EDITORIAL: Thomson must visit Cherryville

Forests Minister Steve Thomson needs to ensure the concerns of residents about Cherry Ridge are addressed.

On Sunday, a rally against B.C. Timber Sales’ plans for a road and clearcut logging on Cherry Ridge attracted 110 people in Cherryville.

To get such a crowd out on one of the last beautiful days of summer in a community of any size would be positive, but when you consider that Cherryville’s population is 939, such a turnout is simply amazing.

And what such a demonstration  says is that Cherryville residents are extremely concerned about large-scale logging potentially leading to slides, which could threaten homes and public amenities such as the elementary school in the valley bottom.

But the concerns of residents continue to fall on deaf ears as B.C. Timber Sales, which is a provincial agency, pushes ahead with issuing a tender for road construction.

BCTS is satisfied with the information it has gathered to make a decision, but the first-hand experience of Cherryville residents of the geography and previous slides appears to have been ignored.

“We want a say on what’s looked at,” said Eugene Foisy, regional district director, of calls for a risk assessment.

It should be pointed out that Cherryville residents aren’t opposed to logging as forestry has been one of the economic backbones of the area. But they favour selective harvesting that considers the local water supply and the environment.

MLA Eric Foster appears to be sympathetic to the plight of his constituents and has taken their concerns directly to the powers-that-be in Victoria. And while Foster deserves praise for his actions, they may not be sufficient.

As BCTS continues to move ahead, Forests Minister Steve Thomson needs to ensure the concerns of residents are addressed.

The first step would be for Thomson to travel to Cherryville and hear from the community first-hand.