Letter: TimberWest meeting on bypass was a farce

The vast majority of the people who spoke at the meeting were opposed to the bypass.

TimberWest meeting on bypass was a farce

If you watched CHEK news on Monday, or read the article in the Lake Cowichan Gazette Aug. 21, you would have thought TimberWest was planning to solve the mud and dust issue resulting from logging trucks driving through Youbou. Nothing could be further from the truth.

TimberWest opened the meeting with a propaganda slide show telling us how wonderful they were. They then addressed three options: improving the truck wash, paving the road before it gets to Youbou and building a bypass around Youbou thus pushing the problem further down the highway.

The vast majority of the people who spoke at the meeting were opposed to the bypass. It would not reduce the dust, because logging trucks on the gravel bypass would create dust for the entire length of the bypass. This dust would drift downhill into the entire town of Youbou, not just the first couple of kilometers as occurs now. TimberWest also did not mention the safety issues that would occur when the logging trucks would have to cross Youbou Road as they exit the bypass, something that is not required now. Their map of the proposed bypass just seemed to dead-end in the woods without actually coming back onto Youbou Road. How stupid do you think we are?

The mud and dust problem could be solved by paving 10 kilometers of road, before it gets to Youbou and putting the truck wash at the start of the new pavement. The dust would dissipate before the trucks arrived in Youbou. Problem solved.

However, when asked if this bypass was strictly for mud and dust control, Domenico Iannidinardo, TimberWest’s chief forester and VP sustainability, stated no. Thus we can only conclude this “bypass” is really TimberWest’s attempt to access logging operations on the north side of Youbou Road under the guise of doing something for the community. If TimberWest was really interested in the community they would choose not to log this area, which is steep and crossed by a number of seasonal streams. My understanding is that timber companies are not required to leave a riparian area adjacent to seasonal creeks. Because this slope is very steep these creeks are dry in the summer but can become raging torrents in the heavy winter rains.

I have personal experience of logging causing excessive erosion after the headwaters of Kelvin Creek were clear-cut. Thousands of tonnes of gravel were gouged out of my property and dumped downstream onto my neighbour’s property where it changed the course of the creek and killed a number of trees by burying them in up to three feet of gravel.

TimberWest, you control thousands of acres of forest. Leave this little piece alone, pave the road coming into Youbou and do not build a bypass!

Donald Hurst


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