A controversial road is being blasted through the hill above them, but Cherryville residents aren’t staying silent.
Legal avenues continue to be pursued to stop B.C. Timber Sales’ construction of a road on Cherry Ridge while the Regional District of North Okanagan is establishing terms of reference for studies on slope stability and riparian zone management.
“This is background information that’s pertinent to the project,” said Hank Cameron, Cherryville’s electoral area director.
“This is the kind of work BCTS should have done.”
Residents are concerned that the road and eventual logging could trigger landslides and negatively impact properties in the valley bottom.
The community has initiated a Freedom of Information request for Ministry of Forests reports into a 2012 slide in the area.
“It’s a very similar circumstance,” said Cameron.
The ministry has defended development a road on Cherry Ridge by BCTS, a government agency.
“BCTS has completed third-party professional assessments on terrain stability and hydrology, and have had the road professionally designed. BCTS is satisfied that these plans are appropriate to address all of the values,” states the ministry.
“If the community is unsatisfied and wants to complete other assessments to evaluate their own interests, then they can do those assessments. BCTS will evaluate all professional information provided as BCTS has indicated to the community on many occasions.”
Cameron anticipates the community studies will proceed in early 2015.
“This is the kind of information we require when industry is working above private land and BCTS should pay attention to what’s going on socially and environmentally and not just economics only,” he said.
Eric Foster, Vernon-Monashee MLA, is confident any concerns about slides have been addressed.
“The slope stability and riparian work was done by BCTS and outside professionals have signed off on it,” he said.
“The community wants to do more (studies) and if it comes up with something different, there will be a discussion.”