CSRD director calls forest minister’s response disappointing

CSRD director Loni Parker spoke to the Revelstoke Mountaineer on why the CSRD will continue to campaign for enhanced community consultation regarding the proposed logging in Mount Macpherson's recreational areas.

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A previously harvested area within the Mount Macpherson recreation area. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer

Columbia Shuswap Regional District director Loni Parker says the province’s response to the CSRD board’s appeal for more consultation on logging issues like planned logging in the Mount Macpherson recreation area was “disappointing.”

Parker, whose CSRD electoral Area B encompasses Revelstoke, described the May 13 response letter from Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson as standard.

“He just reiterated what process the industry had done to update us on the procedures,” she said.

“It was disappointing to hear, of course, that he doesn’t think it’s necessary to have any more in-depth planning than what they have and are legislatively required to do.”

In the letter from CSRD chief administrative officer Charles Hamilton, the board had requested “a more meaningful public consultation process be looked at.” Parker explained to the Revelstoke Mountaineer why they will continue their efforts to be heard.

“[The ministry] seem to think there is an opportunity for community consultation in the current process and we can communicate with that,” she said.

“Communication and actually being part of a planning process are two different things.

“What we’re talking about is more in-depth planning, where you don’t comment on what the process is, you all sit down around the table and have a look at what would be the best harvesting process for all aspects of the community, and that includes the recreational attribute,” Parker said.

“The way it’s set up now, sure we can take comments, and they can take it into consideration and continue to do what they want.”

Parker and other CSRD board members met on May 21 and agreed to send another letter to the ministry. The June 4 letter states that communication with the Revelstoke community has been deficient.

“The City of Revelstoke and the Area B Directors both expressed frustration that the community residents are not receiving adequate answers to questions. In fact, residents are not being given an opportunity to pose questions at the community consultation events,” it reads.

“It is suggested that the Ministry and BC Timber Sales needs to be up front in the community consultation and planning process for Revelstoke and Area B as these areas consist of extensive recreational use areas and extensive logging areas.”

The CSRD will wait for another response from the ministry along with the City of Revelstoke, who also sent a letter with their own concerns regarding the issue this year.

“There is still a bit of time, they’re not planning on harvesting that one area until 2016, so it’s one step at a time here,” Parker said.

“We’ll wait for the response and we will see where we have to move from there.”

A response from the forests ministry to a separate letter sent from Revelstoke City Council earlier this year has not yet been discussed at the council table.

For more, see our June 5 story, Mount Macpherson rec area logging: CSRD again requests consultation

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Emily Kemp is a staff reporter for the Revelstoke Mountaineer. She's an experienced news journalist with a background in daily newspapers and radio. Contact Emily by email at emily@revelstokemountaineer.com or by phone at 250-272-1773.