North Okanagan mayor blasts province over Rose Swanson logging | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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North Okanagan mayor blasts province over Rose Swanson logging

FILE PHOTO - The mayor of the Township of Spallumcheen is calling out the province for its lack of consultation regarding its plan to log parts of the popular Rose Swanson Mountain Recreation Area. Township of Spallumcheen Mayor Christine Fraser told iNFOnews.ca that she wants the province to put a halt to the logging until the wider community has been consulted.
Image Credit: Save Rose Swanson Mountain
January 29, 2021 - 10:31 AM

The mayor of the Township of Spallumcheen is calling out the province for its lack of consultation regarding its plan to log parts of the popular Rose Swanson Mountain Recreation Area.

Township of Spallumcheen Mayor Christine Fraser told iNFOnews.ca that she wants the province to put a halt to the logging until the wider community has been consulted.

"The township has put together a letter to the province... to let them know there really hasn't been any community-wide consultation," Mayor Fraser said. "How to protect the sensitive area has not been discussed with the whole community."

The province has released few details about its logging plan and while it has consulted with adjacent landowners, the Township of Spallumcheen, and other stakeholders, many concerned residents feel they've been left in the dark.

The 700-hectare Rose Swanson Mountain Recreation Area has been a popular outdoor destination for decades having been designated by the province as a recreation area in 1967.

When word got out the province had plans to log the site, which is Crown land, a petition opposed to the logging quickly garnered support. To date almost 23,000 people have signed the petition, more than twice the population of Spallumcheen and the City of Armstrong combined.

"The important thing here is maybe that not so much that everybody is opposed to it, but everybody wants to know a clear plan moving forward that says what's going to happen and what the protection is going to be for Mount Rose Swanson," she said. "Maybe selective logging or hand logging (and) different ways of making sure the wildfire management is done but still protecting the sensitivity of the area."

According to the province, it plans to log about 28 hectares of the site, around four per cent of the total land. The logging is broken down into 10 blocks ranging in size from half a hectare to 7.5 hectares. The logging is due to start at the beginning of next winter and be completed by the end of the season.

The province says consultations regarding the logging started in 2014 and it has sent out letters to First Nations and stakeholders, as well as adjacent private landowners.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations said the area is part of the Okanagan timber supply area.

"Rose Swanson has not contributed to the annual allowable cut in many years. Timber harvesting must be spread out between all operating areas in the Okanagan... to ensure that all areas of designated public land contribute to the (Annual Allowable Cut)," the spokesperson said in an email.

The ministry said the Rose Swanson Sensitive area was established in 1997 and has objectives to maintain and enhance trail network, along with protecting the visual quality of the area and maintain recreation values by limiting timber harvesting to low impact forest management.

It's unclear how these objectives will be met in combination with the proposed logging.

The Mayor reiterated proper consultation with community input and a plan that takes into account the sensitive needs of Mount Rose Swanson needs to be put in place.

The province says a map of the areas scheduled to be logged will be put online in the coming weeks.


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