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Protest over proposed logging operations more apparent in petition

A petition opposed to a proposed logging project around the Carmi trails made its way to the legislature in Victoria on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / Carmi Recreational Trails Facebook page
November 28, 2018 - 5:40 PM

PENTICTON - Residents opposed to proposed logging operations off Carmi Road in an area laced with trails popularly frequented by outdoor enthusiasts don’t appear to be making their feelings known to B.C. Timber Sales, at least according to feedback they’ve received so far.

But opposition to the proposal is definitely apparent, based on a petition containing 1,600 signatures of residents opposed to the proposed logging operations that was delivered to the legislature on Monday, Nov. 26 by Penticton MLA Dan Ashton.

Ashton said today, Nov. 28, the minister has received the petition, adding he’d received “quite a bit” of feedback from residents opposed to the proposal.

B.C. Timber Sales are preparing the timber sale for auction next year, with a proposed harvest area of 66.8 ha. The winning bidder would be responsible for the logging operation.

Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Media spokesperson Dawn Makarowski said to date, B.C. Timber Sales shared their cutblock plans off the Carmi Forest Service Road with the South Okanagan Trail Alliance for feedback on road access and trail protection in November of 2017, with the alliance later responding they had shared the plans with more than 500 outdoor enthusiasts and advocates, advising the ministry of little negative feedback.

She said since ribbons began appearing on the proposed cutblocks, 11 citizens have contacted B.C. Timber Sales with concerns, who have since provided information on logging plans and offered to host a field trip to expand on the proposals.

B.C. Timber Sales also contacted staff from the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen and the City of Penticton in June and September of this year, as well as with local MLA Dan Ashton, to identify the harvest plan and gauge interest in attending a field trip.

A field trip that included members of the South Okanagan Trail Alliance on Oct. 12 was attended by 20 people. The proposed road and block development was explained and followed by a question and answer period.

Makarowski says feedback from that session is being incorporated into the logging plans and further field trips and meetings scheduled as needed.

She says B.C. Timber Sales are listening and trying to address concerns. She says staff are assessing and considering the users’ input to minimize the impact to recreation resources without precluding harvesting, for example, managing the timing of harvesting and hauling to reduce impact on trail users, increasing road rehabilitation, reducing road-width plans and location and issuing the timber licence sale for a one-year term only.

Makarowski says the proposal has no plans to physically damage any of the trails in the area.

Penticton resident Neda Joss, who spearheaded the petition, says those opposed have taken a political approach to the issue, delivering the petition to the minister first.

“We’ve gone directly to the Minister of Forests, because the Minister of Forests is the one who can actually make the decision not to log,” she says, adding presentation of the petition to B.C. Timber Sales would be the next move.

"The trails are in an Intensive Recreation Area, used mainly by seniors and families. Boundaries have been determined by our provincial government. (B.C. Timber Sales') very own forest stewardship plan conflicts with this development plan. There is no way they can log the area without having a material adverse impact on the area," Joss says.

"(They) could very well leave this area alone and log to the north of the trails or to the east of the trails. They have also said that this will not be the last time they will log the area. They will come back and log the rest," she says.

Areas in orange outline proposed logging operations in the Carmi trails area, east of Penticton.
Areas in orange outline proposed logging operations in the Carmi trails area, east of Penticton.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED / BCTS

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