Face-to-face meetings needed on Six Mountains

Face-to-face meetings needed on Six Mountains

I prefer direct feedback availability

Face-to-face meetings needed on Six Mountains

Thanks for listening to our concerns about our precious Six Mountains and our community forests.

I applaud council for having this discussion with the public and realize the future of our community forest is a complex, democratic process.

However, I’m disappointed no basic feedback link is posted on the municipality’s website. Consultation certainly need not be complex.

I prefer direct feedback availability, such as letters plus ongoing, small face-to-face meetings — definitely with all medically recommended COVID-19 restrictions and safeguards, including mandatory masking.

I’m most worried the pandemic is a convenient way to avoid public input through safeguarded, yet necessary meetings.

There is no reason council and staff cannot be holding summer pubic meetings outside, perhaps under tents on public land, to help determine the best use of our forests for all folks concerned.

Our mayor has made it clear council will strive to gather as much democratic input as possible for those best uses. That means lots of input, not more studies and a complicated process.

I also have problems with logging continuing on our mountains during our long-overdue consultation process. I do understand council has decided to honour previous logging contracts during our review process.

How much is being logged — apparently using small-patch clear cuts — and for how long, and by whom?

Without more direct input streams, our consultation process could be seen as mere greenwash, allowing a review-and-resume scenario concerning our traditional logging model.

That would be an exercise in frustration for all, and not what I believe was promised by council.

Please add an e-letter input spot on our forest review page.

Please organize and advertise open, COVID-safe public meetings as soon as possible as described above.

Please advertise more in our local media about the consultation, those meetings, and how to email or snail-mail our input.

Please let me know if I should be directing my letters and concerns to anyone else, and I will gladly do so.

Again, thanks for all you and your team are doing.

Peter W. Rusland,

North Cowichan