WATCH ABOVE: Geoff Hastings reports.
VANCOUVER – It’s the largest island in Howe Sound and now residents of Gambier are gearing up for a fight.
People living on Gambier Island are trying to save a large chunk of trees.
A potential sale of Crown Land could see up to 25 per cent of the island clear-cut. Residents say two large woodlots they claim are zoned as ‘wilderness conservation’ in the official community plan are on the chopping block.
They say any logging would jeopardize local hiking and walking trails, kids’ campgrounds and the community watershed.
“What’s going to happen to this Crown Land, as planned, two woodlots have already been established,” said Peter Scholefield from the Gambier Island Conservancy. “The advertisement for the license to log the woodlots has been published and finished, and logging is anticipated in here probably within a year.”
“And that’s the Ministry of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations. And there’s been absolutely not consultation with the conservancy or with any of these local residents in establishing these woodlots and that’s why we’re so upset about it.”
B.C.’s Forests Minister says only one per cent of the opened-up area can be removed in a year. The successful bidders will have to prove their plans to log are in line with what locals want.
“They’re required to table a management plans that are open for public review for 60 days,” said Minister Steve Thomson. “They have to demonstrate how they protect community values of recreation and tourism and environment as part of that process.”
After the initial bids, the province will receive about $9,000 a year in revenue from the new operations.
© Shaw Media, 2014