Much ado about… …dust

On average, I pass between eight and 10 logging trucks on my way into Lake Cowichan each morning.

On average, I pass between eight and 10 logging trucks on my way into Lake Cowichan each morning.

This in itself blows my mind because I have never worked, or lived, in a logging community before, but it also speaks volumes to me about why people in this area — Lake Cowichan and Youbou in particular — are so concerned about the dust, debris, and road damage that is left behind or caused by these trucks.

Once again this issue was brought up at the chamber meeting on May 23. Until that meeting, I had been under the impression that only Youbou was having an issue, but the questions or concerns that arose opened my eyes and made me understand that this is an issue for all of the communities that are located around the lake.

However, it also brings questions to mind. These questions I have not had the time to find answers to as of yet, but I would like to come to understand more about the dynamic between the lake’s town and the logging industry.

As an outsider, I have a different perspective on this issue, one that is, as I have said, uninformed. But I find myself wondering how much dialogue there has been between the truck drivers themselves, and the community at large. How do they feel about a wash station? Have they wondered why there are none in place on both the Honeymoon Bay and Youbou sides of the lake? I’m sure these people have ideas and solutions of their own that could be incorporated into the overall discussion and concerns that the towns have.

And what about the logging companies? There has to be some discussion going on. In the last chamber meeting, Mayor Forrest stressed the need to continue the good, working relationships that already exists with these companies, and Coun. Ingram did state that the companies themselves are exploring options for a wash station on the Honeymoon Bay side of the lake. But I’m curious as to what responsibility these companies have in terms of the upkeep of the roads, the dust and debris that is deposited by the trucks as the pass through town, and the health issues that residents are faced with as a result of the dust.

But then there is an overall issue, as I see it. I have had several people tell me that they don’t see the industry lasting much longer in this area. Whether this is due to the fact that contracts are up, or whether it is because the land they are harvesting from has been logged to its capacity, or whether it’s for other reasons that I simply do not know about is beyond my current ability to speak to. But I think that it needs to be looked at.

What are the short and long term realities of the logging industry in this area? I had one person say to me that they thought there would only be logging for another year and a half or so. In that case, is it worth it to worry about the dust and the other issues? Is it in the best interest of the local municipalities to put money into infrastructure like a wash station? And will the industry continue to impact local residents in the long term?

As you can see, I have no answers nor any deep insight to offer, I am merely asking questions and I would love your feedback and information. I don’t think this discussion will be going off the radar of local residents anytime soon.

—editor@lakecowichangazette.com