East Creek is adjacent the Brooks Peninsula

Five-month wait for logging plan has Sierra Club crying foul on the north Island

Lemare Lake Logging says its operations at East Creek near Brooks Peninsula have been by the book, forests ministry unconcerned

The provincial government is rejecting an environmental watchdog’s claim that a north Island logging firm is effectively engaging in “covert” logging of an old growth forest on the northwest coast.

And it plans to take no action at this time in response to a Sierra Club request that the operation be put on hold until Lemare Lake Logging shares its plan for harvesting in the East Creek area adjacent Brooks Peninsula.

Provincial laws require that such plans be made available to anyone who asks and Sierra Club campaigner Mark Worthing said logging site plans are routinely requested and routinely provided by most logging firms, often by email.

“It’s pretty regular. Most of the bigger outfits just post their plans online,” he said.

That’s why he was surprised when an initial inquiry to see the East Creek plan in December was met with what he described as suspicion and a five-month song-and-dance of corporate requests for credentials, Sierra Club requests for MLA and ministry intervention, refusals to provide documents by email or fax, unreturned messages, cancelled appointments and inflexibility in scheduling a meeting.

“And (they) flat out refused to provide plans when a concerned community member arrived at the office asking to see site plans,” Worthing said.

Lemare  general manager Eric Dutcyvich said by email that he was unavailable for an interview with Black Press but added readers can be assured the firm is doing everything by the book.

“As is our standard practice, we are following all of the forest stewardship guidelines and regulations that govern our operations. This includes giving the public the opportunity to view our site plans within a reasonable time,” he said.

An emailed statement from the Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations communications department indicated ministry staff have been in contact with the firm about these concerns.

“It is the ministry’s understanding that Lemare Lake Logging has made the site plans available,” the email states. “We are under the impression that Sierra Club and Lemare Lake Logging had scheduled a meeting.”

According to the ministry, it has never investigated a complaint regarding access to site plans. Making plans available is considered important and refusal to comply can result in a fine of up to $10,000.

“Logging is occurring on Crown land, therefore the public has a right to know how those public lands are being managed,” the email reads.

But Worthing said the Sierra Club is still waiting.

“How many months would you attempt to acquire plans from a company you were legally entitled to before you gave up?” he said. “I’m quite busy, and don’t have time to pester and pester a company that is in non-compliance. In my opinion, that’s the government’s job.”

He said the Sierra Club requested the plans after a visit to the area. East Creek is part of what the club describes as the largest remaining ancient rainforest on northern Vancouver Island. The club is actively lobbying to protect the Island’s remaining old growth from what it considers lack of proper stewardship.

The ministry states inspectors have made more than 10 visits to the site and discovered a few non-compliance issues regarding roads and timber marking that have been addressed by the licensee.

“It seems like they know they’ll get something less than a slap on the wrist while they buy themselves more time to log like there is no tomorrow in East Creek,” Worthing said. “I expect better behaviour from companies logging crown-land ancient rainforest, and governments meant to regulate that.”

A formal complaint has been filed with the BC Forest Practices Board.

 

Just Posted

Merry Makers create new craft fair for Port Alberni

Hansen Hall fair begins as Work of Heart organizers retire

Port Alberni highland dancers invited to North American competition

Kali Nahorney received honourable mention medals in two categories

Government looks for public input on Cathedral Grove safety concerns

Port Alberni, Parksville info sessions invite public to help ‘shape future access’

ARTS AROUND: Enjoy magic and comedy at the Capitol Theatre

Transport yourself back in time for the McLean Mill Christmas Market

Port Alberni to receive $8.7 million in affordable housing

Two projects in the Alberni Valley will provide 87 units of housing

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

Cowichan school district defends lack of notice to parents following elementary student arrest

Officials with School District 79 stand by their decision not to send out an alert.

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Older B.C. drivers subsidizing younger ones, study finds

ICBC protects higher-risk drivers, pays for testing costs

Most Read