Coun. Justice calling for pause in municipal logging plans for Stoney Hill

North Cowichan councillor calls for public discussions

Christopher Justice wants the Municipality of North Cowichan to stop its logging plans in the Stoney Hill area until a community discussion is held on the issue.

Justice, a newly elected councillor in North Cowichan, put forward a notice of motion on the issue at the council meeting on Dec. 5 and it’s expected it will be put on the agenda to be discussed at the next council meeting, scheduled for Dec. 19.

Justice said North Cowichan’s entire 5,000-hectare Municipal Forest Reserve is a “great gem” whose future he also would like to be part of the public discussions, but he’s currently more focused on Stoney Hill due to the municipality’s plans to log some areas of it, and the fact that much of its lower-altitude section is a unique and rare Douglas fir ecosystem.

He said he’s aware that North Cowichan has been carrying out self-sustaining logging operations in its forest reserve for years that cover maintenance costs of the reserve, as well as adding revenues to municipal coffers.

RELATED STORY: LOGGING PART OF WORKING FOREST

“I’m just saying we should temporarily pause logging in the Stoney Hill area until we have a thorough community discussion on what people want North Cowichan to do there,” Justice said.

“There are a lot of intelligent people in our community who really care about those forests and I believe the municipality can gain a great deal by talking with them. Everyone would benefit from a good and creative, thoughtful discussion on the long-term future of these lands.”

Last month, the Where Do We Stand group, which is also advocating for a pause in logging in the forest reserve until more research and consultations are carried out, was successful in having the construction of a logging road in the Stoney Hill area put on hold after discussions with senior officials in North Cowichan.

RELATED STORY: CONCERNED CITIZENS AIM TO PROTECT N. COWICHAN FOREST RESERVE FROM LOGGING

Justice agrees with the group’s contention that the issue needs to be looked at seriously, not just by the public and loggers, but by experts in biology and arborists and others with special knowledge of the ecosystem and changing climate.

He said managing the forest reserve now also has to consider climate change, and the fact that many parts of the reserve, including the Stoney Hill area, are becoming more popular for recreational uses.

“We had a near disastrous forest fire on Maple Mountain last summer, so we have to recognize that the reserve is at greater risk of forest fires as our summers heat up, and management has to prepare its future plans with this in mind,” he said.

“There’s also the massive growth of recreational use, particularly mountain biking and hiking, in the forest reserve, so we’re seeing a big change from having a working forest with just a few recreational users, that also must be taken into consideration.”



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Chris Istace campaigning in Crofton. (Photo submitted)
Green Party’s Istace apologizes for remark about First Nations gaming grants being a ‘handout’

Candidate determined to do better in thinking and communicating matters of reconciliation

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring says the City Langford has lessons to share on how to deal with social issues. (File photo)
Langford could teach North Cowichan ways to deal with social issues: Siebring

Island city has only eight homeless people, according to last count

Potential designs for 85 Station St. were presented last month to the City of Duncan by the Portland-based architecture and planning firm Communitecture. (Courtesy of Communitecture)
City of Duncan considers applying for grant for Station Street project

New provincial program offers grants of up to $1 million

The bus is free to ride on Oct. 24 so voters can get to the polls to cast their ballots in the provincial election. (Sarah Simpson/Citizen)
Free transit on Election Day in Cowichan

all day and on all regular routes

Painters Jim Tulip, Doug Mackenzie and Gary Henslowe were painting the exterior of the Duncan Butcher Shop and Apple Press printing shop, located between the Trans Canada Highway and Whistler Street, on Oct. 8 as part of neighbourhood painting project. (Robert Barron/Citizen)
Duncan’s Whistler Street sees a fresh lick of paint in opioid battle

Group wants to help clean up community, one street at a time

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Vancouver Island First Nations back Nova Scotia’s Indigenous lobster fishermen

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council calls for action before lives are lost

Skiers line up to start the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race. Photo by Tim Penney
Popular Comox Valley adventure race cancelled for 2021

COVID forces Comox Valley Royal LePage Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race cancellation again

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Sails down, masks up for Ron and Sherry Pryde, who completed a 119 day journey that was supposed to be 70 days. (Zoe Ducklow)
Coast Guard towed rudderless sailors to Port Hardy hours before a powerful storm

Rudderless for a month, the couple zigzagged most the way home with “a few donuts and lazy-eights”

A glimpse of some of the 480 (approx) cars written off as a result of the acid spills along the Trail highway in 2018. Photo: Trail Times
2 years after huge highway acid spill, Kootenay Ford dealer’s frustration grows with ICBC

Trail AM Ford owner Dan Ashman says he just wants fair compensation from ICBC

Most Read