Logging plans in Six Mile have residents in the area concerned and planning action.

Duhamel Creek residents ramp up non-violent training

Residents of Duhamel Creek Watershed are continuing to arm themselves as they protest logging activity in their backyard — nonviolently.

Residents of Duhamel Creek Watershed are continuing to arm themselves as they protest logging activity in their backyard — this time with strategic nonviolent training.

The Duhamel Creek Watershed Alliance is inviting all who are considering actions to protect watersheds along Six Mile and Kootenay Lake to join them in strategic non-violence training to be held this Saturday.

Madelyn MacKay is offering the training for those preparing for direct action. She says non-violence is the most effective way to create positive change and achieve goals of safety and sustainability.

Using damaging tactics like spiking trees and putting sand in the gas tanks of logging equipment could cause physical damage — even take lives.

Accompanying that is emotional damage that hurts communities as stories of violence are passed around and on for generations, she says.

“The polarization and isolation in the community and the fracturing of relationships will create problems that will last beyond whether we’ve got trees around or clean water around,” she says.

MacKay has been doing non-violence training around the continent since 2005 and handles mediation through Good Neighbours and Selkirk College Mir Centre community mediation services. She says the biggest effort is to separate the problem from the person so as not to damage any sense of community.

“It’s a way of thinking about the players in all of this,” she says, “so we don’t think of the loggers or the people who work for the logging company or the Ministry of Forests as enemies or adversaries.”

The problem is the system, she says. Logging companies need to harvest closer to “settlements” because other areas have reached maximum logging, she explains.

Kalesnikoff Lumber recently received permission from the district manager, Ministry of Forests, to log in the Duhamel Creek watershed and began road construction.

The upper Duhamel watershed has already been logged and landslides have occurred in the area, including two in 2012. As road construction and logging intensify, the potential of landslides and flooding in the Six Mile area, an area which is densely populated, dramatically increases, and the risk of damage to clean drinking water in Duhamel creek also increases, says Glen Jones.

“Our lives, clean drinking water, homes and properties are all at risk, and insurance companies do not cover damage caused by landslides and floods,” says Jones, a resident and member of Duhamel Creek Watershed Alliance.

The Watershed Alliance is growing quickly and is coordinating training and direct strategic nonviolent actions to address their aim to stop further road construction and logging until safety of lives, clean drinking water and property can be assured.

Resident Heather Ives says the information offered at this workshop will help her and others in her community make appropriate strategies and decisions as they move forward in opposition to proposed logging.

“We must learn to get along fairly and with compassion for one another. We can meet our needs without walking on others, trampling on another and our land,” she says. “We must learn to listen and take a higher path, all of us.”

Right now they find themselves in a “reactive situation” that wouldn’t have occurred should they have had information provided transparently, says Ives.

“We would know the questions to ask. Everyone is doing the best with the info they have,” she says.

The Watershed Alliance would like to see anyone participating in direct action to be well informed about the non-violent strategies they prefer to employ so people don’t “get carried away by their important passions to protect the trees and the watersheds and their communities,” says MacKay.

The workshop goes from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the North Shore Hall, 675 Whitmore Road across the big orange bridge off Johnstone Road. Admission is by donation. Participants are asked to bring their own lunch.

More information is available through MacKay at 250-505-4122 or madelynmackay@hotmail.com