Here’s the feedback I sent to BC Timber Sales re their public consultation on their five year operating plan. Public consultation closed on March 18, 2022.
I am writing to express my deep concerns about BC Timber Sales’ logging plans on the slopes of Mount Elphinstone.
BCTS has heard at length and in great volume from the public in opposition to logging of DL1313, a former watershed reserve. As you may be aware, on February 17 the SCRD board voted to initiate a formal referral to the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation regarding the protection of DL1313, and to ask the Minister to utilize provisions of the Land Act to temporarily address drinking water protection and stormwater management concerns until such time as a comprehensive plan can be put in place.
Aquifer protection and stormwater management have never been more important than they are now. The “atmospheric rivers” that hit the Sunshine Coast during the winter of 2021/22 caused overland flooding the likes of which we have never seen before. We declared a state of emergency as roads washed out, public and private property was damaged by flooding and landslides, and fish-bearing streams were scoured. Please view the photos on my website.
I hike extensively on the slopes of the mountain and have seen the impact of these increasingly severe rainfall events in even the upper reaches of creeks such as Chaster Creek and Langdale Creek. Downstream, the Whittaker Creek washout of Lower Road, which triggered a state of emergency in 2020, continues to worsen.
Area E has chronic severe stormwater issues that no level of government is responsible for resolving. Given this, it is nothing short of reckless to continue logging above our community on an antiquated “business as usual” basis. All logging plans should be re-assessed in light of today’s climate reality, and after assessing the impact of previous logging on downslope conditions.
In particular, logging of cut-block TA0519 will send more stormwater into the feeder streams of Chaster Creek, which already has severe flooding problems. And the block is located in the Gibsons/Elphinstone aquifer, which supplies drinking water to our residents.
I urge you to work with the SCRD and the Town of Gibsons on strategies to manage stormwater and protect the aquifers that residents of this community rely on.
Vice Chair, Area E Director
Sunshine Coast Regional District
CC Mayor Bill Beamish, Nicholas Simons MLA
On March 25, I received the following reply from BCTS:
Thank you for your response. I just wanted to acknowledge receipt of the feedback while I wait direction on the communication stream given the cc’s. I will note at this time, that we have had recent positive meetings with the Town of Gibsons and plan to have further meetings with them in the coming months. We also collaborate with the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation in this area. I have been coordinating with Julie Clark at the SCRD for the Operating Plan feedback and am hoping to have meeting with SCRD staff soon. We do understand the seriousness and significance of hydrology in this area. I will provide a more detailed response to the concerns that are outlined in your email in the coming weeks.
Shawn Tougas, RPF
BC Timber Sales (BCTS)
Chinook Business Area – Sunshine Coast