The option of constructing a new bypass route around Youbou Road for logging trucks is off the table, according to an official from the TimberWest forest company.
Pam Jorgenson, TimberWest’s land-use forester, said the company has heard the community’s concerns and will consider other options to deal with ongoing dust and mud problems on Youbou Road, as well as noise, that are related to logging trucks.
She said TimberWest will work with the Cowichan Valley Regional District and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure to develop new ideas to deal with the issue, as well as strategies to slow public and industrial traffic through Youbou.
But Jorgenson didn’t rule out logging on TimberWest lands in the hills above the community, even though the plan for the bypass route has been dropped.
“The areas will be harvested at some point in the hills above Youbou,” she said.
“Smaller access roads may be required to reach these areas and these roads will be minimized where possible. We have heard the community’s wishes to be kept more informed, and will ensure landowners know of our plans in advance of any harvesting.”
Most in attendance at a town hall meeting in Youbou on Aug. 28 that was organized by TimberWest and the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure were not in favour of the construction of a new bypass route around Youbou Road for logging trucks, and wanted another option to be explored.
Residents raised concerns around landslides, erosion and severe water run-off into Youbou from a new bypass route above the community if the construction of such a route went ahead.
Many at the meeting said their preferred solution is to pave the gravel portion of Youbou Road, which they believe should deal with many of the issues.
Some felt that the real purpose of TimberWest was to build the bypass road mainly so the company could log the hills above Youbou.
Klaus Kuhn, the director for Youbou with the Cowichan Valley Regional District, said he hopes TimberWest doesn’t log on land it owns above Youbou, regardless of the company’s assurances that it would work to make it as unobtrusive as possible.
“The hills above Youbou are beautiful and it would be a crying shame to log them,” he said.
“I hope that we can come up with some kind of agreement with TimberWest where that can be avoided.”
Kuhn said the community has begun a series of meetings in which they are developing a list of recommendations and expectations for TimberWest explaining what the residents want from the company in relation to Youbou.
The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 20.
“Once we have concluded what we want and expect, we’ll meet with TimberWest and government officials to determine the best way to move forward,” Kuhn said.