Township of Spallumcheen officials are asking the province to halt plans to log the Rose Swanson Mountain area until extensive consultation has been done.
BC Timber Sales has confirmed plans to log more than 28 hectares of Rose Swanson Mountain, cutting four per cent of lands that were designated as sensitive in 1997, starting next winter.
The proposed logging sparked opposition from residents within and outside the community, with a petition to prevent the logging eclipsing 23,000 to date.
Spallumcheen council is aligning itself with those residents. In a letter to BC Timber Sales (BCTS) presented at the township’s Feb. 1 meeting, Mayor Christine Fraser says the “whole community” needs to be part of the consultation process before any harvesting plans move forward.
Fraser quoted a Morning Star article from Jan. 20, in which a Ministry of Forests spokesperson said referral letters had been sent out to First Nations and stakeholders, and meetings had been held with the township, residents and the Armstrong Trail Society.
“Based on this quote, the township council is concerned that consultation with the Township of Spallumcheen, the residents and the Trails Society has concluded,” the letter states. “There was a firm understanding by myself at the meeting held with BCTS … that those present in the meeting would have the opportunity to review the consultation plan prior to it being actioned.”
A ministry spokesperson said Rose Swanson is part of the Okanagan timber supply area and hasn’t contributed to the annual allowable cut in many years. The province has said the planned logging would involve 10 cutblocks ranging from 0.5 to 7.5 hectares in size, using non-clear cutting methods, though the exact locations and methods of the cuts have not been released.
Given Rose Swanson’s status as a sensitive area and the most popular local area for outdoor recreation, Mayor Fraser said harvesting plans must take the forest’s community value into account.
“The protection of such a highly respected sensitive area must be at the forefront of any planned logging in the area.”
The township is requesting the Ministry of Forests to suspend all timber sales related to the Rose Swanson Mountain area until “extensive public consultation” has been done.