Ymir resident Jason Leus stands over the pond that feeds water to the community. Leus has been a central figure in the town’s fight to keep logging from occurring near the watershed. Photo: Will Johnson

2017’s top stories No. 8: Ymir fights for its watershed

The issue evolved into a broader debate about logging

The fight for Ymir’s watershed spilled out into a regional debate as the community protested logging plans near its only water source.

In April, B.C. Timber Sales (BCTS) made plans to harvest in the area around Quartz Creek, which feeds into a dam and small intake system Ymir relies on.

The plans were immediately denounced by local residents.

“The stakes are as high as they get,” said Jason Leus, a Ymir resident who organized the ongoing protest. “Water is essential to our existence, and we are so close to crisis as it is in hot, dry summers. We have a supply issue already. If anything else is done to endanger our source of fresh water, we could be in very big trouble.”

Ymir quickly garnered provincial and regional support. Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall supported protecting the watershed, while the Regional District of Central Kootenay voted to oppose logging in the area. Leus and Lower Kootenay Band councillor Jared Basil also travelled to Victoria in October to enlist support from the Green Party.

Meanwhile, the issue evolved into a broader debate about logging.

In September, Interior Lumber Manufacturers Association president Ken Kalesnikoff was grilled at a packed RDCK meeting about logging near water sheds.

“This isn’t a logging problem, it’s a BCTS problem. If we’re not careful, we’re going to have dust coming out of our taps,” said Ymir’s regional director Hans Cunningham.

A BCTS representative wasn’t at that meeting, but in October the organization’s timber sales manager told the Star that it was doing everything it could to meet the community’s expectations.

“The main fact we want to keep reiterating is that we’re still in the information-gathering phase,” said Russ Laroche. “There are people putting us down for not doing things properly, for not listening to them and their concerns, but so far all we’ve been doing is listening.”



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

VIDEO: Hunchback of Notre Dame: classic story relevant to today’s world

Nelson’s Capitol Theatre youth theatre production runs July 26, 27, and 28

Wildfires erupt in B.C. Okanagan forcing evacuation orders and a highway closure

Check out a list of up-to-date information on blazes happening within the Kamloops Wildfire Centre.

COLUMN: Blending art flicks with the rent payers

The Civic Theatre’s Eleanor Stacey on how theatre’s rely on charity

Watch art come to life at ArtWalk

The second art showcase opens July 27 in Nelson

VIDEO: Trudeau shuffles familiar faces, adds new ones to expanded cabinet

Justin Trudeau shuffles his front bench Wednesday to install the roster of ministers that will be entrusted with leading the Liberal team into next year’s election.

Wildfire evacuation order forces bride to search for new wedding venue

Fitzpatrick Family Vineyards is under an order due to the Mount Eneas wildfire south of Peachland

Recent online kitten abuse video raises serious social media questions

UBC and UFV profs weigh in on the subject of online sharing, shaming, and our digital landscape

RV insurance costs $1,000 more in B.C. than in Alberta: taxpayers group

Canadian Taxpayers Federation is urging the provincial government to open up ICBC to competition

Summerland issues State of Local Emergency in response to wildfire

Two homes under evacuation order; evacuation alert remains in place as result of wildfire

A brother’s determination pushes B.C. cyclist to ride 2,500 km for heart care

#Cunnycan: Ryan Cunningham ‘pushing the envelope’ to support brother Craig’s foundation

B.C. hockey coach, nurse was killed in case of mistaken identity, police say

In Surrey, Paul Bennett’s wife makes a tearful plea for help in finding her husband’s killer

Lower Mainland blueberry farms expect solid season

Blueberry Council of B.C. says season will be better than last year

B.C. to add hundreds of taxis, delays Uber, Lyft-style service again

Ride hailing companies have to wait until fall of 2019 to apply for licences

Most Read