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SCRD committee recommends halt on TA0521 licence auction

A Sunshine Coast Regional District committee level vote on Dec. 14 recommended asking BC Timber Sales (BCTS) to remove area TA0521 from future cutblock sales.

A Sunshine Coast Regional District committee-level vote on Dec. 14 recommended asking BC Timber Sales (BCTS) to remove area TA0521 from future cutblock sales. That recommendation, which applies to forest lands in the Roberts Creek area above Highway 101, will go to the board for a vote on Jan. 11.

Roberts Creek (Area D) director Kelly Backs moved the recommendation, stating that there had been a “ground swell” of opposition to the proposal to allow logging of that area. He cited a petition that had more than 27,000 signatures (over 29,990 as of Dec. 15) calling to preserve those local forests “as future old growth sites, to save our community watersheds and watershed protection forest from irreversible damage." He stated more than 40 area ground water licences existed within the TA0521 area and that those could be adversely affected by environmental disruptions caused by forest industry activities.

Three committee members at that meeting did not support that action. Area A director Leonard Lee and Gibsons director Silas White opposed the recommendation. Alternate Area F director Ian Winn opted to step out of the meeting during the vote after being advised by staff that SCRD procedures did not allow directors to abstain from voting. He said his decision to decline to vote on the matter stemmed from not having the opportunity to confer with area director Kate-Louise Stamford (who was not at the committee table). He also asked for information on how withdrawal of cutting in that area would impact BCTS’s annual harvesting plans in other SCRD areas.


The call to request the area be withdrawn from BCTS operating plans was first raised by Backs in March. Since that time, the recommendation was on hold, to allow time for BCTS to respond to comments from the region and others on its 2023-2027 plans. In addition, the SCRD wanted BCTS to consider details from studies related to the impacts of logging of areas on the slopes of Mount Elphinstone before listing harvesting rights within TA0521 for auction.

According to a staff report on the committee meeting agenda, BCTS reconsidered its initial position on that licence area. The report noted that harvesting plans “were amended based on the consultant recommendations outlined in the Phase 1 and 2 Mount Elphinstone South reports and feedback from consultation with First Nations, stakeholders, and the community."

BCTS’s amendments reduced the planned harvest area proposed for 2024 within the Joe Smith Creek and Molyneux Creek watersheds to 3.8 from 12 hectares. Also cut back to 9.2 hectares from 10 was the harvest area in the Higgs Brook, Leek Creek, and Slater Creek watersheds.

SCRD elected officials were awaiting a staff technical review focused on areas where SCRD services could be impacted by BCTS’s plans for TA0521. That was also covered in that report, which stated “SCRD services and assets appear to be not directly affected by the proposed cut blocks. This said, the SCRD is concerned about the cumulative impacts of resource activity, including deforesting, that is proposed around Mount Elphinstone which contains many headwaters and creeks.”

Backs stated that while appreciative of the adjustments made by BCTS and the assessment provided by staff, he had a “long list of reasons” why requesting a halt to all plans to log the area should be recommended by the committee and sent to the board for consideration of support.