Claims about ramped up logging need some context

The municipality was obligated, by contract, to allow that work to proceed this year

Claims about ramped up logging need some context

Re: “What is happening with North Cowichan forest review?” (Citizen, May 8)

Ms. Dobell’s letter leaves the impression that North Cowichan has ramped up its logging operations in 2019, a year in which council has notionally indicated there would effectively be a “pause” on active new logging.

She writes that “we are increasing our logging activities 50 per cent over 2017. With blowdown recovery and patch logging we are expecting to log over 16,000 cubic meters in 2019 versus 10,500 cubic meters in 2017.” These numbers need context.

While it is true that we will be taking about 16,000 cubic metres of timber out of the forest this year, it’s important to note that about half of that total consists of logging contracts that were awarded for 2018, but were not completed due to a long and intense fire season last summer. The municipality was obligated, by contract, to allow that work to proceed this year; not doing so could have left us open to legal challenge.

The only “new” harvesting we’re doing this year primarily involves trees that were blown down in last December’s windstorm. This work is important for several reasons; it removes safety hazards in our popular recreation areas, helps reduce fire hazards, and mitigates potential insect infestations.

Al Siebring, mayor

North Cowichan

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