Cherryville’s fight against a logging road is going regional.
The Regional District of North Okanagan board instructed staff Wednesday to contact member jurisdictions if they will write letters of support for the community which is concerned B.C. Timber Sales’ plans for a road and ultimate logging on Cherry Ridge could cause landslides.
“Residents are frightened about the potential consequences of the road and slides,” said Juliette Cunningham.
“When a community is ignored, it’s important for the greater (RDNO) membership to be involved. We need to support them any way we can.”
Besides letters, it’s expected many regional politicians will attend a public meeting at the Cherryville Community Hall Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. to discuss BCTS and the next course of action.
“We support the concerns out there,” said Rick Fairbairn, RDNO chairperson, who hopes middle ground can be found.
“The community has put BCTS on notice and BCTS will have to make every effort to comply.”
BCTS officials have insisted that proper soil and hydrological assessments have been done and there is no risk of a slide impacting residents in the valley bottom.
However, many Cherryville residents aren’t convinced a thorough review has been done.
“We’ve asked them to hold off on the road construction until we did an assessment on our own. They refused,” said Eugene Foisy, Cherryville director.
“A portion of the government is bullying a community that has concerns. They should be willing to listen to the community.”
Foisy says Cherryville depends economically on logging and residents aren’t opposed to harvesting, but he insists it must be done sustainably and not pose a threat.
“They won’t log until the fall of 2015 so why start the road construction now?” he said.
Unless a compromise can be found, Foisy admits some Cherryville residents may attempt to block construction crews at the site as they did last month.
“I’m afraid of where it could go,” he said of potential protests.
BCTS representatives and Vernon-Monashee MLA Eric Foster have been invited to attend the Nov. 13 meeting.