A forested area in Casino’s watershed is on the chopping block as a referral for comment for harvesting timber has been approved by the regional district board.
The proposed cutblocks 1.5 kilometres south of Casino are on unsurveyed Crown land in the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary’s (RDKB) electoral area B, but the fact it is within the community’s watershed has the area’s director in opposition.
Linda Worley went on record as opposed to the application in September after the Area Planning Committee (APC) meeting, that she was opposed to the proposal for logging so close to and within a corner of the Casino watershed.
“I always have concerns when there is a disturbance or activity in a watershed that could potentially affect a community water supply.”
However, logging application referrals from the Ministry of Forests are for comment only, said Worley, and the regional district has no control over the actions of the ministry.
Although the applicant—Atco Wood Products—had not provided complete details of the harvest plans, or an estimated date to start, there is a total of seven blocks (100 hectares) set to be cut, with one proposed clear cut within the headwaters of the Casino Creek Community Watershed.
Referrals from the ministries of Forestry and Mining come to the APC for information purposes only, and to allow for comment by the Area B APC committee. The referral was presented to the APC by Atco with the assurances they would notify Casino residents of the proposed intent of logging in that area.
The APC reported that it felt that provincial regulators would be monitoring Atco during the process and would assure that all safeguards and regulations were adhered to and minimize any impact on water quality.
“(The APC members) reinforce the staff recommendation that ATCO Wood Products notify the community of Casino and the Waterworks District of their proposed activity and any possible road closures and/or effect on water quality,” the APC report read.
An RDKB staff report from assistant planner Marie-Ange Fournier-Beck suggested some concerns with the logging happening so close to the community.
“Logging in the community watershed could potentially impact water quality,” she said in her report. “The province has legislation regarding logging in community watersheds.”
ATCO has already notified the Casino Waterworks District as well as other associated water licences.
Worley said there have been no comments or complaints issued by Casino residents to regional district offices in regard to the proposed logging.
Machinery and logging trucks will be hauling on Casino Road through the Casino community. No new access roads are being created, however, new spur roads will be extended from the existing roads.
to access the harvested timber.
Forestry, logging and silviculture are permitted in the area. The harvesting and removal of the timber would take place over two months.