Dust again beginning to choke Youbou

Youbou – Open letter to the Honourable Todd Stone, minister of Transportation and Infrastructure: The hot summer and resulting slowdown in logging activity was a welcome reprieve for the people of Youbou. Fewer log trucks, less dust.

But that is changing now. Active logging has resumed and the trucks are rolling again. They come down the hills a long distance on gravel roads and with them comes the dust and when it rains, the mud. At the entrance to Youbou the gravel road ends and the trucks then enter the public road. The dust clouds whipped up by the passing log trucks are covering everything, from houses to cars to gardens. The dust is so fine that it seeps into the cracks in windows and doors and ends up inside the houses. There is so much of it, that it creates a permanent health hazard.

The Youbou residents have endured this unbearable situation for over six years now. They have protested for years, to no avail. Timberwest promised to have a truck wash installed over a year ago. Nothing has happened. A situation like this would never be tolerated close to a big city. Youbou is not a city, we are a small community. We have no jurisdiction over our roads. That responsibility rests with the Ministry of Transport. So far the ministry has failed that responsibility.

Trucks delivering wood chips, sawdust, top soil, etc. are required to cover their load with a tarp. If they are caught without, they are fined.

That same standard should apply to the log trucks. Log trucks coming off the gravel road cause a much greater health and traffic hazard than some wood chips or top soil blown off a truck.

The fact that the Cowichan Valley area has in previous provincial elections voted against the Liberal government probably does not help the situation either. It is understandable that this area might be somewhat neglected because of that.

However, when it comes to the health and welfare of residents, political affiliations or preferences should not matter. The provincial government should not ignore this situation; the ministry should step in and ensure that the roads in Youbou are safe, which includes avoiding a health and

safety problem created by the dust and mud left by the log trucks coming off the gravel road.

Klaus Kuhn

Youbou