Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF) is hoping to get the Sunshine Coast Community Forest to drop an area near East Wilson Creek from its logging plans.
The Community Forest and its operating company Sechelt Community Projects Inc. (SCPI), which will soon be changing its name to Sunshine Coast Community Forest Ltd. to avoid confusion, recently approved tenders for road building and harvesting on two cutblocks in the Angus Creek area – AN11 and AN12.
SCPI is currently awaiting approval of a cutting permit that would allow it to begin harvesting on part of its tenure in the Halfmoon Bay area in the first quarter of 2021.
A harvesting plan presented at an open house in March also called for logging in the East Wilson Creek area on a block known as EW16, but the Community Forest has not gone forward at this point with cutting permits or tenders for the harvesting.
In a letter to the Community Forest management and board, ELF said it wants to have “advanced discussions on the proposed EW16 logging plans in the Wilson Creek watershed.”
ELF argues the history of extensive logging in the area of what it calls the Wilson Creek Legacy Forest has left “very little remaining intact forest stands.”
“We assert that the forests in EW16 meet the definition of a ‘unique and fragile ecosystem’ [and] should be protected and would thus be an excellent conservation opportunity to provide a reserve for biodiversity at this watershed scale,” the group said.
ELF also wrote Sechelt council earlier this year asking the district, which is the sole shareholder in SCPI, to intervene, have EW16 removed from the harvesting plan and “investigate the matter more deeply than other elected officials overseeing [the Community Forest].”
Council referred the letter to the Community Forest board “for feedback” and hasn’t discussed the issue in an open meeting since.
ELF went to court in late 2017 to try to prevent the Community Forest from logging the East Wilson Creek cutblock known as EW28. The logging was delayed, but ultimately went ahead and SCPI estimated at the time that the cost of defending the injunction was in excess of $80,000.