Alberni city council can learn from Hump logging protest

Alberni city council needs to have more power over such ‘social licence’ decisions as logging practices, but must first be vocal about them.

Kudos to Island Timberlands for ceasing plans to log a line of trees right beside Highway 4 at the Hump—known as one of the most scenic drives in Canada.

And kudos to the community members who quickly organized a protest on social media to get the word out to Alberni Valley politicians and the forestry company that this kind of logging is not OK.

Island Timberlands has said this cessation is temporary, and it will revisit logging of the buffer along Highway 4 at a later date. Until then, we urge the company to engage in better community dialogue about its upcoming plans. This relatively small cutblock is the tip of the iceberg where Island Timberlands is concerned: they have plans to harvest at McLaughlin Ridge, Loon Lake and behind Coombs Country Candy sometime in the future.

We respect that the Alberni Valley was built on forestry, and the company has the right to log its own private property. All we are asking for is a conversation, and not at the last minute.

Municipal leaders would be wise to take note of the public’s views on Highway 4 logging. A letter from Island Timberlands notifying city council about the logging and road closures was accepted with little discussion at the Jan. 14 council meeting.

Local government clearly needs to have more power over such ‘social licence’ decisions when it comes to logging practices, but the only way it will gain any foothold is by staying vocal. Neither the Forest Practices Code nor Sustainable Forest Initiative has teeth; it’s up to local government to nip at the heels of forestry companies like Island Timberlands to remind them they have neighbours.

* Alberni Valley News

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