Tourism operators are expressing dismay over a BC Timber Sales decision to green-light logging on Maurelle Island.
“We’re very disappointed,” said Ralph Keller, spokesman for the Discovery Islands Marine Tourism Group. “All we ever asked for was a temporary halt to logging in three critical corridors until all the local stakeholders could get together and work out a land use plan.”
However, in spite of meetings with government forestry bureaucrats, BC Timber Sales went ahead and recently awarded two auction contracts to JWM Forestry to harvest cutblocks of 105,241 cubic metres and 47,833 cubic metres on Maurelle.
The tourism group fears logging in the lower Okisollo Channel will result in unsightly clearcuts that will disappoint tourists and will spread a negative message about coastal B.C.
The group represents 15 tourist-related businesses in the Discovery Islands which contribute millions of dollars annually to the local economy.
“It’s only fair we get more than lip service when it comes to forestry management,” said Keller.
However, he said most of their concerns were ignored and the meetings were fruitless.
“We’re pretty unhappy,” said Keller who is unsure of what more they can do. “Most of us are in operational mode right now and we can’t get too distracted.”