EDITORIAL: BCTS must avoid convict

Has B.C. Timber Sales been watching the ongoing protests faced by Kinder Morgan in Burnaby?

One has to wonder if B.C. Timber Sales has been watching the ongoing protests faced by Kinder Morgan in Burnaby?

If it has, then the government agency should clearly recognize the negative publicity that can occur when residents upset over a project are willing to have themselves arrested. It makes for great headlines.

Given what is happening in Burnaby, you would think BCTS would want to avoid a similar conflict over its proposed road and logging on Cherry Ridge in Cherryville.

“It’s certainly been discussed and some people are keen to do that,” said Hank Cameron, Cherryville’s new regional district director, of residents possibly blocking construction crews.

Even if BCTS is completely within its mandate to construct a road and sell timber rights, nothing good can come out of a dispute with the community. It could cost significant dollars if the matter proceeds to court, and certainly hard feelings will be left in Cherryville.

With road construction barely started, now is the time for BCTS to back off and enter into dialogue with the community. No one is opposed to logging, but they want assurances that harvesting won’t trigger a slide in the valley below. BCTS should let residents proceed with a watershed assessment and the agency should release reports from a 2012 slide. If BCTS is correct and there is no risk to residents, then those documents should be public.

With snow impacting progress of the road and logging not anticipated until next fall, BCTS has time to get involved in constructive and open dialogue.

Unfortunately if that doesn’t occur, Cherry Ridge could become another Burnaby Mountain.