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Cherryville opposes harvesting plan
Cherryville residents fear they may lose access to an area they deem sensitive environmentally and economically.
B.C. Timber Sales, a government agency, is currently seeking input on possibly allowing 209 hectares in the North Fork area to be sold off for timber harvesting.
“We’ve been working on expanding the community forest into this area,” said Eugene Foisy, Cherryville’s regional district director.
If the process proceeds, the 209 hectares could include eight new cutblocks, as well as a 6.5-kilometre road to allow for harvesting.
“We’re quite concerned. If it’s going to be logged, it needs to be done selectively,” said Foisy, adding that he is opposed to clearcuts in the Cherry Creek watershed.
The Cherry Ridge Management Committee administers the community forest and has been discussing an expansion with MLA Eric Foster.
As a result, the prospect of the TSA going to auction came as a surprise.
“The referral came on Christmas Eve,” said Hank Cameron, management committee president.
The community forest covers 1,500 cubic metres of timber that is selectively logged.
“They (BCTS) take all of the easy high-value timber whereas if we manage it, we have a lower footprint,” said Cameron, adding that the land identified by the BCTS has specific issues to consider.
“There is a history of (soil) instability and it’s above private land.”
The BCTS wants input on its proposal by Jan. 31 and Cameron anticipates many Cherryville residents will have something to say.
“There definitely will be outrage,” he said.
According to the Ministry of Forests, the North Fork area is managed under a forest stewardship plan as part of BCTS’s long-term sustainable timber harvesting plans.
“Prior to putting timber up for auction, BCTS conducts extensive review of each project with a particular focus on limiting potential environmental impacts,” says the ministry in a statement.
“Regarding the area, BCTS is just in the planning stages and is willing to meet to address any concerns or proposals. No timber sale licences have yet been put up for auction.”
Foster is monitoring the Cherryville situation closely.
“I will be touching base with the ministry and I appreciate the concerns of the Cherry Ridge Management Committee,” he said.
“I supported the committee’s plan to expand the community forest because it’s done an excellent job of managing the community forest.”