Officials want forestry input

Rural politicians say there isn't sufficient consultation over logging plans

Some politicians insist communities are being left in the dark over logging.

Members of the Electoral Area Advisory Committee say adequate consultation is lacking when the Ministry of Forests and forest companies move ahead with harvesting plans.

“They give us a forest service plan and it’s already past deadline for comment and there’s maps we can’t read,” said Jackie Pearase, rural Enderby director.

Pearase says another challenge is documents are often sent out via e-mail or through websites and that poses a challenge in some rural areas.

“Two of them (her advisory planning committee  volunteers) don’t even have Internet,” she said.

Pearase admits, though, that not all of the issues are with the ministry and some may rest with the Regional District of North Okanagan office, which  initially receives the forest plan details.

“If the regional district (staff) is waiting to write its reports before the information goes to the APC, it’s partly their problem,” she said of public input being missed.

There’s a call for the ministry and forestry companies to improve communications with communities.

“We’re not asking for much,” said Pearase.

The other suggestion is for forestry officials to meet with EAAC.

“We would like them to come out once a year to discuss what they do — where the cutblocks are and if there are any concerns,” said Eugene Foisy, Cherryville director.