Kalesnikoff Lumber Ltd. says the location of a road proposed for a forested area above the Nelson cemetery is still up for discussion.
Since the company recently began marking out the road, a petition on Change.org has gathered 670 signatures as of April 29 in opposition to road-building in a hiking trail network.
“Much time and effort has been put into building this trail network and it is used by hundreds of local people daily, and many more since the pandemic,” the petition reads. “These trails are used by dog walkers, hikers, bikers, daycares, families, and people seeking relatively easy access to nature.”
In an email to the Nelson Star, Kalesnikoff’s forest development manager Gerald Cordeiro stated that the road is part of plans for wildfire mitigation work and for the proposed Selous in Bloom ecoforestry project.
The wildfire mitigation work is being conducted in collaboration with provincial government and the Regional District of Central Kootenay, and will include some logging by Kalesnikoff, which holds the timber licence for the area.
“At this time the lower road in the vicinity of the cemetery trails is not a certainty,” Cordeiro stated in an email to the Nelson Star. “We understand the value of this trail system to the community and do not take lightly a proposal to construct a new road in the area.”
“The proposal is to construct the road to the minimum required specification and with the minimum clearing width to accommodate the project requirements, then to decommission the road entirely upon completion of the works.”
He said the road surface would be reduced to a width much too narrow for motorized traffic and would become a new recreation trail at that point.
“Disturbed ground along the right of way would be re-planted with trees and seeded with a suitable non-invasive grass mixture.”
Cordeiro said a final decision to proceed with a road is not entirely up to Kalesnikoff, but rather is “a part of a collaborative process involving various levels of government, local experts, and of course public opinion.”