By: Vernon Morning Star
Cherryville residents are reigniting calls for restricted logging activities on the hills above them after viewing details into a landslide.
Freedom of Information requests have led to the Ministry of Forests releasing investigation and geotechnical reports into a slide that roared down Cherry Ridge and came close to a home in April 2012.
“When we walked up there the next day, we came to the same conclusion as the report,” said Hank Cameron, Cherryville director.
A ministry report indicates that staff were at the slide site May 15, 2012 and “the resulting investigation identified the lack of drainage structures and improper placement of drainage structures directly contributed to the cause of the Cherry Ridge landslide.”
Cameron questions why it took so long for the studies into the slide to be made public.
“Andrew Gage, from West Coast Environmental Law, made this happen. He pursued this for four years,” said Cameron.
“They (ministry) thought we’d give up but we persevered.”
Cameron insists the report fuels residents’ concerns about B.C. Timber Sales wanting to allow logging elsewhere on Cherry Ridge.
“The areas they want to harvest are flat areas on top of steep areas,” he said.
While he says he’s optimistic BCTS may reverse course, Cameron insists there should be a full investigation into a 2004 slide before any logging is allowed to proceed on the ridge.
As a result of the 2012 slide investigation, the ministry assessed $14,500 in penalties against Weyerhaeuser and $12,000 against Tolko Industries.
The companies are defending their actions and are challenging the fines.
“Tolko Industries takes our commitment to environmental stewardship very seriously and exercises due diligence in all of our forest management planning and harvesting activities,” states Vernon-based Tolko.
“We have been notified of the ministry’s determination and have filed an appeal of the administrative decision with the Forest Appeals Commission. Tolko will be reserving further comment until the Forest Appeals Commission’s appeal process is complete.”
Weyerhaeuser is taking a similar stance.
“Weyerhaeuser has filed an appeal with the B.C. Forest Appeals Commission for a review of the decision. We have not heard yet when the appeal will be heard. Until the appeal has been heard and a decision made, we will not comment,” it states.