Watershed issues being resolved

City thanks MLA Norm Macdonald for efforts on their behalf

The City of Kimberley will be sending a letter of appreciation to Columbia River Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald to thank him for his efforts on behalf of the city over their recent concerns regarding logging in the Mark Creek watershed.

“I feel we should thank him for the work he has done,” said Coun. Darryl Oakley. “He went beyond what was required and helped Kimberley out.”

Macdonald met with Minister Thomson to make him aware of the city’s concerns, and Thomson then set up a meeting with BC Timber Sales staff, both provincial and local, which. Macdonald met with both those groups.

The issue arose when Council became concerned with some proposed cutblocks in Mark Creek that they feared would directly affect water quality in Kimberley and potentially lead to the need for a filtration plant. In addition, BC Timber Sales had 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 on February 9, 2016 to send a letter to BC Timber Sales in opposition to the proposed cut blocks. They also reached out to Macdonald for assistance.

“We had a couple of discussions with him (MLA Macdonald) and he certainly knows our feelings on this,” said Mayor Don McCormick, who then told Council that it appeared the situation was being resolved.

“BC Timber Sales seems to have settled back in and are negotiating in good faith with the watershed committee, which is all we expected in the first place.”

Coun. Albert Hoglund, who has sat on the watershed committee for years said the situation was brought to a head by a change in management at BC Timber Sales.

“BC Timber Sales always had two people on the watershed committee and they knew how it operated. The new guy just said, ‘here’s the plan’, not realizing they always brought it to the committee first. If the committee had concerns, changes were made by BC Timber Sales. They listened to us. The new manager did nothing wrong, he just didn’t do what was usually done in the past with the committee. Hopefully, it’s behind us.”

But Hoglund wared that BC Timber Sales was proposing a lot of new cut blocks. “It’s not just the pine beetle they are after anymore, they are going to log.”

BC Timber Sales (BCTS) was founded in 2003 with a mandate to provide the cost and price benchmarks for timber harvested from public land in British Columbia. Through 12 Business Areas and an operational presence in 33 locations, BCTS manages some 20 percent of the provincial Crown allowable annual cut.