South Island Visual Quality Objective Changes

What was this engagement about?
Over the coming months, the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (the Ministry), proposes to amend currently established visual quality objectives (VQOs) on Lasqueti Island and to establish new VQOs near Mt. Wesley (in the vicinity of Cameron Lake, Horne Lake and Spider Lake) through a new government actions regulation (GAR) order. VQOs define the acceptable level of visual change for specific areas of Crown land outlined within a GAR order. The Ministry has developed proposed VQOs following recent information gathering that has resulted in improvements to the accuracy of Visual Landscape Inventory data.

The Government of British Columbia is entrusted with managing visual impacts on Crown forest land in collaboration with First Nations, agreement holders, the public and stakeholders. VQOs are established and managed through GAR orders and amendments to guide forest management activities under the Forest and Range Practices Act (FRPA). Once a VQO has been established, forest companies that prepare Forest Stewardship Plans are required through regulation to be consistent with the VQO.

The proposed VQO changes, based on improved inventory data, included consideration of the following information:

  • Existing visual condition: the present level of landscape alteration caused by human activity;
  • Visual absorption capacity: the landscape’s ability to maintain its visual integrity while being altered;
  • Biophysical rating: a measure of the degree to which the biophysical characteristics of a Visual Sensitivity Unit creates visual interest and draws peoples’ attention. Viewing condition: viewing distance, frequency of viewers, duration, and angle;
  • Viewer rating: the number of viewers and viewer expectations or concerns; and
  • Visual sensitivity class: the overall sensitivity of the forest landscape to visual alteration.

Section 1.1 of the Forest Planning and Practices Regulation under FRPA defines five classes of VQOs: Preservation, Retention, Partial Retention, Modification, and Maximum Modification.  Overall, the proposed objectives on Lasqueti Island would result in an additional 16 hectares (ha) of Preservation-classified area, an additional 1,233 ha of Retention-classified area, and an additional 343 ha of Partial Retention-classified area compared to the currently established VQOs.  In the Mt. Wesley area, the proposed VQOs would result in an additional 2,511 ha in Retention-classified area and an additional 1,238 ha of Partial Retention-classified area compared to the currently established objectives.

How will my contribution make a difference?
We recognize the importance of visual quality to your community and look forward to hearing your perspectives on the proposed changes. All written comments will be documented and considered. A summary of comments received will be kept on file and available upon request.

In addition to consulting with the public, the Ministry will consult directly with First Nations, stakeholders, and agreement holders

For more information, please contact Graham Wells, at Ph: 250-736-6888, Fax: 250-731-3010 or by e-mail:
Details of the Engagement:

Date: December 22, 2020 to February 16, 2021

Status: Closed

Location: Vancouver Island – Coast

Category: Natural Resources

Types: Email, Mail, Fax