A $4.75-million increase in silviculture operations on Crown land will be providing about 300 additional jobs for New Brunswickers this year, Natural Resources Minister Wally Stiles announced on April 14.
“Silviculture is an important long-term investment in ensuring a sustainable wood supply and a strong forestry industry that will contribute to a self-sufficient New Brunswick,” said Stiles. “Investing in silviculture makes good sense for the long-term wood supply in our province and good sense for shovel-ready jobs now, when New Brunswickers need them.”
Stiles made these remarks while tabling in the legislature the 2009-10 ordinary account budget estimates for the Department of Natural Resources. This year’s budget is $85.6 million, up from $81.4 million in 2008-09.
Almost $32.25 million will be invested in silviculture on Crown and private woodlots in 2009-10, including $2 million from the Regional Development Corporation for private woodlots.
An additional $300,000 will be invested in silviculture operations in sugar bush stands on private woodlots and Crown land.
The department will invest $750,000 to develop and implement the NB e-Claims system so that all mineral claim staking can be done online.
Last June, the provincial government suspended ground claim-staking. It did so in response to concerns from landowners about the right of prospectors to go on their properties without telling them to stake mineral claims.
Claim-staking resumed in November following the development of an interim system whereby prospectors select can claim units on a map-based grid system and apply by fax for the right to undertake exploration.
The interim system will remain in place until the new online system starts on Jan. 1, 2010.
“The new e-claims system will be an automated system providing the ability to stake a claim in New Brunswick from anywhere in the world using the Internet,” said Stiles. “This system will modernize the province’s process for mineral claim staking and will create greater administrative efficiencies for government and industry.”
The department’s budget includes $250,000 for the implementation and administration of agreements with First Nations to harvest timber on Crown land for domestic purposes. The Supreme Court of Canada has affirmed the right of First Nations to harvest wood for domestic purposes.
“The Government of New Brunswick respects this right and is working with First Nations in our province to develop harvesting agreements related to domestic purposes, including harvesting wood for fuel wood, for crafts and for lumber to build their own homes,” said Stiles.