Recent CanWel clearcutting north of Fernie. Photo by Eddie Petryshen/Wildsight

RDEK director admits defeat in Fernie logging fight

Regional District of East Kootenay won’t intervene in private land logging issue: Area A Director

The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) won’t intervene in private land logging like their West Kootenay colleagues, despite mounting public concern in Fernie.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) has been in negotiations to buy land owned by Nelson Land Corporation since last summer.

At the same time, a crowdfunding campaign spearheaded by the newly formed Cottonwood Lake Preservation Society has raised over $53,000 in two months to provide seed funding for grants to purchase the land.

The potential deal comes amid concern planned logging will reduce the recreational and aesthetic value of Cottonwood Lake Regional Park and the Apex and Busk ski areas.

Similar concerns have been raised in Fernie where forestry company CanWel is clearing vast tracts of land surrounding the tourist town, impacting trails and wildlife habitat.

LOOK BACK: Fernie to host logging meeting on February 7

However, the RDEK won’t be going down the same route as the RDCK anytime soon, according to Area A Director Mike Sosnowski.

“The RDEK is not in a position to do anything about it. There’s a private land logging commission and there’s no legislation around that,” he said.

“We have no ability to zone or do anything and if we did at this point, they would be grandfathered.”

Sosnowski explained rezoning the area won’t stop the logging due to a grandfather clause, an exemption that allows persons or entities to continue with activities or operations that were approved prior to the implementation of new laws.

“There’s nothing we can do, it’s all the provincial government,” he said.

LOOK BACK: Province, City of Fernie powerless to stop CanWel

While Sosnowski supports what the RDCK is doing, he doesn’t think buying private managed forests is a viable option for the RDEK either.

“I support what the RDCK is doing, I guess their directors voted in favour of it,” he said.

“Now the RDEK buying the land already logged, there’s a huge liability with that. There’s a big question around who then would be responsible for the reforestation because the company is responsible for the reforestation, that’s something they have to do.

“Something like that would have to go to a referendum and ask the people if they want the money spent on that.”

Sosnowski did not attend a recent public forum on private land logging hosted by Wildsight in Fernie as it clashed with an RDEK meeting in Cranbrook.

LOOK BACK: CanWel defends logging practices

According to the Area A Director, the Fernie clearcuts are “nothing” compared to those in less visible areas.

“It’s too bad that they’re not practicing sustainable harvesting,” he said of CanWel.

LOOK BACK: City of Fernie to address logging concerns

Sosnowski said he has been working on the issue for three years and previously lobbied for change with former Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano.

“I was upset because it’s unsustainable logging,” he said.

“My dad and myself in my younger years were loggers… I know a lot about it and I know what sustainable is, and they are not offering sustainability, not even close, and that’s what fired me up initially because my grandsons won’t have the opportunity to log around here because there will be no logs left.

“… If they (Wildsight) want to take opportunity to bring the community up to speed on what’s going on on the land, good. That’s a very good thing but I’m sorry I know that nothing can be done.”

 

RDEK Area A Director Mike Sosnowski says there’s nothing the RDEK can do about unsustainable logging occurring on private land near Fernie. File photo

Just Posted

Kootenay kids get their kicks

Mini World Cup coming to Fruitvale, see story for link

What you see …

If you have a recent photo to share email (large of actual) to editor@trailtimes.ca

West Kootenay opinion sought on health care issues

Rural Evidence Review getting strong response to survey call-out

Facts missing on impact of Columbia River Treaty

Letter to the Editor from Dave Thompson of Oasis

Fix the potholes

Letter to the Editor from Bob Johnson of Nelson

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

UPDATED: B.C. man says he’ll take People’s Party lawsuit as far as he can

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Canada stripping citizenship from Chinese man over alleged marriage fraud

The move comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing

Nevada court orders former Vancouver man to pay back $21.7M to investors

The commission says Michael Lathigee committed fraud over a decade ago

Most Read