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Logging planned in Paradise Valley

Area residents want answers from company Sylvie Paillard spaillard@squamishchief.

Area residents want answers from company

Sylvie Paillard

Paradise Valley residents living along the Cheakamus River are demanding answers after one resident discovered flagging tape while hiking on a steep ridge above the river.

Residents feared the tape might denote a cut block and soon discovered that the leaseholder, Terminal Forest Products, placed a public notice regarding logging in the Butterfly, Lewis and Levette lakes area, but the proposal also includes the Cheakamus River area. The notice was published in April allowing residents to raise concerns by the June 30 deadline.

"Every single resident is shocked," said Dave Fulton, whose water source is located 150 metres away from the proposed logging. "No one knew about it."

Residents around the lakes listed forwarded strong opposition to the proposed logging resulting in the reduction or elimination of cut blocks, according to mass e-mail correspondence from a Paradise Valley resident named Fish.

Paradise Valley residents now have a map of the proposed logging that depicts a road that west-facing residents would see, three 40-hectare and several smaller clear cuts, and an additional clear cut proposed along the river, according to Fish.

"The concerns of the residents on the west side of the river are the visual impacts, the noise of road building, and the noise of the logging itself, changes to the creeks that come alive in the winter and, in full storm, run down along the backside of our properties," wrote Fish. "In addition is the possibly irreversible damage to the natural springs on the hill. For residents on the east side the main impacts will be the visual and the noise and the general effect of clear cuts on a hillside right above a residential area."

Fulton met with George Mulder of Terminal as well as Dave Southam, a Squamish Stewardship/ Tenures Forester with the Ministry of Forests to discuss the residents' concerns.

Southam said that very stringent visual quality impact regulations are in place that would limit the amount of clear cutting Terminal could undertake. And both Mulder and Southam said that listing each precise logging location in legal notices is cumbersome and not necessary.

"The district manager would have to see more than just 'somewhere in BC'," said Southam. "That said, we're not asking for GPS readings."

Upon hearing of residents' concerns, Terminal scheduled a public meeting at the North Vancouver Outdoor School Wednesday (Aug. 31) to listen to concerns and discuss their plans, which are still in preliminary phases. Mulder explained to Fulton that Terminal has yet to assess the land above the river and plans for the area are still unknown. Southam said the ministry is also accepting letters of concern directly from residents instead of following protocol, which would normally have the licensee collect concerns and issue a report to the ministry.

Meanwhile, residents have been encouraged to send a form letter to Acting District Manager, Diane Reed, which reads in part:

"The Cheakamus River has recently been seriously impacted by the CN toxic spill, the effects of which will last for years. We ask your Ministry as well as the Department of Fisheries and the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection to examine this proposal with the utmost scrutiny given this latest environmental disaster. The Cheakamus River lies within a narrow valley now inhabited by hundreds of residents and enjoyed by thousands of worldwide visitors. Please give full consideration to the implications this proposal can have on all of us, our wildlife, and our surroundings, for many years to come."

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