still had a lot of work ahead of them before they submit their final recommendations to Natural Resources minister Chris Hodgson next April.

“We’re going through a lot of the nitty-gritty,” said Hedman, who said he gained a seat because the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters were assured one on each of the three round tables set up across the province.

“It’s a big, big job,” he added.

Paul Jewiss of Fort Frances also is sitting on this round table.

“This land belongs to all of the people of Ontario,” noted Leo Bernier, former chairman of the Boreal West round table who abruptly resigned yesterday.

“We are working on behalf of citizens everywhere in Ontario, and we will work to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to provide meaningful input,” he pledged.

Hodgson introduced the “Lands for Life” program back in February in an effort to balance the long-term protection and use of the province’s natural resources.

Round table groups were set up for three ecological regions: Boreal West (here), Boreal East (Northeastern Ontario), and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence.

They will be looking at the forestry, tourism, parks, and fish and wildlife to maximize opportunities for Ontario residents while keeping in mind their sustainability.

“Renewable resources can be sustained. The only problem is we don’t have any policy in place for fish and wildlife," Hedman noted. "I’m hoping that could come out of this process.”

He added the new recommendations would update the ministry’s old District Land Use Guidelines and Strategic Land Use Guidelines.

The end product will be recommendation for a Regional Land Use Strategy that looks at the big picture for natural resource management in Northwestern Ontario.

Community meetings also are being held in Ignace and Sioux Lookout (Sept. 10); Sioux Narrows (Sept. 11); Atikokan (Sept. 12); Dryden (Sept. 15); Ear Falls and Red Lake (Sept. 22); Terrace Bay and Nipigon (Sept. 24); Geraldton (Sept. 29); Kenora (Oct. 6); and Thunder Bay (Oct. 27).

Anyone interested in making a 15-minute presentation can contact the Boreal West Round Table at 435 James St. S., Suite 221, Thunder Bay, Ont., P7E 6S8, or by phone at 1-807-475-1251.

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