Kimberley City Council received a delegation from BC Timber Sales on Monday evening at their regular meeting regarding the use of 4th Avenue for log hauling from a cut block in the Mark Creek Watershed.
Steve Knowles and George Edney of BC Timber Sales visited to try to get Council on board with 130 loads of logs coming down 4th Avenue this winter. There are two blocks of timber proposed for sale in the watershed. One will be hauled out through Low Pass, the other through Townsite.
This would not be the first time logs were hauled out this way, there have been numerous loads taken out on 4th Avenue since 2007.
Knowles said that BC Timber Sales were prepared to monitor road conditions, and abide by load restrictions.
However, in preliminary negotiations, City staff indicated they would be looking for a deposit.
“We don’t think this is manageable,” Knowles said. “How would you adjudicate it? The City also wants weight restrictions. In winter that’s not reasonable.”
Knowles also said BC Timber Sales was looking for a quick decision.
“We have already built the roads into that block. We need to move the wood.
“We want to be proactive with the City. There is a plan in place to monitor and historically that route has had industrial traffic.”
Edney added that if an agreement couldn’t be reached with the City, BC Timber Sales would have to build a road through the watershed.
“That’s what will happen. You don’t want to risk that side of things.”
Coun. Albert Hoglund said that last time there were logs hauled out through 4th Avenue there were concerns about noise and the time of day some of the hauling took place. He also said that there was a history of industrial traffic when the Sullivan Mine was open but that Cominco was paying industrial taxes at the time.
After the delegation presented, Council had a more detailed discussion, and it was clear there was an appetite for getting some kind of monetary contribution from BC Timber Sales.
“It’s one of our major roads and it’s not in great shape,” said Coun. Darryl Oakley. “130 big logging trucks have a huge potential to chew up the road.”
The potential need to repave the road was the issue, Oakley said, and he wasn’t comfortable that the damage would be visible until spring, by which time the deposit, should there be one, would already have been returned.
City CAO Scott Sommerville said that the St. Mary Road was paved with logging money, because CanFor was willing to pay for upgrades.
“It’s a tough way to do business, but I don’t see the benefit of 130 logging trucks on our road.”
Oakley continued to worry about the risk of damaging the road.
“I appreciate it’s business and jobs but it’s our road. I’m disappointed in the delegation. I thought they were going to offer to help. Part of their business plan should be helping pay for the road.”
Hoglund said it was unlikely weight restrictions would work.
“You put on weight restrictions and instead of 130 trucks, you have 260. I think we should say we want a deposit.”
“I don’t like a deposit,” Oakley said. “It will be frozen and we wont’ see the damage before we give it back. I think they should pay.”
“We offered a rate they should pay, then softened it to a deposit, then they didn’t like the deposit,” Sommerville said.
Having made their feelings on the matter quite clear, Council has directed staff to hammer out a deal with BC Timber Sales.