Promises ring hollow on watershed logging: QC councillor

  • Jun. 11, 2008 10:00 a.m.

By Heather Ramsay–Promises made by logging company Islands Timberlands to leave a 30-metre buffer between their clear cut logging and Queen Charlotte’s future water source are ringing hollow. QC Councillor Greg Martin said the company has not returned calls and he has not received a written promise that the 30-metre buffer will be respected. Island Timberlands is hauling wood at a rapid pace out of two large cutblocks on private land in the Honna River watershed. Mr. Martin says private land is covered by different legislation than crown land and the company can legally log to 10 metres within a water course. He met last month with Islands Timberlands forester Ken Dodd who gave a verbal offer to increase that setback to 30 metres with a few exceptions made for topographical reasons and valuable trees. But Councillor Martin is concerned because he’s heard nothing more since and has not seen any maps with these setbacks marked. “We want it in writing. This not the way to do business,” he said. Council is planning a $4 million surface water system for the Honna River and the massive amount of logging in the area could affect water quality. Northern Health’s drinking water leader Ron Craig is concerned as well, not only with the logging and lack of setback, but with silt from nearby roads. He said the problems are on Islands Timberlands private land operation, but also on Western Forest Products crown land operation. He says the Drinking Water Protection Act allows him to prescribe extra protection and he’s been in contact with both companies. “We can put in what we need to ensure drinking water is safe for the community,” he said. As of Friday June 6, he said he’d had good communication with the companies, but nothing had been finalized. He was asking Islands Timberlands for the 30 metre buffer, plus a tapered no-cut zone on the back of that to protect the 30 metres from windthrow. He is also requiring the use of a textile on the road, a strong fabric that can help slow the flow of contaminants into the river. He says these requirements are a big deal for each company, so its taking a few days to finalize. But since the act came into being in 2003, it has been his job to work toward a solution until drinking water is protected.

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