At a virtual meeting on June 17, staff with Mosaic Forest Management unveiled the company’s plans to log four cutblocks between 2021 and 2023 on the slopes above Youbou and Meade Creek.
The hills behind those communities hold mostly unbroken stands of mature second-growth forest. Some community members, including those acting as the Save Our Holmes society, oppose logging on the lakeside slopes of Mount Holmes and Mount Good. They cite risks to the community’s water supply, the possibility of landslides, the loss of wildlife habitat and a decline of the area’s aesthetic quality.
The new plans show that the company intends to begin road construction for a cutblock in the Meade Creek area this summer, with work on a second cutblock beyond it to begin next year.
This fall, the company plans to begin road construction for a cutblock near the end of Youbou, uphill from the entrance to the former mill site. TimberWest, one of the companies now under the Mosaic banner, shut down that mill 20 years ago, leaving 220 people out of work and devastating the town’s economic engine.
A fourth cutblock is planned for the hills above the high-end waterfront properties of Creekside Rd, with road construction to begin this coming winter.
At the virtual meeting this week, various Mosaic staff presented for 75 minutes, detailing the company’s policies and procedures to log in a way that minimizes potential impacts of concern. The planned 30-minute Q&A was cut to 20 because the presentations ran over time.
For most of the meeting, participants could not see each others’ comments and questions, submitted through Zoom’s chat function. Some questions were answered during the presentations.
After the chat function was made public, people submitted questions relating to Indigenous title, landslides, water, safety, climate change and why the company cannot log further away from residential communities.
Staff responded to some but not all the questions. They reiterated that policies in place will minimize the risks to homes, water and wildlife. They said that they absolutely recognize the traditional territories they operate in, and that they, like many residents of the east side of Vancouver Island, hold private land rights as a result of the 1887 E&N Land Grant.
“ Not a land grant but land stolen,” someone wrote in the chat.
Mosaic said it will distribute brochures to residents of Youbou and Meade Creek in the coming weeks. Those with feedback or questions can email [email protected].