East Creek is adjacent the Brooks Peninsula

Five-month wait for logging plan has Sierra Club crying foul on the north Island

Lemare Lake Logging says its operations at East Creek near Brooks Peninsula have been by the book, forests ministry unconcerned

The provincial government is rejecting an environmental watchdog’s claim that a north Island logging firm is effectively engaging in “covert” logging of an old growth forest on the northwest coast.

And it plans to take no action at this time in response to a Sierra Club request that the operation be put on hold until Lemare Lake Logging shares its plan for harvesting in the East Creek area adjacent Brooks Peninsula.

Provincial laws require that such plans be made available to anyone who asks and Sierra Club campaigner Mark Worthing said logging site plans are routinely requested and routinely provided by most logging firms, often by email.

“It’s pretty regular. Most of the bigger outfits just post their plans online,” he said.

That’s why he was surprised when an initial inquiry to see the East Creek plan in December was met with what he described as suspicion and a five-month song-and-dance of corporate requests for credentials, Sierra Club requests for MLA and ministry intervention, refusals to provide documents by email or fax, unreturned messages, cancelled appointments and inflexibility in scheduling a meeting.

“And (they) flat out refused to provide plans when a concerned community member arrived at the office asking to see site plans,” Worthing said.

Lemare  general manager Eric Dutcyvich said by email that he was unavailable for an interview with Black Press but added readers can be assured the firm is doing everything by the book.

“As is our standard practice, we are following all of the forest stewardship guidelines and regulations that govern our operations. This includes giving the public the opportunity to view our site plans within a reasonable time,” he said.

An emailed statement from the Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations communications department indicated ministry staff have been in contact with the firm about these concerns.

“It is the ministry’s understanding that Lemare Lake Logging has made the site plans available,” the email states. “We are under the impression that Sierra Club and Lemare Lake Logging had scheduled a meeting.”

According to the ministry, it has never investigated a complaint regarding access to site plans. Making plans available is considered important and refusal to comply can result in a fine of up to $10,000.

“Logging is occurring on Crown land, therefore the public has a right to know how those public lands are being managed,” the email reads.

But Worthing said the Sierra Club is still waiting.

“How many months would you attempt to acquire plans from a company you were legally entitled to before you gave up?” he said. “I’m quite busy, and don’t have time to pester and pester a company that is in non-compliance. In my opinion, that’s the government’s job.”

He said the Sierra Club requested the plans after a visit to the area. East Creek is part of what the club describes as the largest remaining ancient rainforest on northern Vancouver Island. The club is actively lobbying to protect the Island’s remaining old growth from what it considers lack of proper stewardship.

The ministry states inspectors have made more than 10 visits to the site and discovered a few non-compliance issues regarding roads and timber marking that have been addressed by the licensee.

“It seems like they know they’ll get something less than a slap on the wrist while they buy themselves more time to log like there is no tomorrow in East Creek,” Worthing said. “I expect better behaviour from companies logging crown-land ancient rainforest, and governments meant to regulate that.”

A formal complaint has been filed with the BC Forest Practices Board.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Colwood eyes upgrades to recreation area near Lookout Lake Dam

Upgrades to dam estimated to be complete before end of year

Victoria society purchases addiction recovery home after year of fundraising

Umbrella Society’s Foundation House is a second stage house for men in active recovery

Victoria dealer sells Batmobile replica at Arizona auction

Tim Quocksister sells Batmobile replica for $165,000 US at auction in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Eight people arrested on Pandora after enforcement order issued

Those living in homeless camps were given until May 20 to move indoors

When crisis hits: How West Shore RCMP have dealt with the pandemic

More front-line officers on road in mobile offices

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Bike shops busier than ever, but owners worry about stock supply issues

Uptick in cyclists brings new challenges for shops

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Most Read