Officials with Vernon-based Tolko appreciates concerns over planned logging near the Duteau Creek watershed, but said it can be done safely and within required guidelines.
On Thursday, the Regional District of North Okanagan expressed opposition to the plan that would see a cut block harvested 500 metres above the watershed that supplies Greater Vernon with 60 per cent of its water.
“We all depend on the Duteau Creek community watershed for our water supply, and this is why Tolko has worked hard to develop a good relationship with the Duteau Creek Watershed Technical Advisory Committee and the regional district,” said Chris Downey, communications advisor to Tolko.
Downey said the proposed harvest block is located within the Timber Harvesting Land Base (THLB) and the Chief Forester of BC uses the THLB to determine annual harvest levels.
“Tolko’s staff geoscientist field-reviewed the site and produced his professional evaluation and report, which indicated that it would be safe to harvest in the area,” said Downey, adding Tolko has shared the reports with RDNO.
Downey said there would be benefits to the logging operation such as creating a fire break after harvesting and clean-up and “old logging roads would be removed along with our temporary new road at the end of the process and the area would be replanted. Several planning assessments were completed and support Tolko moving forward in the process.”
Tolko has requested a road construction permit from the government of BC this month, but have not yet submitted a cutting permit application.
Downey said Tolko is discussing the issue with the RDNO and will be evaluating information sent from the regional district.