Contractors who responded to Sunshine Coast Community Forest’s (SCCF) call for tenders for logging of cutblock EW 24 near Sechelt airport will be waiting until further input is received from the shíshálh Nation to hear if the work will proceed.
“In EW24, as with all areas we operate in, we go through a multi-step review process with the shíshálh Nation. This includes an archaeological assessment conducted by the shíshálh Nation’s archaeologist," SCCF administrator Sara Zieleman stated in an April 12 email to Coast Reporter. "This assessment and all other aspects of block planning are then subject to final review and acceptance by the shíshálh Nation’s technical team, and hiwus and council. EW24 was still in the midst of this process when an area was identified which required further archaeological review."
In late March, Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF) invited Nation hiwus Calvin Craigan, a hereditary and former elected chief, to visit the cutblock to assess the area. ELF had expressed concerns that the location may be of archaeological significance. Craigan supported that view.
In a March 29 letter to the Ministry of Forests, Craigan requested that cutting permits not be issued for the cutblock pending further examination of the site. “My opinion is that EW24 overlaps a heritage site of spiritual and cultural significance to my people due to these heritage objects that I see with mine own eyes,” Craigan wrote.
Concerns regarding protection of old growth recruitment areas, wildlife habitat and site hydrology are additional factors cited by ELF in their calls to SCCF to withdraw the cutblock from its harvesting schedule. In an April 11 letter ELF spokesperson Ross Muirhead wrote “This is a unique site of large old-growth Red cedar and Douglas-fir in the depleted CWM xm1 zone with less than one per cent remaining in this Chapman Landscape Unit.”
“The Madrone Environmental Services EW24 Environmental Assessment report completed for SCCF did not address post-logging effects of EW24 on the Old Growth Recruitment Zone and could expose the client to future investigations should the impacts of logging adjacent to this unique and fragile ecosystem result in damages.”
Zieleman confirmed that all parties who responded to SCCF’s call for tenders for harvesting EW 24, which closed on April 4, have been advised that the award of the work has been postponed. She said the bid packages received remain sealed while the process is on hold.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to remove reference to EW24 being inside the Chapman Creek community watershed.