Sometime during the week of Jan. 25, Surespan of North Vancouver, a parent company of AJB Investments sent in a falling crew to begin clearcut logging on the east side of Chapman Drinking Watershed not far from the water intake. The company owns 910 Ha (2,251 acres) of private lands on Dakota Ridge and in the Chapman Creek Drinking Watershed.
A roadblock erected by Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF) on Feb. 12 has stopped this industrial activity, with no logging taking place up to Feb. 16.
In late 2014, a Surespan logging operation was subject to a complaint by the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) to the ‘Managed Forest Council’, (Victoria) who then contracted Madrone Environmental Services to investigate a Surespan logging block on the west side of the Chapman Drinking Watershed. The SCRD had recorded a spike in sediment levels at its downstream filtration plant during heavy rains and while active logging was taking place. SCRD water technicians also recorded high sediment readings from water leaving the logging site.
The author of the January, 2015 Madrone Assessment report of Surespan’s Block CH1 concluded that, “Although there has been no clear contravention of the regulations it is clear to me that industry standards for protecting water quality have not been met in CH1. The short-comings are substantially more serious given the fact that this logging has been carried out in a highly sensitive watershed supplying a large population.”
“The author also states that logging should have been stopped before the onset of heavy fall rains which led to a lot of sediment coming off the site,” says Ross Muirhead of ELF. “Surespan needs to stick to its core business, and get out of logging people’s drinking watersheds.”
“We are asking the SCRD to take emergency action to stop the damage to our watershed, by contacting Surespan requesting an immediate halt to the logging and road building in the watershed with a commitment on behalf of Sunshine Coast Residents, to enter negotiations to resolve the private property issue in the Chapman Creek Watershed Reserve once and for all,” says Hans Penner, also of ELF.
To read the full Madrone Environmental Services report on Surepan’s logging record in the Chapman, go to: http://mfcouncil.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Chapman-Creek-Assessment_web.pdf