Some residents of the Painter Barclay area of Campbell River are concerned about logging activity that began this week on the old Elk Falls Mill site, currently owned by Rockyview Resources, Inc.
Rockyview circulated notices to the residents in advance of the logging, which read, in part, “Please be advised that our company will be active along the west side of Orange Point Road starting the week of February 5, 2018, with work crews,” and advised residents that Orange Point Road would therefore be closed between highway 19 and Wood Road between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. while the work takes place.
Residents were also told they would need to notify the on-site attendant before pulling out of their driveways to ensure it was safe to do so.
Many residents expressed their concern to the city, wondering why the logging is being allowed to happen, but were told it’s not the city’s jurisdiction.
Chris White is one of those residents.
“I do not want a clearcut in front of my house and I’m sure others don’t either,” White says. “I’m not against logging but when it’s in front of people’s houses in a small industrial zone, I see no need for it.”
Shaun Scandrett lives on Barclay Road and says he, too, is against the work, saying the wooded area acts as a buffer sheltering the neighbourhood from the noise of the highway “and acts as a local recreation area for area residents who enjoy walking in the forest,” he says. “Most importantly, it provides a very high quality habitat for local fauna as the area has a healthy population of deer, songbirds, eagles, owls, hummingbirds and other animals.”
White made a post on popular Facebook page Campbell River Rant Raves and Randomness calling for people to call the city asking for them to intervene, some of whom said they would, indeed, be making such a call.
But the city says logging activity on private property is overseen by the Managed Forest Council, an independent provincial agency.
“The city is not in a place to intervene with work taking place because these lands are governed by the Private Managed Forest Land Act and the Private Managed Forest Land Council Regulation,” says city manager Deborah Sargent in an email reply to Scandrett’s concerns, adding the city’s development permitting process is not triggered for logging activity on the site.
“We are sorry for the inconvenience and disruption to regular traffic flow,” Sargent says, “and we appreciate that logging would be distressing for local residents who enjoy the forest and want to see habitat maintained for animals living there.”
Residents who contacted the city were advised to instead contact the Managed Forest Council by phone at 250-386-5737 or through the form on their website at mfcouncil.ca/compliance/enquiries-complaints if they have any concerns or questions about the project.
When reached for comment on Monday, White was resigned to the fact that it was, indeed, going forward. He’s still disappointed, however.
“It is what it is, I guess,” White said. “It’s private property, so in the end there’s nothing anyone can do. I just don’t really understand how it’s benefitting them. Hopefully they’ve left enough of it that it will still block some of the noise from the highway.”
Neither the Managed Forest Council nor Rockyview Resources responded to the Mirror’s request for comment.