Residents living below Duhamel Creek near Six Mile are banding together Thursday night to oppose logging above their homes.

North Shore neighbours unite against logging activity in their watershed

Residents near Duhamel Creek concerned with logging activity are gathering for a meeting Thursday to rally in opposition.

Residents of Six-Mile concerned with logging activity underway in their watershed are gathering for a meeting Thursday to rally in opposition.

“If you are concerned about protecting access to clean water please gather and provide your valuable input. We need your help. Unite in non violent action and service to your community,” said Heather Ives in a release issued Tuesday.

In light of flooding and landslides in Laird, Alaska and Shroeder Creeks occurring in the Kootenays this spring, residents have expressed concerns over logging in the Lower Duhamel watershed.

They worry about potential landslides and what it would mean for access to clean water. Lives could be lost and property damaged with insurance not covering such disasters.

“Many residents have expressed the urgent need to investigate their concerns and take appropriate strategic action to be responsible stewards of this land and water,” said Ives.

A year ago, more than 100 people in the Six Mile area signed a petition hoping to put a halt to Kalesnikoff Lumber’s plans to log in the Lower Duhamel watershed. The Upper Duhamel watershed has been previously logged and landslides have occurred in the area, including two in 2012.

Resident Glen B. Jones told the Nelson Star concerns exist because the slope is about 70 per cent grade and the soil is sandy in nature. Duhamel Creek is a fast running waterway, they say pointing to records showing runoff at 13.65 cubic meters per second on June 6, 2012. If the creek is blocked by debris, it could be destructive.

“If there is a slide, it’s going to come down with such devastating power that nobody will be able to get out of the way,” he said.

They filed a complaint with the Forest Practices Board.

However, according to local Duhamel watershed Alliance member, based on a draft report from the Forest Practices Board, Kalesnikoff requested a permit to begin road building and logging, and received permission from the District Manager, Ministry of Forests, based on that draft without public input.

The Duhamel Watershed Alliance received a copy of the draft August 14/2013 after road building and logging had already commenced.

Garth Wiggill, regional district manager with the Ministry of Forests previously said otherwise.

“In 2012, the Forest Practices Board, an independent watchdog, investigated Kalesnikoff’s Duhamel logging plans prior to the road permit and cutting permit being issued.”

The Duhamel Watershed Alliance has been keeping an eye on work done by Kalesnikoff and doesn’t believe the road building crew used due care as it did not install a culvert when crossing a stream.

“There was no water quality management — no culvert, silt fencing or straw bales,” said Ives. “With the degradation of soil structure, when the spring melt and heavy rains pound the destabilized mountainside the risk to lives and homes may be catastrophic. This outcome is preventable.”

The meeting will be at the North Shore Hall on Thursday, August 22 from 7 to 9 p.m.