In a recent e-mail, the Ministry of Forests states that, “B.C. Timber Sales has been in continued contact with Cherry Ridge Management Committee for input into final operational plans.”
But while the agency is confident that it has consulted fully with Cherryville residents over proposed logging on Cherry Ridge, the words ring hollow.
If the government was truly interested in working with the residents and addressing concerns about possible landslides, it would have delayed any action on the ridge until the community had completed geological and hydrological studies the Regional District of North Okanagan is paying for.
Instead, BCTS has pushed ahead with construction of the logging road and is preparing to auction three blocks for harvesting this fall. What this says is that BCTS is not interested in co-operation with the residents and no further information will get it to budge from its standpoint that the slope is safe and logging presents no risk to residents in the valley below.
And nobody can fault the residents for being concerned as there is a history of slides in the area, including one in 2012, which occurred next to two of the timber blocks up for sale.
In the end, the community’s studies may show that the future potential risk for slides is minimal and BCTS has done its homework. However, one has to question why there is such a rush to sell timber licenses. Is the government that desperately in need of cash that delaying the process to fully alleviate public concerns would create challenges?
The right thing would be for BCTS to put its activities on hold until Cherryville has wrapped up its studies this year.