Jason Leus of the Ymir Community Watershed Society holds a letter sent to Premier John Horgan and Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources. The letter alleges six ways BC Timber Sales has failed to address concerns about logging in the Quartz Creek watershed, which is Ymir’s only water source. Photo: Tyler Harper

Ymir watershed society appeals to Premier Horgan

A letter to Premier John Horgan alleges BC Timber Sales has acted unfairly in its conduct

Ymir residents are taking their concerns about proposed logging in their watershed to Premier John Horgan.

In a letter released Thursday, the Ymir Community Watershed Society details what it refers to as “procedural unfairness” in its communications with BC Timber Sales (BCTS) regarding development plans in the Quartz Creek watershed.

BCTS has said it plans to log in the area of the watershed, which is Ymir’s only water source.

“It is very clear that our concerns are not being heard by local BC Timber Sales staff in Castlegar, and so we’re appealing to a higher level of government,” said society spokesperson Jason Leus.

The letter, which was also addressed to Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources and can be seen at the bottom of this story, alleges six ways BCTS has failed to address local concerns. They include:

• BCTS has not considered or committed to an alternate water source for the community if logging damages Quartz Creek. Leus said a short-term emergency plan drafted before Christmas only details day-to-day operations and doesn’t address secondary water supplies or forest fire contingencies.

• BCTS has continued to operate as though the development is inevitable.

“We’re talking about a process of engagement with the community of Ymir and a complete disregard for that process,” said Leus. “If at the beginning of the process we are told it’s not a case of if but when, it clearly illustrates that there is in fact no process.”

• BCTS is not using site-specific hydrometric data to assess Quartz Creek, and has also rejected the society’s proposal to apply for funding to pay for an independent assessment. Leus said BCTS used data from 14 other watersheds for its own assessment.

“The conclusion is that everything is going to be fine. But again, there’s no contingency plan and it is Ymir’s only source of potable and fire hydrant water. So without it, we have no Ymir.”

• BCTS has not communicated with the public and told the society it would be too costly to pay for assessment authors Alan Bates and Lars Uunila to answer written questions about their work.

• All the risk of the plan is entirely on Ymir, and that a BCTS employee suggested in the event logging affects water supply that “residents could adapt by reducing their individual water consumption.”

To illustrate how little water Ymir currently has, Leus, a volunteer firefighter, said the current supply could be entirely expended on a single residential house fire.

“We are dealing with the least possible amount of supply we can get by with currently. If our supply is damaged or reduced at all by quantity, we’re in dire straits.”

• Finally, that BCTS did not consider the 5,000-plus letters it received during a referral period from June to August 2017, and that only 60 were responded to.

Leus said a new BCTS plan changes the proposed road network, which requires another referral process. The deadline for feedback is Feb. 9.

The Star forwarded the letter to BCTS timber sales manager George Edney. In response, a spokesperson for the forestry ministry said in an email that BCTS has a meeting scheduled with the society and the Regional District of Central Kootenay on Feb. 12.

The email confirmed two assessments have already been done, and that a third focused on the potential for acid rock and mineralized drainage is underway, but did not specifically reply to the letter’s allegations.

Leus said he hopes the society’s letter puts Ymir’s battle on the provincial stage.

“There is a fundamental injustice at work here where the community of Ymir is forced to take all of the risk from this project while BCTS and the province of British Columbia is getting all the gain, all the reward. This is one of the most upsetting things about this thing.”

Related:

Green Party MLA talks watersheds with Ymir residents

Lower Kootenay Band pledges support for Ymir watershed

VIDEO: Ymir residents decry planned watershed logging



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Ymir letter sent to Premier John Horgan by Tyler Harper on Scribd

Just Posted

BCTF rejects mediator’s recommendations for settlement

Negotiations between B.C. teachers and the province will continue

Mallory’s motivation reaches new horizons

Motivational speaker Alan Mallory brings inspirational talk to Invermere this Friday, November 8th

One win, one overtime loss for Rockies last weekend

Next home games this Friday and Saturday at the Eddie

Powerful powwow performance

Nimihitowin! performs to a full house at Columbia Valley Centre

Canal Flats Council October 28th

Meeting includes RCMP update from Sgt. Kakuno

VIDEO: Hong Kong police shoot protester, man set on fire

It was the second protester shot since the demonstrations began in early June

Sportsnet fires Don Cherry after negative comments about immigrants

Don Cherry had said immigrants don’t wear poppies like other Canadians do

Trudeau’s new cabinet: Gender parity because it’s 2019? Or due to competence?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will soon appoint his new cabinet

Canada among three G20 countries least likely to hit emissions targets

It says Canada, South Korea and Australia are the farthest off

Conservatives’ Scheer wants Trudeau to open Parliament Nov. 25

That’s five days after Justin Trudeau is scheduled to swear in a new cabinet

Last remaining Centurion tank from the Korean War makes its journey ‘home’ to B.C.

Tank arrives in B.C. the day before Remembrance Day after a more than 4,500-kilometre transfer

‘Your vehicle burns a lot of fuel:’ Victoria drivers wake up to angry notes

‘This handbill was left on your vehicle because your vehicle burns a lot of fuel,’ notes read

Canadians mark Remembrance Day this morning

This year exactly 101 years to the day after the end of the First World War

Devils strike early, hang on for 2-1 win over Canucks

Vancouver now 0-8-3 in last 11 games versus New Jersey

Most Read