Dear Editor:

A property near me recently went up for sale and sold shortly thereafter. I knew the piece of land but didn’t think too much about the sale, until I heard that it been sold to an individual with a history of buying up large parcels in the East Kootenay and then logging them with seeming little regard to proper forestry practices. The spring that supplies the water for three Columbia Lake communities is on this property, and Hardy Creek that feeds Columbia Lake originates there. Knowing there is little regulation to control logging practices on private land, I began calling and emailing all levels of government – local RDEK Area Directors, the MP, the MLA and people in the Ministry of Forests Lands and Natural Resource Operations. I learned that there is nothing that can be done at Provincial or Federal levels until after damage was done to the water source. At the Regional level, the riparian area around the creek is protected as an environmentally sensitive area in the Fairmont and Columbia Lake Official Community Plan. As a protected area, any logging or vegetation removal requires a Development Permit (DP). 

Logging of the land began on Friday, and to my knowledge, no DP was applied for. I’ve filed a complaint with the RDEK, but at this point, I’m unsure of the outcome, and I’m not very hopeful that it will be positive or effective. 

Can you join me in:

-writing letters to the Honourable Katrine Conroy, Minister of FLNRORD and to Premier John Horgan asking that the province amend the Private Managed Forest Land Act to bring it in line with regulations and forestry practices on crown land. (I can supply a template letter if required)

-Petition the RDEK to adopt bylaws to regulate private land logging and/or to provide more effective enforcement when landowners disregard the regulations protecting ESA’s

Our forests supply important wildlife habitat and movement corridors. They clean the air we breathe. They keep our watersheds healthy. They deserve a better level of protection than that which is currently in place. 

Tracy Flynn, Fairmont