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General News · 12th January 2012
Delores Broten
by Joyce Nelson

Most of BC’s public land forests, and all of BC’s private land forests, are owned by two huge companies, known as TAM and BAM [see diagram]. TAM is Third Avenue Management of New York, and BAM is Brookfield Asset Management, based in Toronto.

As Briony Penn wrote for Focus Magazine (Feb. 2011), “Look out your window anywhere from Crofton to Sooke and you’ll be gazing at a piece of real estate owned in some fashion by BAM or TAM … [which] form a many-headed hydra that has been devouring most of the private forest lands on southeast Vancouver Island.”

BAM is parent company of Island Timberlands, which plans to log 2,700 hectares of Cortes Island forestlands. So far, BAM has refused to sell the land at appraised value to Wildstands, an alliance of Cortes citizens which aims to protect Cortes’ ecosystem. Logging and protests on Cortes are scheduled to begin in January.

BAM is far more than a real-estate giant, however. In July 2011, the BC Liberals finalized a 30-year agreement with a consortium led by BAM subsidiary Brookfield Financial Corp. to finance, build and maintain a $90 million private prison in Surrey, BC.

BAM is also invested in several run-of-river IPP (independent power producer) projects on the BC Coast, and the company is considered by some to be eyeing the Site C dam project, with an interest in its construction and financing. Several of BAM’s corporate directors are involved in tar sands development through Syncrude Canada Ltd. and other firms.

In September 2011, BAM announced that it is merging its hydro and wind assets with its Brookfield Renewable Power Fund, to create a massive, $13 billion new subsidiary called Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners L.P. The Globe & Mail (Sept. 14) reported that “the scope of the new company will outstrip all other Canadian-based green energy players.”

As events and forces move toward “energy convergence” and water privatization, Brookfield Asset Management is well-positioned, particularly in Alberta. BAM director James K. Gray is a member of the Alberta Premier’s Council for Economic Strategy, which is pushing for a deregulated water-market.

Amended and updated January 14th:

BAM is parent company of Island Timberlands, which owns almost 2,700 acres of Cortes Island forestlands. The commencement of logging planned for January now appears to be delayed for more community consultation. So far, BAM has refused to sell one parcel of the land at appraised value to the Regional District.

From Watershed Sentinel January/February, 2012