Tolko agrees to not log area near Vernon water source | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Tolko agrees to not log area near Vernon water source

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May 04, 2021 - 5:00 PM

Tolko has agreed to halt its logging and road construction plans for an area above a creek that supplies more than half of the water for Greater Vernon.

The cut block was 500 metres above the’s Duteau Creek water intake and the Regional District of the North Okanagan recently asked Tolko to alter their plans. The Duteau Creek water intake supplies 60% of the water for Greater Vernon, and Tolko’s proposed logging activity is on top of a steep slope right above this vital source of water, the regional district said.

"Removing many trees and disturbing land at the top of a steep slope can lead to geotechnical instability. Engineering staff and a hydrologist retained by the RDNO are very concerned about the potential that logging activity and the remaining semi-cleared land on this specific block could lead to the water system being damaged by a landslide or debris torrent. Based on the current information available, the risk to water quality and quantity is unacceptable to the RDNO," read a release sent out in late April.

"The RDNO has been in communication with Tolko about this block since it first became aware of the intention to log there in 2016. The RDNO has relayed its concerns. While Tolko has made marginal changes to their plan in response, the information Tolko has provided has not convinced the RDNO that the risk of damage to water infrastructure has been properly addressed," the release continued.

After the RDNO raised issues, Tolko representatives said they took some time to re-examine the harvest plan.

While they say the area is safe to harvest and has not changed according to the requirements of the Forest and Range Practices Act the company appreciates the different priorities of the RDNO and has chosen to deviate from their original plan.  

“Tolko has continued to work with the RDNO and the Ministry on these concerns over the past few weeks,” Kevin Jewett, Tolko’s Vice President, Woodlands said in a press release. “We value the collaboration we’ve had on this discussion as we explore options to plan and harvest our Annual Allowable Cut and keep our people working.”

Kevin Acton, Chair of the RDNO Board of Directors indicated that this change was agreeable to the regional district.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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