East Creek is adjacent the Brooks Peninsula

East Creek is adjacent the Brooks Peninsula

Five-month wait for logging plan has Sierra Club crying foul on the north Island

Lemare Lake Logging says its operations at East Creek near Brooks Peninsula have been by the book, forests ministry unconcerned

The provincial government is rejecting an environmental watchdog’s claim that a north Island logging firm is effectively engaging in “covert” logging of an old growth forest on the northwest coast.

And it plans to take no action at this time in response to a Sierra Club request that the operation be put on hold until Lemare Lake Logging shares its plan for harvesting in the East Creek area adjacent Brooks Peninsula.

Provincial laws require that such plans be made available to anyone who asks and Sierra Club campaigner Mark Worthing said logging site plans are routinely requested and routinely provided by most logging firms, often by email.

“It’s pretty regular. Most of the bigger outfits just post their plans online,” he said.

That’s why he was surprised when an initial inquiry to see the East Creek plan in December was met with what he described as suspicion and a five-month song-and-dance of corporate requests for credentials, Sierra Club requests for MLA and ministry intervention, refusals to provide documents by email or fax, unreturned messages, cancelled appointments and inflexibility in scheduling a meeting.

“And (they) flat out refused to provide plans when a concerned community member arrived at the office asking to see site plans,” Worthing said.

Lemare  general manager Eric Dutcyvich said by email that he was unavailable for an interview with Black Press but added readers can be assured the firm is doing everything by the book.

“As is our standard practice, we are following all of the forest stewardship guidelines and regulations that govern our operations. This includes giving the public the opportunity to view our site plans within a reasonable time,” he said.

An emailed statement from the Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resource Operations communications department indicated ministry staff have been in contact with the firm about these concerns.

“It is the ministry’s understanding that Lemare Lake Logging has made the site plans available,” the email states. “We are under the impression that Sierra Club and Lemare Lake Logging had scheduled a meeting.”

According to the ministry, it has never investigated a complaint regarding access to site plans. Making plans available is considered important and refusal to comply can result in a fine of up to $10,000.

“Logging is occurring on Crown land, therefore the public has a right to know how those public lands are being managed,” the email reads.

But Worthing said the Sierra Club is still waiting.

“How many months would you attempt to acquire plans from a company you were legally entitled to before you gave up?” he said. “I’m quite busy, and don’t have time to pester and pester a company that is in non-compliance. In my opinion, that’s the government’s job.”

He said the Sierra Club requested the plans after a visit to the area. East Creek is part of what the club describes as the largest remaining ancient rainforest on northern Vancouver Island. The club is actively lobbying to protect the Island’s remaining old growth from what it considers lack of proper stewardship.

The ministry states inspectors have made more than 10 visits to the site and discovered a few non-compliance issues regarding roads and timber marking that have been addressed by the licensee.

“It seems like they know they’ll get something less than a slap on the wrist while they buy themselves more time to log like there is no tomorrow in East Creek,” Worthing said. “I expect better behaviour from companies logging crown-land ancient rainforest, and governments meant to regulate that.”

A formal complaint has been filed with the BC Forest Practices Board.

 

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

Just Posted

Saskatoon resident liajah Pidskalny poses with his bike near the University of Victoria after putting on thousands of kilometres to raise awareness of the overdose and mental health crisis. (Courtesy Iliajah Pidskalny)
Saskatoon cyclist winds up mental health and overdose awareness ride in Victoria

Iliajah Pidskalny braves prairie winter conditions to get word out to communities

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich police seek suspect after woman nearly robbed while getting out of vehicle

Incident occurred before 7 a.m. Feb. 17 in parking lot off Cordova Bay Road

BC Ferries experienced heavy traffic on Feb. 27 following cancellations the day before due to strong winds and adverse weather. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries sailings fill up quickly after cancellations on Friday due to high winds

Waits expected on Swartz Bay-Tsawwassen route, Horseshoe Bay-Departure Bay route

Gabriel Swift, 23, is one of three Victoria filmmakers chosen to receive $20,000 Telus Storyhive grants to produce Local Heroes documentaries. (Courtesy of Gabriel Swift)
Three Victoria filmmakers producing ‘local heroes’ documentaries with $20,000 grants

Telus Storyhive providing $20,000 to 40 Western Canada productions

Goldstream Food Bank president Gayle Ireland is the Goldstream Gazette’s 2021 Local Hero as Community Volunteer of the Year. (Don Denton/Black Press Media)
Two-week stint at Goldstream Food Bank turns into 35 years of volunteer service

Goldstream Food Bank’s Gayle Ireland is the 2021 Community Volunteer of the Year

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Most Read