Where Do We Stand is a loose collective of concerned citizens who want to better protect the 5,000-hectare North Cowichan Municipal Forest Reserve from logging. (Submitted)

Concerned citizens aim to protect N. Cowichan municipal forest reserve from logging

Want to put logging on pause

Icel Dobell’s aim is to preserve all 5,000 hectares of North Cowichan’s Municipal Forest Reserve.

Admittedly, her ideal outcome is more stringent than some of the other members of the lose collective of folks from all walks of life that make up the group, Where Do We Stand but the general consensus is there is a lot of value in North Cowichan’s Municipal Forests and that the logging of those forests should be paused until more research and public consultation can be done.

“Many people don’t realize that the municipal forests are owned by the public. Most people think they were owned by private companies and that they have no say,” Dobell said. “We’ve been talking to hundreds of people and people here love the forests. We live in the country for a reason.”

Having organized in opposition to a road on Stoney Hill more than five years ago, it felt natural to reconvene and ask some questions after members of the group came up on a taped route out on Stoney Hill.

“We tried to figure out what they were about and it turned out there was a logging road coming through. It looked like it was an area that didn’t make sense to us but we didn’t know,” Dobell explained.

So they asked.

Members of Where Do We Stand met with senior staff at the municipality this week to talk about the future of the forests and whether the less than $600,000 annual profit made from them was worth the active logging.

SEE RELATED: Preserve municipal forests, don’t log them

Dobell believes it’s just a drop in the bucket of a $64 million annual municipal budget.

And the cost to earn that $600,000 is too high, she added.

“If we do any more clear cutting at all, the cost is going to be exorbitant,” Dobell said. “Invasive species are choking out native plants. Every time you do a little clear-cut you create a little scar and bomb bang, they’re in.”

Plus, Dobell noted, “whatever the cause is, we are in a time of changing climate,” and the native species don’t seem to be growing as well as they once did in this region.

It’s not as easy as just replanting.

“We need to talk about the value of our municipal forests and what they are worth standing alive versus standing as two-by-fours,” she said. “Eco tourism is the next wave and it’s worth a lot of money for future generations and so our forests. If we cut them down, are people going to come to a patchwork forest?”

There’s more to it than that, though, she admitted. It’s extremely complex, she said, and the issue needs to be looked at seriously not just by the public and loggers but by experts in biology and arborists and others with special knowledge of the ecosystem and changing climate.

Dobell said the staff she met with, and it doesn’t matter what their names are because “it’s about the forest not the individuals”, were inviting and receptive.

“They were fantastic,” she said. “They put the logging road on hold for now. We came away feeling very positive.”

What’s more, the Where Do We Stand contingent was invited to present to North Cowichan’s council meeting on Monday, Dec. 19. The meeting begins at 1:30 p.m.

“We’re not protesting, we’re requesting a pause in logging in all of our municipal forests while there’s still time to consider the complexity of climate, environmental, economic and social change occuring,” Dobell explained.

She hopes supporters will join them for Monday’s meeting.



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Business notes: WINGS set to close on Aug. 29

A few of the things going on in Cowichan’s business community

Collision knocks over fire hydrant on Ypres Street

Duncan firefighters quick to get situation under control

Pumps not needed on the Cowichan River this year

Wet year so far has resulted in higher water levels

Pig destined for sanctuary goes missing from Cobble Hill farm

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Captive fawn seized from Island home

Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Bamfield residents, visitors pressure province as anniversary of fatal crash approaches

Letter-writing campaign makes ‘heartfelt, emotional pleas’ to improve road conditions

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read