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Letter: Stop clear-cutting in watersheds

Peachland’s businesses have been devastated first by water problems, and now by a drop in visitors

To the editor:

Peachland has a water problem as do many Okanagan towns.

This year, Peachland declared a state of emergency due to a mudslide located near logging roads; a boil water advisory (a record four months, with the ban just lifted); flooding of streams and Okanagan Lake (due partially to man-made deforestation of our town’s watershed).

Peachland’s businesses have been devastated first by the water problems, and now by a dramatic drop in visitors.

People may be surprised to learn that clear cut logging comprises 97 per cent of all logging in the Okanagan. Clear cuts create flooding, as they lose precipitation (rain and snow melt) 40 per cent quicker than a canopied forest, resulting in greater peak flow and flooding.

While the province mandates Peachland provide safe drinking water for its citizens, it does not permit the town any authority in the watershed, the source of our drinking water. Unchecked activities in our watershed (and probably yours) currently include logging, cattle ranging, mining and recreational use including ATVs and dirt bikes.

If left up to the discretion of the provincial government, small community watersheds are destined to become vast areas of mono-culture tree farms with cattle grazing, devoid of all other wildlife. Water quality, tourism and land values are in serious threat of decline, and our most precious resource, water, is left unprotected.

We are asking governments to consider a pause on clear cut logging in our watersheds, until there is clear evidence of sustainability in our water management.

Joe Klein, Chair

Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance