Langley Lake supplies the drinking water for Union Bay. Photo by Bob Ell

Langley Lake supplies the drinking water for Union Bay. Photo by Bob Ell

Mosaic plans logging at Langley Lake near Union Bay

Lake provides drinking water supply for Union Bay residents

Mosaic Forests’ plan for logging in the Langley Lake area is coming at an awkward time, says the regional district director who will be representing Union Bay.

The lake supplies drinking water for the residents of Union Bay, which will be transferring its improvement district’s three services, most notably water, to the Comox Valley Regional District on July 1.

Area A director Daniel Arbour said he recently heard about the plans for logging in the area near the lake and was invited to meet with Mosaic in late May. CVRD staff have also held a couple of meetings with the forestry company.

RELATED STORY: Union Bay residents concerned about logging

There have been concerns in the community south of Courtenay about potential logging in the watershed in recent years. From what Arbour understands, the timing is based on a few factors, such as the new water treatment plant running for Union Bay. At present, the regional district and the Union Bay Improvement District (UBID) are busy working toward the changeover for the community.

“I hate that this is happening at a time when it’s transitioning to the CVRD,” Arbour said.

As he understands it, the work could start in the next couple of weeks. His concern is that there is not enough time to put together a thorough conservation plan to make sure the water source is protected.

“I would like the province to play a more active role,” he said. “I feel a little bit blind-sided.”

In a post on a Union Bay social media page, Arbour summed up the situation by saying, “I want to be clear that my professional, political and personal opinion is that if we can find a way to preserve the entire Langley Lake watershed, this is what makes the most sense for present and future generations. It is also achievable, especially if the community dedicates itself to that goal and the company is willing to work with us.”

A Mosaic Forests spokesperson said the company has met annually with UBID and the CVRD to apprise them of plans for the area, including revisions to plans, and its professional foresters, biologists and engineers have taken into account different values including hydrology, fish, terrain, wildlife and recreation.

“To protect water quality, operations follow specific prescriptions from watershed assessments and standard operating procedures created by independent professionals,” spokesperson Evelina Lamu said.

The harvest area is described as two small second-growth sites located more than 600 metres from the lake, with dispersed leave trees and retention scattered throughout the area.

As for the timing, the company confirmed it had committed to harvesting only after the new water treatment plant was completed. Its experts also identified areas and activities that would not pose a risk to water quality.

“Specific to managing water quality, the UBID and CVRD did not raise any concerns with our current plans. We are confident that our activities will have no impact on water quality for the residents of Union Bay,” Lamu added.

(This article has been edited from the original post.)

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