No plans to log near Port gun range

  • Sep. 22, 2008 12:00 p.m.

by Alex Rinfret-Island Timberlands has no immediate plans to log the land it owns around the Port Clements gun range, general manager of forestry and planning Bill Waugh told the village council last Monday night (Sept. 15). “We’re not in a big hurry,” Mr. Waugh said. “We haven’t got any definitive plans.” Island Timberlands owns the range, which it leases to the rod and gun club, as well as the 80 to 100 acres of land surrounding it. Council members told Mr. Waugh they were concerned about the impact of logging on the gun range, the potential for blowdown in the area, and how any logging will look from the side of the road as visitors drive out to the Golden Spruce trail and Juskatla. Mr. Waugh told council that even though it’s private land, there are still some regulations that apply to logging it. The company does not have to harvest the trees all at once, he added. In his experience, he said, trees from around gun ranges can be full of lead and troublesome to harvest. Island Timberlands has decided that some of its other properties, like those on southern Vancouver Island, have a higher value as real estate rather than forest land. He asked council members if they thought the Port land could ever be developed for housing. “I guess you never say never,” responded mayor Cory Delves. The land is outside of the Port municipal boundaries, he added. Mr. Waugh said he would bring Port’s concerns back to Island Timberlands head office in Nanaimo, and said he would let council know as he got closer to making logging plans. In other Port news:. Council members have huge concerns about the future of the village’s economy. Councillor Wally Cheer said logging contractor Edwards and Associates has just gone back to work after a two-week shutdown, but with 18 or 19 less workers than it had before. Edwards is one of the islands’ biggest employers and previously had about 100 people on the payroll. “I just see things going down,” Mr. Cheer said. “We’re still reliant on the forest industry. I’m just concerned things are going to get worse. Our community will suffer immensely with families moving away, businesses closing. It’s something we should address as soon as we can.” Mayor Cory Delves said Port will be affected both by the new land use plan and by a general downtown in the industry. “It’s safe to say the coastal forest industry is in a very poor situation,” he said. “It’s broken, there’s no other way to describe it.” Council members will discuss the situation at their next meeting, when they hope to have more information.. Council voted to apply to the Build Canada Fund for just over $3-million to replace the village’s aging water distribution lines, upgrade the reservoir, and install water meters. The estimated total cost of the project is $3.8-million. Administrator Heather Nelson-Smith said the village would need to find an additional $762,000, which could possibly come from the Gwaii Trust or another funding source, or a debenture. A 15-year debenture would require property owners to pay an additional $170 to $200 per year, she said.. The village will be asking Certified Folder Display why the Port Clements promotional brochures don’t seem to be on the Queen of Prince Rupert. Several council members said they have looked for the brochures and never see them. The village pays Certified Folder Display around $480 a year to put the brochures on the ferry.. Ms Nelson-Smith reported that Port had the third-lowest tax rate of any municipality in BC in 2007.. No one from Port will be attending the Union of BC Municipalities conference in Penticton next week. Mr. Delves said he attended the North Central Municipal Association conference in May and felt that was a more worthwhile event than the UBCM, which he has attended in previous years.