By Mariah McCooey-A proposed logging operation in the Masset area has been put on hold, probably indefinitely.
The joint venture between Old Massett and Husby Forest Products would have meant the selective logging 95,000 cubic metres of old growth from 17 cutblocks, but was cancelled after considerable public opposition.
“The whole thing got spun off the rails,” said Old Massett’s John Disney. When the map of the proposal was released, he said, it looked like it would be a whole bunch of clearcutting. But that was never the case: only about 12 percent would have been viable wood, he said. The rest is scrub or muskeg.
“The whole thing got really emotional,” said Mr. Disney. “Husby took a lot of flak, and in the end they decided, ‘maybe we shouldn’t log here.'”
Husby already spent about $80,000 on engineering, he added. But there is some possibililty of a joint venture continuing in a different location, perhaps across Masset Inlet at Collison Point.
A large contingent of Masset area residents were concerned about the logging, especially the loss of old growth and potential tourist attractions. In the end, said Mr. Disney, the whole process did succeed in showing that the public has an avenue to protest things they disagree with.
The way Mr. Disney sees it though, it was a golden opportunity missed for a community that is currently suffering from colossal unemployment. Because it was a joint venture (the Haida were key in procuring the wood in the first place) they had considerable leverage in terms of employment. Husby was willing to fly Old Massett residents to Vancouver for training in certain positions, he said, which would have made them an asset to the community.
The log barges are still going by every day, he added, with or without local participation.
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