City of Kimberley to object to cutblocks in watershed

Three blocks directly above the reservoir, one will affect a wetland

the City of Kimberley has some concerns with BC Timber Sales logging plans for the Mark Creek watershed.

the City of Kimberley has some concerns with BC Timber Sales logging plans for the Mark Creek watershed.

As reported last week in the Bulletin, Council is concerned with some proposed cutblocks in Mark Creek that they fear will directly affect water quality in Kimberley and potentially lead to the need for a filtration plant. In addition, BC Timber Sales has applied to the province for three cutblocks that they did not include in information sent in a letter to the City of Kimberley.

Council voted at their regular meeting Tuesday night to send a letter to BC Timber Sales in opposition to the proposed cut blocks.

“This isn’t the first time the watershed committee has been at odds with a proposed cut plan,” said Mayor Don McCormick. “There is a process where we object to the plan and there is no cutting until the objection is resolved with BC Timber Sales.”

There are two issues, McCormick says. First, one of the cutblocks is adjacent to wet lands.

“That’s our natural filtration. If you take that away you risk significant danger to the water supply.”

The other issue is the cutblocks proposed directly above the reservoir.

“It’s a very steep slope there,” McCormick said. “It will add to turbidity problems.

“Interior Health is all over us every year with turbidity standards.”

Any problem with either of these two issues could push the City into having to build a $15 to $20 million filtration plant, he said.

“It’s not only the cutting, it’s the road building,” said Coun. Albert Hoglund.

Council discussed ways they could become better versed on all the watershed issues so they would be prepared to speak on them. It was decided that after a scheduled watershed committee meeting the week of February 29, there would be a Committee of the Whole meeting with the committee.

“This is worthy of however ever much time it takes,” McCormick said. “I don’t think anyone on Council doesn’t see this as a serious issue.”

Later McCormick said there was still reason to hope it could all be resolved.

“I think what happened is that there is a new manager at BC Timber Sales and they made some changes. I think it’s a matter of getting in sync with them. Those three cutblocks are not imminent, they are in the five year plan. I don’t think there was any malice intended but the optics are terrible.

“Typically BC Timber Sales would come to the watershed committee and say here’s the plan and the watershed committee would say ‘we don’t want that and here’s why’.  And then they would work it out.

“I still have lots of hope this can be resolved.”