Minister’s grasp deficient


Mr. Thompson:

Your letter printed Oct. 7 in Coast Reporter requires a rebuttal. The “required clarification” you propose shows an embarrassing deficiency in your grasp of the issues that ELF defends.

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First, BCTS posting its harvesting plans on its website hardly qualifies as community consultation. Maybe it meets with First Nations, but that doesn’t mean they support the destruction of the forest. You yourself are at the top of the government food chain, so government consultation is irrelevant. ELF is a community group with many supporters who are all “stakeholders” in this forest, and they were certainly not among the “other interested parties” you claim to consult. BCTS hasn’t shown much respect for their main issue, that Ephinstone Forest is being clearcut and sold off for a fraction of its real value to the community and to future generations.

Secondly, cosmetic buffering of trails does not address the value of the whole forest as our system of water filtration and erosion control. Clearcutting results in desertification and is an irresponsible practice. Presenting such secondary issues exposes your shallow understanding of the region’s ecology and the long-term consequences of clearcutting.

BCTS removes one cutblock from its plan only to snatch up another one. Furthermore, an equivalent cutblock was identified as available as exchange for the rights to cutblock A87125. What happened to that idea?

Hello? A tree farm is not a forest and never will be! It will be harvested again within 100 years. Don’t kid yourself. Our magnificent forests will not return. Your children will never experience them. A consultant for ELF has described the Elphinstone Forest as “unique” in B.C. and worthy of protection. This community demands you stop destroying it.

Finally, don’t confuse Tetrahedron with Ephinstone. It’s a different kind of park. What does it matter how many hectares of old growth “management areas” there are in total when the one the community wants and has included in its Official Community Plan, supported by both SCRD and the Sechelt Nation, is denied us? This community has advocated for a 1,500-hectare Elphinstone Provincial Park since well before the three-unit park was established. These isolated islands of forest, each one less than 50 hectares, is a pitiful excuse for a provincial park with insufficient habitat to support wildlife. It too, I fear, will soon be under threat.

Your pronouncement that current land use designations are balanced is obviously contested by a significant portion of this community. As for the protesters, I thank them for their courage. They remain there to remind those carrying out the destruction that there are witnesses.

Continued discussion has gone nowhere in 20 years. The ministry should listen up and grant the Sunshine Coast the provincial park it deserves.

Janet Oxley, Elphinstone

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