Recent CanWel clearcutting north of Fernie. Photo by Eddie Petryshen/Wildsight

RDEK director admits defeat in Fernie logging fight

Regional District of East Kootenay won’t intervene in private land logging issue: Area A Director

The Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK) won’t intervene in private land logging like their West Kootenay colleagues, despite mounting public concern in Fernie.

The Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) has been in negotiations to buy land owned by Nelson Land Corporation since last summer.

At the same time, a crowdfunding campaign spearheaded by the newly formed Cottonwood Lake Preservation Society has raised over $53,000 in two months to provide seed funding for grants to purchase the land.

The potential deal comes amid concern planned logging will reduce the recreational and aesthetic value of Cottonwood Lake Regional Park and the Apex and Busk ski areas.

Similar concerns have been raised in Fernie where forestry company CanWel is clearing vast tracts of land surrounding the tourist town, impacting trails and wildlife habitat.

LOOK BACK: Fernie to host logging meeting on February 7

However, the RDEK won’t be going down the same route as the RDCK anytime soon, according to Area A Director Mike Sosnowski.

“The RDEK is not in a position to do anything about it. There’s a private land logging commission and there’s no legislation around that,” he said.

“We have no ability to zone or do anything and if we did at this point, they would be grandfathered.”

Sosnowski explained rezoning the area won’t stop the logging due to a grandfather clause, an exemption that allows persons or entities to continue with activities or operations that were approved prior to the implementation of new laws.

“There’s nothing we can do, it’s all the provincial government,” he said.

LOOK BACK: Province, City of Fernie powerless to stop CanWel

While Sosnowski supports what the RDCK is doing, he doesn’t think buying private managed forests is a viable option for the RDEK either.

“I support what the RDCK is doing, I guess their directors voted in favour of it,” he said.

“Now the RDEK buying the land already logged, there’s a huge liability with that. There’s a big question around who then would be responsible for the reforestation because the company is responsible for the reforestation, that’s something they have to do.

“Something like that would have to go to a referendum and ask the people if they want the money spent on that.”

Sosnowski did not attend a recent public forum on private land logging hosted by Wildsight in Fernie as it clashed with an RDEK meeting in Cranbrook.

LOOK BACK: CanWel defends logging practices

According to the Area A Director, the Fernie clearcuts are “nothing” compared to those in less visible areas.

“It’s too bad that they’re not practicing sustainable harvesting,” he said of CanWel.

LOOK BACK: City of Fernie to address logging concerns

Sosnowski said he has been working on the issue for three years and previously lobbied for change with former Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano.

“I was upset because it’s unsustainable logging,” he said.

“My dad and myself in my younger years were loggers… I know a lot about it and I know what sustainable is, and they are not offering sustainability, not even close, and that’s what fired me up initially because my grandsons won’t have the opportunity to log around here because there will be no logs left.

“… If they (Wildsight) want to take opportunity to bring the community up to speed on what’s going on on the land, good. That’s a very good thing but I’m sorry I know that nothing can be done.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

RDEK Area A Director Mike Sosnowski says there’s nothing the RDEK can do about unsustainable logging occurring on private land near Fernie. File photo

Just Posted

Local MLA ‘disappointed’ premier has called snap election

Doug Clovechok will be seeking re-election on Oct. 24.

Morning Start: One Year on Uranus Is 84 Years on Earth

Your morning start for Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2020

Two candidates declared for Columbia River Revelstoke

Incumbent Doug Clovechok (BC Liberal) and NDP candidate Nicole Cherlet; nominations close Oct. 2

Okanagan College expands ‘Wellness Wednesdays’ to all students this fall

Wellness Wednesday workshops are designed to be psycho-educational

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

EDITORIAL: Clearing the smoke

Wildfires have resulted in heavy smoke and poor air quality

Kelowna man’s child porn collection ‘traversed the spectrum of depravity,’ court hears

Terry Krock was caught in possession of between 7,000 and 12,000 child porn files

COVID-19 exposure at Merritt pub

The exposure happened on Sept. 19 at the pub of the Coldwater Hotel

UPDATE: Person safely pulled from Vernon creek culvert

First responders from multiple agencies assist in getting individual out of the creek

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Police watchdog investigating after man injured in Penticton RCMP cells

Man suffers serious injuries after being lodged into cells at the detachment

Four more cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 31 active cases in isolation in the health region

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

Most Read