Opposition mounts to logging near Lake Cowichan

A number of groups are voicing opposition to logging plans by Lake Cowichan First Nation

A number of groups and organizations are raising concerns over proposed plans to log in the Lake Cowichan area.

The Lake Cowichan First Nation has a licence to log on Crown land between Lakeview Park and the Cowichan Lake Education Centre, and are considering plans to move forward with the project in the near future.

But logging in the area would negatively impact the local watershed, destroy wildlife habitat and cause irreparable damage to shoreline fish habitat, according to the Cowichan Lake & River Stewardship Society.

“Lakeview forest is one of a very few Cowichan Lake forested areas left that includes 60 to 80-year- old second growth trees and extends to the shore of the lake,” according to CLRSS president Leroy Van Wiren.

“(The logging plan) would negatively impact the ecological services of the forest upland site, the seepage streams and ponds, the sloping riparian area and shoreline, and the lake. It would affect the health of the whole watershed.”

But Aaron Hamilton, the First Nation’s operations manager, said the plan to log the small lot is currently being reviewed by the band’s leadership, and no formal decisions on whether the logging plan will move forward will be made for at least two weeks.

“We’re reviewing our plans and the comments and information that is being provided by the public on this issue, so it will be weeks before we have any formal answers on what our plans will be,” Hamilton said.

But Terri Woolgar, a spokeswoman for Victoria’s Inner Quest Foundation which has been holding retreats at the Cowichan Lake Education Centre since 2001, added that the logging plan, if it moves forward, would do little to further the long-term economy of Lake Cowichan as a potential rich draw for global tourism.

“Logging this area will force us to completely re-evaluate future bookings at the CLEC,” Woolgar said in a letter.

“Should the proposal go ahead, we will absolutely need to look elsewhere for a similar venue.”