Tree-stripped mountains the result of toxic political policies

Back side of Mount Washington

Dear editor,

Bravo to City of Courtenay CAO David Allen for taking it upon himself and his staff to go take a look for themselves see what exactly was contributing to our ongoing water turbidity. In essence, as they soon discovered, it leads back to all the drainages flowing into Comox Lake that have been stripped bare of timber allowing for massive sediment flows into the lake, the source of our community’s drinking water.

Still, how is it that the forest lands above us have been allowed to undergo full bore liquidation over the past 18 years; especially throughout TimberWest’s Oyster River Division, the old Comox Logging and Railway Co. claim? Well, in essence, it has been a perfect storm of two incredibly toxic public policies; one provincial and one federal.

After the Liberals first came to power back in 2003, Bill 88, the Private Managed Forests Lands Act, was quickly passed by our Ministry of “Sustainable Resource Management”, Honourable Stanley Hagen Minister. And, from what I gather, it was at this point that big corporate interests owning private timberlands became, in essence, “the foxes in charge of the chicken house,” (as one old logger so aptly phrased it) with virtually no accountability to any government agency at all.

Then, to compound this disastrous provincial policy, back in the late 1990s our government in Ottawa gave the green light to resource companies to go ahead and morph themselves into income trusts. So what happened? It seems TimberWest quickly discovered it wasn’t able to harvest the wood per hectare originally projected in order to meet its obligations to its unit holders so found itself forced to double and then triple its harvest rate.  And the result? See for yourself. Check out what’s “gone down” on private forestlands along the east coast of Vancouver Island over the past 15 years via :  “University of Maryland Global Forest Change” on the Google map website.

Rick James



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