MAILBAG: Writer calls for inquiry over Dog Mountain fire

Kindly conservation officer and a living wage for Vancouverites also caught writers' attention in Port Alberni

Writer calls

for fire inquiry


To the Editor,

Re: Only you can prevent fires, Editorial, July 9.

Smokey the bear and those that lived on Dog Mountain must be angry.

The BC Forest Service says “never leave a fire unattended” but they don’t do what they say.

They left this small fire unattended but “monitored” for the first three hours and since then their random and uncoordinated attempts at dealing with it allowed it double daily to more than 400 hectares.

It’s not just the health concerns, wildlife, economics and tourism and timber losses to consider but the long-term blight that is being imposed on the aesthetic center of our lake and community.

Sproat Lake is known as one of, if not the best lake in B.C. People come from all over the world to live, recreate and enjoy the beauty of the lake.

Special consideration was always given to the view scape of Dog Mountain in logging and forestry plans and then the BCFS department actually added fire to fire on this once beautiful mountain scape.

The inaction, wrong action and mismanagement of this fire will haunt us lake residents and tourists alike for decades to come.

Using “back burning” in steep terrain where daily afternoon winds and thermals exist is ridiculous. Any experienced coastal fire boss would agree. More burned timber and soils. More flying ash and smoke. More chance of crowning and hot particulate transfer to the other areas adjacent to Dog Mountain.

Someone please explain to the public the rationale why the Port Authority Fire Boat was rejected by the Forest Service or why the only helicopter that was making any progress on the first day was sent packing?

Why wasn’t the fire boat in use daily? Water puts out fires, not shovels and hoes and especially fire bombs as were apparently used.

I have talked to many logging managers and former fire bosses that totally disagree with how this fire was dealt with.

There should be an enquiry.

Bob Cole,

Port Alberni


About time

for living wage

To the Editor,

Kudos to the City of Vancouver for opting to create a liveable wage policy for its workers.

It would be a boon if this inspired the provincial government to raise welfare rates, which affect many communities all over B.C.—especially populated with clients on disability who, though unable to work, still contribute to the fabric of the community in other (often volunteerism) ways.

Unfortunately, I don’t hold out much hope for a provincial government that expects aging clients on disability to live on an average of $950/month.

Do the math:  According to a regular 40-hour work week (or 160 hours per month), an income of $950/month works out to $5.94 per hour.

Is it any wonder the provincial government balks at raising the minimum wage, when they know people can survive (albeit just) on the equivalent of $5.94/hour?

So good luck with this sane new approach, Vancouver.

As 2006 Nobel Peace prize recipient, Muhammed Yunus said: “Poverty is not created by poor people. It is created by the concepts and institutional arrangements under which people live.”

Liz Stonard,

Port Alberni


Reinstate Casavant

To the Editor,

We are writing with regard to the issue of Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant being suspended without pay for saving the lives of two bear cubs in Port Hardy.  We are ashamed at how wildlife issues are “managed”in this province.

We have witnessed too many deaths of wildlife animals at the hands of conservation officers who are acting in accordance with the policies set out by our provincial government. This on-going slaughter is not missed or ignored by us or many other residents of this province. It is entirely anthropocentric, inhumane and short-sighted to believe that we have the right to exterminate other animals in the name of convenience and economy.

We have spoken personally and at length with many conservation officers and have heard all of the justifications and rationales.

We are two citizens of this province who are outraged at the government’s policies and practices. We are disappointed that anyone would condone the slaughter of these two cubs.

Officer Casavant should be commended for his forward-thinking, progressive, compassionate refusal to carry out such anthropocentric policies.

We salute Officer Casavant for his courage to stand up for what is right and we believe he should not only be immediately reinstated to his job (with back pay), but that he should be promoted to a consultant on the humane, sane and compassionate treatment and stewardship of our wildlife brethren.

Sandi Mikuse and

Claudette Laffey,

Advocates for Urban Wildlife,