Dear Editor:

In last week’s paper, I wrote about my frustration with Private Land Logging procedures and lack of regulations. I’m writing today to tell you about some progress being made. The landowner of the parcel by Columbia Lake is working with the RDEK and Wildsight to ensure the Hardie Creek watershed and the spring that supplies the water to three lakeside communities is protected. I’m very grateful to all who helped accomplish this.

The question remains though – Why did this take a month worth of emails and phone calls, a complaint to the RDEK, consideration of court injunctions and logging site stakeouts? Logging in the Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) had started. If private citizens had not been there watching, had the equipment operators and landowner not been understanding and reasonable, what would have happened? Would more of the trees in the ESA now be gone? Would the watershed have been impacted?

Protection of ESAs shouldn’t depend on citizens, RDEK directors and Wildsight advocacy. Legislation should be in place with regulations that are protective of environmental values, which are required to be implemented by the landowner and enforceable.

Again, I’ll implore you to take action by:

-Writing letters to the Honourable Katrine Conroy, Minister of FLNRORD – [email protected], our MLA Doug Clovechok – [email protected] , and to Premier John Horgan – [email protected] asking that the province amend the Private Managed Forest Land Act to bring it in line with regulations and forestry practices on crown land. 

-Contact the RDEK to thank them for their work to date, and for protecting ESAs through their Official Community Plans requirements. Urge them to adopt bylaws to regulate private land logging, increase education efforts around ESAs and to provide more effective enforcement when landowners disregard the regulations protecting ESA’s

To quote Margaret Mead “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has”.

Tracy Flynn, Fairmont Hot Springs