Howe Sound residents fear logging plans
Howe Sound is better known for recreation than logging. (REUTERS)
The Gambier Island Conservancy says it’s prepared to take the provincial government to court over plans to sell off sections of the island’s logging rights — with residents demanding the process be stopped and reviewed.
Director of the GIC, Peter Snell, said parts of the island, which can be seen from the Sea-to-Sky Highway about 20 kilometres outside Vancouver, have been slated for logging and alleged that’s despite improper consultation with local communities and stakeholders.
Snell said the two lots proposed for logging and an existing woodlot would mean 25% of the island would be logged, and those who live on or use the island were never asked for input on the plan.
“They didn’t come and talk to the neighbours who were directly affected, they didn’t talk to the Gambier Island Community Association,” he said.
He said when his group asked the ministry to allow them to give input they were told the province would discuss the plan in detail after the licenses were granted, which he says could be too late.
Snell’s concerned the hiking trails in the area will be expanded and used as logging roads and worries about the view tourists will get from the highway of areas logged.
The ministry said there will be a public information meeting Thursday night in West Vancouver, then Friday in Horseshoe Bay regarding woodlot licenses. The ministry insisted it has followed all regulations when it comes to public consultation.
“Given all the concerns being raised and confusion about the process, and as sign of good faith and to build trust, the public information meeting/drop-in will help concerned individuals better understand the woodlot process,” said the ministry.
It also said the woodlots will not be clear cut.
But Snell said Victoria is effectively consulting after they’ve already decided what areas will be logged and are now just trying to bulldoze the plan through.
“The underlying assumption that the best use for Gambier is to log it, we think that’s wrong,” said Snell. “There’s a lot of conflict in the area, there’s a lot of things they haven’t taken into account.”