Powell River citizens urge Island Timberland to hold off logging in their community

Company undermines its own environmental policy by ignoring public outcry

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 5, 2015

Sierra Malaspina, a local group of Sierra Club BC, is joining other citizens of Powell River who are deeply concerned about Island Timberland’s logging plans and operations underway in an area of private land within the city of Powell River.

This area, called lot 450, is important ecologically and recreationally to the community of Powell River.  Trees close to McFall Creek are presently being logged.

Sierra Malaspina is especially concerned about:

  • Possible loss of habitat of birds and other species;
  • Logging adjacent to two creeks, McFall and McGuffie Creek; and,
  • Losing the opportunity to enjoy this forest close to people’s homes for decades to come.

“The citizens of Powell River expect Island Timberland to immediately stop logging in lot 450. This is an area that people call home.  The company should follow its policy, share detailed information about their plans, hear our concerns and seek to address them.“ says Wes  Bingham, of Sierra Malaspina.

The group wrote the company on April 30 outlining its concerns and requesting further information. The letter also requested that logging plans be put on hold to allow an opportunity for the community to provide input and address concerns before any more harvesting happens.

Island Timberland Manager Morgan Kennan responded that “Island Timberlands is not considering hosting a public forum to discuss the details of our activities on our private forest lands at this time. Unfortunately we do not share reports and plans of our activities widely with the general public.”

The company’s response contradicts its own environmental policy. On its website, Island Timberland commits to “considering feedback from the public, encouraging public involvement and responding to public health and environmental impacts” of their operations.

“The conflict with Island Timberland in Powell River shows the serious problems caused by lack of meaningful regulation for logging on private land. Communities are experiencing fewer and fewer benefits and more and more negative impacts, from loss of clean water to the loss of tourism opportunities”, says Jens Wieting, forest and climate campaigner with Sierra Club BC.

Contacts:

Wes Bingham, Sierra Malaspina, Powell River: 604-485-9273.

Jens Wieting, Sierra Club BC: 604-354-5312

Background:

  • Email exchange between Sierra Malaspina and Island Timberland
  • Island Timberland’s Environmental Policy

Email from Sierra Malaspina to Island Timberland:

From: E. Zaikow ezaikow@shaw.ca
Sent: April-30-15 5:04 PM
To: Environment
Cc: info@cdpr.bc.ca
Subject: Logging in Lot 450

April 30, 2015.

To: Morgan Kennah, Island Timberland manager of sustainable timberlands and community affairs

Dear Ms Kennah,

The Malaspina Sierra Group has many concerns about harvesting timber in Lot 450 during nesting season. The area noted as “1” on the map in the Powell River Shopper contains the fish bearing creeks of both McFall and Mcguffie. These areas previously left uncut are listed in the Powell River official Community Plan as Sensitive Areas and have led the public to believe these important areas would be left intact as a buffer. These corridors link through to the trails in Willingdon Park. Both these corridors are so important for wildlife, the birds, fish, animals, plants and the many people who use them.

These areas are listed as sensitive areas, and I believe should be set aside from logging.  In no case should logging go ahead without consulting with community members about the scope of logging. Neither should logging happen in nesting season. There are many migratory and other birds nesting at this time.

When harvesting was previously done in the area along the pole line, I believe the timber company at that time hired Wayne Campbell, an ornithologist to come and do an audit of the birds before they spot logged. Is your biologist’s report available to the public?

There are Great Blue Herons nesting close by in the McGuffie Creek area and may be disturbed by any noise logging will create.  As you know, the Great Blue Heron species is declining due in part to habitat loss and any noise may disturb this colony as it has just recently located there.

We are therefore asking you to put your plans on hold and would like to see a meeting held to address the public’s concerns and have an opportunity to provide input to be considered in your plan of the areas to be harvested.

Sincerely,

Betty Zaikow

Malaspina Sierra Group

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