Canal Flats council is opposing Canfor’s proposal to log a stand of rare limber pine found on unstable sandy banks below the south face of Mt. Sabine, and within viewing distance of the village.
The location, on the north side of the Kootenay Forest Service Road not far from the village’s cemetery, is viewed by all councillors as a poor place to harvest timber for several reasons.
“The whole southwest end of things, where it’s narrow, I have a major problem with (logging there),” said Coun. Karl Sterzer. “It’s sand, it’s taken a long time for trees to grow there. Also, it’s seen from town. Also, our areas have limber pine, which is under study. It’s only found in two other places in the world, one being Crowsnest Pass, so to me that’s of major concern. I don’t like it at all.”
Council sought an opinion on the landslide risk in the area from public works co-ordinator Bill Doroshuk, who agreed that removing trees up against Baldy (which is how local residents refer to Mt. Sabine) would be a problem.
The matter was brought to the village’s attention in a letter from Canfor’s First Nations and planning co-ordinator Grant Neville. Canfor is required to hear tenure holder and public feedback on proposed forest development activities as part of its Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification.
“Frankly, they’re kind of rubbing it in to us,” said Mayor Ute Juras. “They’re closing (our mill) down, then they’re going to take our trees right outside of town?”
“It’s right up to the sand dunes coming off the river,” added Coun. Marie Delorme. “I’m against this.”
Council agreed to send a response to Canfor and to carbon copy the letter to MLA Norm Macdonald, Minister of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) Steve Thomson and to the Cranbrook-based regional manager for FLNRO.
The letter will emphasize the visual impact of the proposed logging, its proximity to the cemetery, the need to preserve limber pine, and the ground stability and erosion potential of the area.