Area near Duteau Creek watershed no longer slated for logging, Tolko says

Tolko changes logging plan

An area near the Duteau Creek watershed, previously slated for logging, has now been removed from harvest plans, according to a statement from Tolko Industries.

On Tuesday, the Vernon-based forest product company said they came to the decision after reviewing their plans and discussing the matter with the Regional District of North Okanagan.

Kevin Acton, chair for the RDNO Board of Directors, said in a press release he is extending thanks to Tolko for considering the RDNO’s perspective and excluding the area of concern from their plans.

“We look forward to fostering this relationship and having positive discussions about watershed management and cooperation on areas of concern to our water infrastructure,” Acton said.

Tolko originally planned to harvest a cut block located 500 metres above the watershed, which supplies Greater Vernon with 60 per cent of its water.

While Tolko maintained the harvest block was safe to log, the regional district urged the forest company to halt its plans until they could find a solution, saying they had serious concerns about logging in that specific location.

An online petition was created by advocacy group Code Blue BC, calling for a stop to logging in that area.

Tolko said their analysis that the area is safe to harvest has not changed, however, no logging or road construction will take place within the area of concern.

“The company appreciates the different priorities of the RDNO and feels that this is the best way to proceed,” Tolko said in a statement.

The company said the decision to modify their harvest plans has already been shared with the RDNO and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Kevin Jewett, vice president of Woodlands for Tolko, said the forest company worked with the Ministry and the regional district “over the past few weeks” to address concerns.

“We value the collaboration we’ve had on this discussion as we explore options to plan and harvest our annual allowable cut and keep our people working,” Jewett said.

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