The District of Sicamous and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District are calling for a moratorium on logging in the Wiseman Creek/Sicamous Creek watershed which was impacted by the Two Mile Road wildfire in 2021. (CSRD photo)

The District of Sicamous and the Columbia Shuswap Regional District are calling for a moratorium on logging in the Wiseman Creek/Sicamous Creek watershed which was impacted by the Two Mile Road wildfire in 2021. (CSRD photo)

Sicamous council joins call for logging moratorium in watershed impacted by wildfire

Concern raised around heightened risk of debris flow above residential area

Sicamous has joined the Columbia Shuswap Regional District in calling for a moratorium on logging in areas impacted by the Two Mile Road wildfire in 2021.

At its Feb. 23 meeting, Sicamous council supported a recommendation to the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development that a moratorium on logging be put in place for the Sicamous Creek/Wiseman Creek watershed due to a high geohazard risk created by the wildfire, which reached 2,455 hectares before it was finally held in late August.

The recommendation is in response to BC Timber Sales’ (BCTS) proposed salvage logging plans, dated Dec. 15, that include four new cutblocks totalling 132 hectares, along with 6.97 kilometres of associated logging roads.

On Dec. 13, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) hosted a public/online meeting at Sicamous’ Red Barn Arts Centre to discuss post-wildfire landslide risks in the Two Mile area.

Leading the meeting was Matthius Jakob of BGC Engineering which completed a post fire assessment that identified an increased risk of a geohazard event – debris flows – occurring along Sicamous and Wiseman creeks and into residential areas in Two Mile.

A slideshow presented by Jakob included a number of maps showing potential debris flows that may occur in the Two Mile area over the next two to three years as vegetation regrows. A key concern is that Sicamous Creek Mobile Home Park would be directly impacted should a debris flow occur.

Read more: Sicamous trailer park at increased risk of debris flow following summer’s wildfire

Read more: Million-dollar mitigation: ‘Impressive’ Sicamous wildfire prevention work almost done

Read more: B.C. government deferral on harvest of old-growth includes stands throughout Shuswap

From its assessment, BGC advised salvage logging in the burnt areas of Wiseman Creek bears a substantial risk of increased erosion. It recommended against salvage logging in the watershed for at least three years.

Another concern for Sicamous revolves around water quality as the community draws its drinking water from Mara Lake, which the two creeks flow into.

Sicamous’ recommendation to the province mirrors the CSRD board’s response to BCTS’ plans.

Electoral Area E director Rhona Martin said a moratorium on logging was common sense and she was floored BCTS came forward with the sales schedule it did.

Electoral Area F director Jay Simpson said it shouldn’t be on local government to spend time and money to get studies done to protect communities. He said that should be the province’s responsibility and he found the proposed sales schedule alarming.

Sicamous Mayor Terry Rysz hoped the CSRD’s referral response would send a message to the provincial government, which manages BCTS.


lachlan@saobserver.net
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