LETTER: Logging company does not have Argenta community support

From reader Jennie Phoenix

Re: “West Kootenay logging blockader files police complaint, is sued by company,” June 29

Regarding the indirect quote “The company further states it discussed its plans with the community in public meetings and assumed it had local support.”

I find it surprising that Cooper Creek Cedar assumed it has local support when individuals in our communities, and our Argenta-Johnsons Landing liaison committee have stated many residents do not support plans to log our hillside.

On June 13, Cooper Creek Cedar held a community meeting in Argenta to communicate plans regarding logging up Salisbury Forest Service Road. The communities of Argenta and Johnsons Landing have since held meetings to discuss how to respond.

From the minutes of one of those meetings: “Those present decided to set up a community committee to liaise with Cooper Creek Cedar about plans for the Argenta–Johnsons Landing hillside.

We started a description of work we would like the committee to do. We decided on this first item: ‘Keep Cooper Creek Cedar aware that many members of our communities do not approve of logging the slope – especially not when significant changes to legislation are pending.’”

In October 2019 the majority of adult members in our two communities signed a petition to Forests Minister Doug Donaldson and other members of government requesting a moratorium on logging this hillside. I believe this request should communicate to a logging company that they do not have community support.

On Feb. 29 the liaison committee sent an email to Bill Kestell of Cooper Creek Cedar asking for increased retention. The email included the sentence “One comment received by the liaison committee sums up a common attitude: ‘Under all circumstances, I support leaving as many trees as possible (preferably all of them).’ While we acknowledge ‘leaving all of them’ is not a realistic goal, we strongly urge that you implement the above requested increase.” I believe the liaison committee fulfilled that initial job description. I believe Cooper Creek Cedar has been made aware they do not have community support to log.

At the liaison committee’s most recent meeting with Cooper Creek Cedar, Kestell was asked about the letter requesting increased retention. He replied “We have been responsive to people who want us to do nothing. Where is the line? Will there be a place where it is enough? Are there enough concessions? Is there a point where social benefit will actually be significant?” This response suggests Kestell is aware that community members do not support plans to log our hillside.

Is it therefore reasonable to question how it is possible the company “assumed it had local support.”

Cooper Creek Cedar does not have my support.

Jennie Phoenix

Argenta

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