In response to concerns, a TimberWest official says the company is doing more than required by regulations to help protect the Englishman River as it logs in the area.
“Beyond meeting all applicable federal and provincial regulations, we took additional precautions around the riverside by adding a reserve area of at least 15 metres, together with an additional buffer zone of up to 25 metres,” said Monica Bailey, TimberWest Director of communications and engagement, by e-mail.
She said the “unharvested buffer width ranges from 15 to 40 meters,” and that the company is scheduled to meet with Errington biologist Jessica Snider, whose concerns were featured in the May 31 edition of The NEWS.
“Every harvest area requires a plan that includes harvest, to operations, to regeneration and everything in between, and every step of the way professional foresters, a registered professional biologist, geo-technicians and environmental monitors are part of the process and oversee the plan,” Bailey said.
She pointed to the company’s “incredibly long history in the Englishman River,” including entering into a covenant with the Nature Trust to preserve a 10-hectare parcel in 2003 and “we also conveyed an additional parcel of land which is now the Englishman River Regional Park.”
“When concerned citizens reach out we always listen,” Bailey said, adding she didn’t receive a message from
The NEWS as indicated in the previous story and she’s happy to address concerns.
She pointed to a post on the company website from TimberWest president and CEO Jeff Zweig explaining the company is harvesting approximately 70 hectares of second-generation forest in the area, which is expected to take about a month from mid-May to mid-June.
“We understand that there have been some concerns raised and we want to assure you that we are sensitive to our role in protecting riverside ecosystems and habitat,” Zweig wrote, adding that the company has engaged with immediate neighbours.
“The area currently being harvested will be re-planted in the spring of 2017 and will become a third growth forest.”
Snider said she was concerned that TimberWest appeared to be logging up to the single row of trees required by the province to be left, pointing to a comparison that Regional District of Nanaimo property owners are required to leave a 30-metre buffer along watercourses on their property.
In 2009 the Union of B.C. Municipalities passed a City of Parksville resolution asking the government to review their regulations and adopt stricter rules for logging close to waterways.