By David F. Rooney
The Begbie Falls area is almost certainly bound to be logged. The question is: By who?
“If a licensee (meaning a company that has tenure to cut in a particular area) doesn’t harvest its Annual Allowable Cut within a five-year-period the (Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations) will take any unlogged volume away from the licensee and may allocate it to another licensee,” Stella-Jones Silviculture Forester Pat McMechan told visitors to the company’s unusual open house at the Community Centre on Friday.
Unusual? Yes. It was. The company was not required to hold the event as it had already jumped through all of the legal and procedural hoops required by the ministry. (Click here to see a timeline created by Stella Jones.) But it was concerned about public reaction to the plan and agreed with a suggestion by the City that the public open house would be a smart public relations move.
Three Stella-Jones officials talked with members of the public and showed them maps and visual simulations of what the area would look like once it had been logged. Plenty of people left written comments with them and McMechan said the cutting plan won’t impact heavily used areas like the bluffs that climbers enjoy or the bile trails. He also made a point of saying that the company will work with user groups to ensure the area is rehabilitated afterwards.
Judging by comments on the social media networks a lot of people oppose any attempt to log the area, which has been repeatedly logged over the decades.
It could begin cutting this winter, when but not if Loni Parker has anything to say about it.
The director of the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s Area B, which encompasses the rural area around Revelstoke, pushed a resolution on this issue through the CSRD’s board of directors. It asks that:
“A letter be sent to Stella-Jones requesting that logging in the Begbie Bench/Begbie Falls area by delayed until a revised Begbie Falls Integrated Resources Plan (the old one was written in 1990) is in place;
“And that a letter be sent to the minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations requesting that the Ministry recognize the Begbie Falls Integrated Resources Plan as well as other completed Integrated Resource Plans and Local Resoures Use Plans and direct forest companies to implement the plans when harvesting those areas;
“And futher that the minister direct forest companies to participate in public consultation by referring harvesting plans to adjacent communities for comment and that the ministry be requested to reinstate Local Resource Use Planning processes for communities in areas that have high multiplew-use values.”
Parker also told The Current she would like people who do have comments about the Begbie Falls logging plan to CC them to:
You can share your comments with The Current by posting them at the bottom of this story or by sending them as stand-alone letters to the editor in Microsoft Word .doc or .docx format.