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Howe Sound Pulp & Paper applying to consolidate several tenures

The application is open for commenting until Sept. 25
Howe Sound Pulp & Paper Corporation has applied to consolidate tenures for chip transportation.

Howe Sound Pulp & Paper Corporation (HSPP) has submitted an application for a disposition of Crown Land to consolidate some in-water and upland tenures for chip transportation.

According to the application to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD), HSPP intends to consolidate nine pre-existing log handling and storage tenures to continue chip transportation and unloading activities at the company’s Port Mellon site. HSPP’s current tenures have a variety of expiry dates, and the application notes four have expired and a fifth is set to expire in the first quarter of 2024. These tenures are used to receive and offload chips and temporarily store empty scows. 

HSPP began working on renewing some of the water lot leases in 2021, Blair Dickerson, HSPP’s vice president of public affairs, told Coast Reporter in an emailed statement. The leases, which are typically 25 years, were reaching the end of their terms.

The proposal will reduce the existing tenured areas by 53 per cent from the company’s current tenures for 17.8 hectares (ha) to a total of 8.14 ha to accommodate existing operations. 

“This streamlining and simplification will make future management of the land side and water side leases easier,” Dickerson said, adding that “Regular information sharing has been conducted with Indigenous organizations as directed through the consultative process of the BC government.”

In October 2021, HSPP sent an initial project notification letter to Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), Tsleil-Waututh Nation (TWN) and Musqueam Indian Band. Later in the process, they also consulted with Snuneymuxw First Nation. 

The change would also include an untenured foreshore area in part of Thornbrough Channel, called “the Wedge."  A DFO compensation area will also be included, but will remain inaccessible to mill operations. A tenure area next to the north side of Rainy River will be excluded and not renewed. The application would not include new in-water developments. 

“This arrangement will make tenure administration more efficient and predictable for both the presiding Ministry of Forests and HSPP,” the application states.

Along with “diligent continued use” of the tenures with a smaller lease footprint, the applicant lists “increased marine habitat protection on both north and south side of the tenure boundary” as an expected positive outcome. It also states there is “No additional environmental impact as no new development. Safe benign operations (chip unloading and empty scow storage) will continue with effective controls.”

Commenting on the application (Crown land file 2412570) will close on Sept. 25. As of Sept. 5, no decision has been made on the application. 

“We hope to receive a decision from the regulator by the end of 2024,” Dickerson said.

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