Logging is proposed for a portion of Mount Ida, with the industrial park to the right. The purple portions are the proposed cut blocks, the yellowy-green are city-owned properties and the red and black dotted lines are the proposed logging roads. (City of Salmon Arm image)

Logging is proposed for a portion of Mount Ida, with the industrial park to the right. The purple portions are the proposed cut blocks, the yellowy-green are city-owned properties and the red and black dotted lines are the proposed logging roads. (City of Salmon Arm image)

Salmon Arm council’s concerns eased over Mount Ida logging

Fire chief explains proposed cut complements wildfire risk reduction efforts

The logging rights to a portion of Mount Ida’s trees will likely be sold between September 2022 and February 2023, but road building may begin before that.

Salmon Arm council heard details of the logging at the city’s May 3 development services meeting, when four representatives from BC Timber Sales (BCTS) came to outline harvesting plans. The map provided shows three areas of proposed logging totalling 38.90 hectares, along with associated roads.

Once a bid is chosen, a specified amount of time would be allotted in which to carry out the contract, council was told.

The city received initial information from BCTS on March 11. The three areas in question are within the city boundary and one cut block overlaps a city reservoir.

BC Timber Sales manages about 20 per cent of the province’s allowable annual cut of Crown timber, according to the provincial government website.

The May 3 hour-long session where council’s questions were answered focused on why the logging is planned, if the area will be clear-cut, how it will visually impact the community, if First Nations have been included, and how it will affect water, trails and wildfire protection.

Regarding roads, Warren Yablonski, woodlands supervisor with BCTS, said the hydro line is going to be the main access. The red dash-marks on the map show where new roads will be built. Most will be temporary, he said, although some trails will be left, possibly quad trails, so the blocks can be replanted afterward.

He said there is also a red-dash road coming in from the north end of the hydro line, so another quad trail might be left there.

“But other than that, there shouldn’t be anything left. For roads, we try to minimize…,” Yablonski said.

Read more: Salmon Arm council to hear logging plans for portion of Mount Ida

Read more: Book based on Mount Ida ready for Christmas

Asked why the logging is being done and why so close to the community, Yablonski replied: “I guess this development kind of came up because of the whole fuel loading in and around communities. We were approached by local consultants and have been working with them and local First Nations in terms of fuel management…”

He said lots of the timber being taken out will support local economies and local mills, while providing a starting point for wildfire fuel management.

“If you just do the little bits of fuel management where they go through and clean up understory…it’s very expensive work, so it’s hard to make a big difference in terms of wildfire, whereas if we can go in and do some logging and they can do some other work in between these patches, that creates a better opportunity for actually stopping a fire.”

“So it’s a combination. This will help in the wildfire treatment and it also will support and take logs to your local sawmills.”

He said BCTS has not done any timber harvesting for more than 10 years on Mt. Ida, realizing it’s a sensitive area, particularly for First Nations.

“Believe me, this isn’t an ideal place to operate for us because it is a lot more work to get this volume out. It’s part of our operating area, so we do need to be active there at some point in time.”

BCTS staff also said the Secwépmec Nation, specifically the Neskonlith band, has been sent referrals regarding the logging, and the Shuswap Trail Alliance has been contacted.

As for the visual impact, it’s neither clear-cutting nor selective logging, but ‘dispersed retention.’

Single trees as well as tree patches will be strategically left, which will be determined by a visual impact analysis that’s done before the logging.

Yablonski said there’s one block in the north that has a lot of root rot and trees already dying, so it will be more difficult there to leave trees.

Overall, he said he’s aiming for about 20 “stems” or so per hectare.

“These blocks will hardly be seen from anywhere, except if you’re in the industrial neighbourhood there right down below, or if you’re right beside them at the bottom of the hill there.”

He said the visual analysis could be shared with council when it’s complete.

Read more: 2012 – Logging set for Mt. Ida

Read more: Salmon Arm: Big ideas for a city with big rewards

BCTS planner Grace Chomitz said BCTS is working with an engineer and hydrologist to complete an assessment of the community watershed and the existing water intake. From this assessment, she said BCTS would take all the water protection precautions and incorporate them into their plans. Staff also said the terrain is not steep nor prone to sliding.

Regarding input from the municipal government, Chomitz said they welcome local comments and knowledge and take it into account when planning the blocks.

“That doesn’t mean if you say don’t log here we won’t do what we have to do, but we want to do it in conjunction with the stakeholders and First Nations.”

Coun. Tim Lavery, council’s FireSmart liaison who asked a series of questions, said in conclusion that he supports the logging plan because it adds to fuel mitigation around the industrial area, which is a risky area.

