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Logging plan stirs controversy

Logging plan stirs controversy

The Sunshine Coast Community Forest (SCCF) has made it clear that they are almost ready to log Block EW28 on Mt. Elphinstone (also known as “the Chanterelle Forest”), but opponents are trying to stir up political pressure to stop the logging.

At the Nov. 15 meeting of Sechelt Council, Glen Bonderud, Chair and President of SCCF said that the bids for logging three cut blocks (one in Halfmoon Bay and two in Wilson Creek) had been sent out and SCCF was awaiting responses from bidders.

Asked about the order of the cut, Bonderud said a final decision wouldn’t be made until the bids were reviewed, but “Dave (Lasser, operations manager)’s preference is to do the Chanterelle now.”

Mayor Bruce Milne noted that there is “a lot of concern” in the community, and said that he had received one hundred emails about SCCF’s logging plans. SCCF is owned by the District of Sechelt.

The two Wilson Creek cutblocks are in an area covered by the Roberts Creek Official Community Plan, and representatives of the Community Forest met on Nov. 14 with the Roberts Creek Official Community Plan Committee to discuss logging – a meeting that Bonderud described as “a good, respectful discussion.”

SCRD Area D Director, Mark Lebbell also described the meeting as “constructive,” although he feels that the Wilson Creek watershed has a long history of “overharvesting.”

Commenting on his blog, Lebbell said: “There is a strong argument that the tenure that was given to the SCCF included controversial areas to keep the discussion and potential conflict local, while maintaining provincial harvest levels. The SCCF stands to lose their tenure should they not meet provincially set quotas.”

Logging in Roberts Creek has been very contentious, with groups such as Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF) actively opposing loggers. In the fall of 2016, more than a dozen arrests were made when protesters tried to stop a private company logging on Mount Elphinstone.

ELF issued an “emergency alert” on Nov. 8, and is urging people to contact the forest district manager, Sechelt mayor and council, and Chief Warren Paull of the Sechelt Nation to request that logging of Block EW28 be cancelled. Their website states: “If SCCF has their way the attributes of ‘The Chanterelle Forest’ will be wiped clean, and another site for sustainable wild food harvesting will be gone.”

Donna McMahon

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