Salmon Arm farmers worried about upslope logging

Logging concerns in Salmon Arm

Some Salmon Arm farmers in the Silver Creek area are worried about logging that’s planned on a large cutblock up the hill from their properties.

“If you take all these roots away, say good-bye to my 20-acre farm. I’m going to have half this mountainside coming down,” Jocelyn Trinque, the owner of RJ Silver Creek Ranches, said.

He noticed trees above his property tagged with Tolko ribbons about two weeks ago.

Trinque and his wife Rita Shamoun are worried that the area is slated for logging. They believe it could prompt flooding that could cost them their farm.

“Our animals, our children, our houses, our farms, our investment is going to be damaged. Our community will be damaged,” Shamoun said.

READ MORE: Twin Lakes residents prepare for potential flooding

Story continues below advertisement

Approximately two weeks ago, water came streaming down the hill, washing out their property and flooding their basement, the couple said.

They’re worried the flooding will get worse if the trees on the steep slope above them are logged.

The hill is full of rockslides and log slides in some areas, Shamoun said.

READ MORE: Kelowna RCMP investigate two-vehicle crash involving police truck

“We can’t stop the logging. We can’t. They’re too big of a corporation,” Trinque said of Tolko.

But he wants to know if he should be digging culverts or building berms around his house.

“It would be nice if they sent a scientist over, explained to us where they’re going to be cutting, what could be happening to our property,” Trinque said. “Are we going to have flooding? Are we going to have mudslides?”

Despite leaving multiple messages with Tolko, Trinque said his calls have gone unanswered.

“I was always being redirected to somebody else, to somebody else, to somebody else,” he said. “I left half a dozen messages. No one has ever given a shout back.”

Story continues below advertisement

READ MORE: Public asked for tips after theft of pricey logging equipment in South Okanagan

Tolko refused an interview but said in a statement that it continues to work with the government and residents on its plans in the area.

“We work with residents who have property and intakes within one kilometre of planned development and with those who have previously indicated they want to receive communications,” Janice Lockyer, a Tolko spokesperson, said in an email. “We also host meetings with residents, including site visits.”

The company said it’s hard to pinpoint an exact date when logging will begin.

“We’re hanging ribbons right now, so there is still some time before harvesting starts in the area,” Lockyer said.

The province said its understanding is that Tolko will continue to meet with local residents to alleviate their concerns.

“By law, forest licensees need to adhere to certain standards in any road building or logging activities, that includes completing any necessary terrain stability or hydrological assessments,” ministry spokesperson Vivian Thomas said in an email.

Story continues below advertisement