B.C. Timber Sales could certainly use some advice when it comes to avoiding conflict.
There’s no question the provincial agency has the right to proceed with construction of a logging road on Cherry Ridge near Cherryville. After all, its mandate is to capitalize on our natural resources for the financial benefit of all British Columbians.
However, there is increasingly the perception that BCTS is pushing ahead despite the concerns of most Cherryville residents that the road and eventual logging could trigger slides and pose a threat in the valley bottom. Much of this concern is based on local knowledge of the land, particularly from veteran loggers.
Not surprisingly, BCTS insists soil and hydrological assessments show there is no problem. And that very well could be the case. But the reality is there’s a perception issue among Cherryville residents that the project contains risk.
Unless some middle ground can be found, the conflict could escalate, whether it’s residents physically blocking road construction crews or court action being initiated. Either way, BCTS could experience a PR nightmare and costly delays if residents proceed with protests.
With winter weather soon arriving in the Monashees, time is running out for road construction this year. Because of that, BCTS should hold off on any work so the community can conduct its slope assessment. The findings may eventually endorse BCTS’ own review and generate a level of comfort among residents about the road and logging. Improved public communications are also needed.
Yes a contract has been issued for the road work, but that could be completely irrelevant given the turmoil revolving around Cherry Ridge.