A section of forest in Elphinstone known as DL 1313, or Reed Road Forest, has been scheduled for auction by BC Timber Sales (BCTS) in January 2019.
The date was shared in an Oct. 29 letter by Noel Poulin of BCTS to stakeholders. In it, he acknowledged the “ongoing dialogue” between the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD), local environmental groups and residents, and pointed to amendments to the block design, including “additional retention and fire proofing techniques given that this licence is within an urban-rural interface area.”
The letter also sought to address several community concerns, such as loss of biodiversity, parks and recreation, increased fire risk due to logging and protection of water and landslide prevention.
In 2013, the auction of the cutblock was delayed until 2017 as a result of the SCRD’s intention to create a regional park in the area, “to provide the SCRD with time to pursue a change in land use status,” according to the letter. BCTS also delayed the auction in 2018.
The letter also stated that Elphinstone’s advisory planning commission will meet with BCTS and a professional facilitator in the coming months “to continue discussions related to concerns brought forward by local land owners.”
At an Oct. 11 SCRD committee, chief administrative officer Janette Loveys announced that SCRD staff and staff from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNORD) met in early October to discuss land use planning for the area.
In response letter to the one sent by Poulin, activist group Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF) noted FLNORD’s talks with the SCRD about land use planning, asking for clarification after stating, “It would be seen as cynical for the province, on the one hand to agree to a land use planning discussion, while at the same time logging this high-profile forest area – which was probably a prime motivator for the Sunshine Coast Regional District to even seek this higher-level plan in the first place.”
ELF also requested that the cutblock be cancelled from auction in January, followed by a 10-12 month deferral period.