On December 7, at a meeting with our MLA Nicholas Simons, Elphinstone residents were assured that the Minister of Forests had verbally committed to delaying ‘harvesting’ of District Lot 1313 (also known as the Reed Road Forest) until the SCRD can meet with BC Timber Sales. However, as of the December 13 SCRD board meeting, the SCRD had not received any written communications from the Minister’s office, so I made the following motion, which was passed by the board. (See below or read the full Notice of Motion, including background, or listen to the audio recording of the meeting.)
That the SCRD Board write immediately to the Premier and Cabinet requesting an immediate Cabinet Order be issued, pursuant to Section 7 of the Environment and Land Use Act, to suspend the pending auction of Timber Sale License A91376 on January 1, 2019, in order to protect the property from any changes until the Regional District determines policy for properties in the urban/rural interface on the lower Sunshine Coast.
AND that the Chair be directed to contact by phone the Hon. Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (FLNRORD) to advise him of the letter, provide him with an overview of the situation, and ask him to intervene on the side of caution to postpone the January 1, 2019 auction to provide the SCRD with time to formulate policy.
AND that the Chair be directed to report the results of the conversation to the rest of the Board before the start of the 2018 December holiday break.
The board has also approved travel expenses for myself and Chair Lori Pratt to go and meet with the Minister. I’d like to express my appreciation to my fellow board members for their support.
For those interested in the background of the SCRD’s attempts to intervene with BC Timber Sales re logging of Block 1313, please see this detailed Planning report presented by staff at the Dec. 13 Planning Committee meeting.
While we were in this meeting, heavy rains were falling across the coast, and Russell Road washed out due to heavy flow in Shirley Creek. This creek is part of the system that drains down the mountain through Block 1313. It’s clear that we already have drainage problems without logging.
The board is also pressing for a review of land use policies for the Mount Elphinstone portion of the Chapman Landscape Unit. We’ve had a number of conflicts over logging in what FLNRORD calls the “Community Interface Area“. A consultation is needed between the community and BC Timber Sales to come to agreement on activities in that area.