The B.C. government is pausing a controversial plan to log the protected Rose Swanson Mountain area after residents and local government officials signalled their opposition.
BC Timber Sales will put a hold on the development “to refine its forest stewardship plan,” according to a spokesperson for the Ministry of Forests.
The decision comes after Township of Spallumcheen officials sent a letter to the ministry calling for more consultation before the area — designated as sensitive in 1997 — is subject to any forestry developments. The letter pointed to an online petition to halt the logging that garnered more than 23,000 signatures.
The ministry spokesperson said the forest stewardship plan will be “amended to incorporate revised results and strategies,” adding First Nations and public consultation will be undertaken towards making that amendment.
“(The ministry) will continue to consider information from communities and interested parties while the forest planning process is underway.”
The logging was planned to take place starting next winter and would see Rose Swanson contribute 28 hectares to the annual allowable cut of the Okanagan Timber Supply Area, split up into 10 cutblocks ranging from 0.5 to 7.5 hectares in size.
The ministry did not provide a timeline for how long the pause will be in place. Before the project resumes, Spallumcheen Council has asked that “extensive consultation” be done to ensure the area’s most popular outdoor recreation space is preserved.
“The protection of such a highly respected sensitive area must be at the forefront of any planned logging in the area,” reads Spallumcheen’s letter to the ministry.