Timber agency draws criticism

The discussion was strained as rural politicians met face-to-face with a provincial agency

The discussion was strained as rural politicians met face-to-face with a provincial agency.

B.C. Timber Sales representatives were before the Electoral Area Advisory Committee Thursday, and director Hank Cameron raised the contentious issue of logging in Cherryville.

“I’d like to see the geotechnical report for the (2004) slide on North Fork Road,” he said.

That led to Colin Johnston, B.C. Timber Sales woodlands supervisor, saying, “Any information we have is public.”

However, Cameron wasn’t satisfied with Johnston’s response.

“We’ve never seen that report,” said Cameron, who is concerned about BCTS allowing future logging in the slide area.

“We’ve had to hire our own hydrologist because we don’t accept what you have (presented).”

But Johnston defended the process BCTS follows when it comes to allowing harvesting and the potential impact on slopes.

“We hire trained professionals,” he said.

During much of the presentation, BCTS staff insisted they consult with communities when deciding which sections of Crown land should be auctioned off for harvesting.

“We work best when we are communicating effectively with stakeholders,” said Johnston.

But it was pointed out to BCTS that it made the City of Vernon aware of potential logging in the BX and Cosens Bay although they are not in the city, but in the electoral areas.

“It made us feel like we were the last to be notified and there wasn’t meaningful consultation,” said Mike Macnabb, BX-Silver Star director, adding that harvesting can have an impact on communities, including water licenses.

“We’d like to see more up-front discussion.”

Johnston says his office is willing to work with the regional district.

“We happily share whatever information we have,” he said.

EAAC is hoping to receive support from other jurisdictions to make BCTS more transparent.

 

It wants the Southern Interior Local Government Association to lobby Victoria for improved communications between timber licensees on Crown land, local governments and affected private lands.