EDITORIAL: Timber agency must be open

B.C. Timber Sales needs to communicate with the rural communities of the region

Thursday’s meeting between B.C. Timber Sales and the Electoral Area Advisory Committee was a good, first step.

After all, this was likely the first time the provincial agency responsible for auctioning off Crown land for logging had appeared before the five elected representatives for the rural communities.

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

But while that may be the agency’s goal, it’s obvious local politicians aren’t convinced.

Hank Cameron, Cherryville director, got into a back-and-forth with Johnston over logging on Cherry Ridge and what Cameron believes is the lack of access to technical documents regarding previous slides.

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

There’s no question BCTS has hired professionals to review the slides and the impact of future logging. But the perception in Cherryville is not all information is being gathered or made public. BCTS has to deal with that perception.

It was also pointed out to BCTS that its consultation process for auctioning off timber blocks ignores electoral areas.

Most recently, the City of Vernon was asked for advice on logging in the BX and Cosens Bay, well outside of its boundary, but the relevant electoral area directors, weren’t advised. That left those rural communities in the dark and unable to provide input in a timely fashion.

As was previously mentioned, Thursday’s meeting was positive, but BCTS has to do more to be transparent and open to the public it serves.