Fire chief Brad Shirley told the meeting he will be glad to see the work start, “especially as it relates to working with Silvatech in the community wildfire risk reduction. It is an area that has been identified as high hazard.”

Asking about ensuing slash burning, Shirley was told BCTS would like to see chipping and grinding of the material, as was done with Ellison Park in Vernon and some work in Notch Hill.

It could then be transported to a facility in Kamloops or perhaps one going up in Sicamous.

At city council’s May 10 meeting, council decided not to send further input to BCTS, deciding that the May 3 discussions made their concerns clear. However, the provincial processes that leave municipal governments uninformed about topics such as groundwater, logging and mining in their communities raised the concern of council. Coun. Kevin Flynn suggested it be discussed further with the Union of BC Municipalities.

Another suggestion was for staff to provide council information on such issues as soon as it’s received so the public can be engaged sooner. Council thanked Kevin Pearson, the director of development services, for having the BCTS reps come to council, as that seldom happens.

To comment on the BC Timber Sales development in Mt. Ida, you may contact Grace.Chomitz@gov.bc.ca, 778-943-0170.

Input was set to close on May 12.


martha.wickett@saobserver.net
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

#Salmon Armforestry

 

A topographic (3D) perspective captured from Google Earth, to create a perspective of the approximate proposed cut block outlines on Mount Ida in relation familiar local landmarks. (Alex Inselberg image)

A topographic (3D) perspective captured from Google Earth, to create a perspective of the approximate proposed cut block outlines on Mount Ida in relation familiar local landmarks. (Alex Inselberg image)

Just Posted

Nine exhibits representing the commercial core of downtown Salmon Arm in 1910 are pictured at R.J. Haney Heritage Village & Museum. (Facebook - R.J. Haney Heritage Village & Museum)
R.J. Haney Heritage Village and Museum ready for visitors

Opening date for popular attraction Wednesday, June 16

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Thompson-Okanagan population grew despite COVID-19: report

The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC said there are 8,462 new residents in the region

Graduating Grade 12 student Savannah Lamb has been awarded an approximate $40,000 scholarship from the Beedie Luminaries foundation. (Contributed)
Dedicated Salmon Arm student earns scholarship to pursue post-secondary education

Savannah Lamb is graduating from Salmon Arm Secondary with a $40,000 scholarship

Teslyn Bates, a Grade 11 student at Salmon Arm Secondary, was among four musicians from the Shuswap who won awards at the 2021 Virtual Performing Arts BC Festival held June 1-5. (Contributed)
Province takes note of young Shuswap musicians at June festival

Four local contestants receive awards at 2021 Virtual Performing Arts BC Festival

Shuswap Immigrant Services Society plans to hold a vigil on Friday, June 25 at 8 p.m. to honour the victims of what officials are calling a terrorist attack on five Muslims in London, Ont. (File photo)
Salmon Arm council holds minute of silence to honour victims of Ontario attack

Shuswap Immigrant Services Society plans vigil for Muslim family on June 25, 8 p.m. at McGuire Lake

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Vernon-Monashee NDP MLA Harwinder Sandhu supported a motion in the B.C. legislature for Canada to create a national Indigenous History month Monday, June 13, 2021. (Contributed)
Canada needs a national Indigenous History Month, Vernon MLA agrees

Harwinder Sandhu supports motion to recognize June as month to advance reconciliation efforts with First Nations

(Facebook)
New trial date set for Penticton beach attacker’s triple assault charges

May trial was delayed after Crown witnesses failed to show up

Orange ribbons are tied to the fence outside Vernon’s Gateway Homeless Shelter on 33rd Street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
POLL: Low-key Canada Day in the works for Vernon

Councillor calling for Indigenous recognition for 2022

A conceptual design of Vernon’s new Active Living Centre, which will go to referendum Oct. 15, 2022. (Rendering)
Active living centre 2022 referendum planned in Vernon

City hoping to get Coldstream and Areas B and C back on board

Closure of the 2900 block of 30th Avenue will allow restaurants and other businesses to extend their patios onto the street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Green light given to downtown Vernon road closure

Single block of 30th Avenue to close over summer months to boost business

A provided photo of the suspect. (Kelowna RCMP/Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP investigating after business robbed

An undisclosed amount of money and merchandise were taken from the business

Travel Penticton went to city council for support in increasing the tax on short-term stays to fund a convention bureau and affordable housing. (File photo)
Travel Penticton seeks to grow through increased hotel tax

The increased funds would go to creating a convention bureau and to affordable housing

Most Read