Island Timberlands has reversed its plan to log a buffer of trees on Highway 4, between the Cameron Connector and Alberni Summit, known locally as the Hump.
“Over the past several days, Island Timberlands has heard feedback on our planned measures to manage temporary traffic interruptions on Highway 4 near to its junction with the Cameron Connector logging road,” Island Timberlands spokesperson Morgan Kennah wrote in a statement.
“As a result of this feedback, Island Timberlands has decided to place a near-term suspension on the planned harvest of this timbered tree buffer. We do plan to revisit the site and harvest this buffer in the future, but the timeline on this harvest plan has not been determined,” she wrote.
Kennah said people told the company they felt night-time temporary traffic interruptions for up to 12 days is “inconvenient” and that “significant changes to Highway 4’s vista (are) undesirable resulting from planned forest harvesting.”
The company has cancelled its planned traffic interruptions.
Island Timberlands began harvesting on their privately owned land near the Cameron Lake Connector before Christmas, but had planned to start logging the timbered buffer adjacent to the highway starting Jan. 21.
The news came as a happy surprise for Chris Alemany, a Port Alberni man who had organized a peaceful protest at the Hump for Monday night—when the first highway closures were supposed to start.
“They haven’t really said what caused them to change their minds but I’d like to think it was from the people who had concerns,” he said.
“It’s really quite exciting. I hope it’s a sign that maybe they’ll consult the community before they deliver their plans or start logging,” he added. “I think they (Island Timberlands) deserve a thank you for listening to the public and hopefully it’s a sign of better things.”
Alemany still plans to go ahead with the event at 7 p.m. Monday (Jan. 21), but says he’s now calling it a “forest stewardship celebration”.
Edited: To reflect when Island Timberlands started logging the cut block beside Highway 4.