Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) directors have had a look at BC Timber Sales’ (BCTS) plans for the Sunshine Coast, and their response is similar to comments the board made last year.
In fact, directors voted at the April 13 planning and community development committee meeting to repeat some of their 2016 recommendations on the BCTS five-year operating plan.
One was to tell BCTS that the SCRD does not support logging on District Lot (DL) 1313 in Elphinstone (licence A91376). Auctioning that cutblock has been delayed to 2018 to “enable the SCRD to continue dialogue with the Squamish Nation and FLNRO [Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations] to determine how to protect the lot from timber harvesting.”
An SCRD staff report pointed out that “delaying harvest of DL 1313 increases pressure to harvest timber in other areas within the 1,500-hectare ‘proposed Mt. Elphinstone park’ identified in the Roberts Creek Official Community Plan.”
The SCRD has a previous recommendation on the books that it does not support logging within that area, and Roberts Creek director Mark Lebbell argued for that position to be restated this year.
“Clearly there’s an interest in my community in avoiding a recurrence of what happened last summer,” he said. “Our community has an OCP, and I know where it stands legislatively and jurisdictionally, but at the same time it expresses the views of clearly a majority of the community.”
After the addition was accepted by the committee, Lebbell said it was important to send the message that the board’s position hadn’t changed.
Pender Harbour’s Frank Mauro got the committee’s support for another recommendation about several cutblocks along Brittain River in Jervis Inlet that BCTS plans to offer in 2021.
It read, “The SCRD notes a significant amount of logging proposed along the Brittain River and requests that particular attention to fisheries and other ecological and environmental values be observed in this area.”
Another recommendation that restates an existing position is that the “SCRD does not support logging in community watersheds for the purpose of protecting drinking water quality.”
The recommendation also said if BCTS does propose cutblocks they should “define a management strategy for proposed forestry operations to protect drinking water and implement forest practices and best management practices with the goal of achieving zero turbidity, sediment and pathogen input to nearby creeks of streams from forestry activities.”
West Howe Sound’s Ian Winn supported the recommendations, but said the SCRD should be prepared to hear from forestry companies.
“There are two sides to all these stories,” Winn said, “and what I hear from are the forestry people and the ones who are under the belief that they should be able to log in those areas and their businesses depend on it. This is a difficult situation for us, and certainly without recommendations [on logging in community watersheds] and the need to establish those targets and objectives and define that management strategy, we will continue to have a contentious situation on the Coast regarding logging and community watersheds.”
Winn also said the recommendation on continuing to work with BCTS on future opportunities for community consultation “is paramount.”
Mauro agreed. “There is a willingness to engage the community and this is a prime time to take advantage of that,” he said, adding that companies that own private managed forest land are also interested in engaging with the SCRD.
Other points endorsed by the committee were around cutblocks that could impact mountain biking trails, where the recommendation calls on FLNRO and BCTS to have a strategy in place for “the protection and/or restoration of trails surrounding cutblocks G041C4F6 (West Sechelt), G042C4F8 (Mt. Elphinstone), G043C3ZJ (Mt. Elphinstone), and Licence A93884 (Mt. Elphinstone) to be confirmed with local trail groups.”
The committee recommendations will go to the SCRD board for ratification on April 27.