Stella-Jones will be proceeding with its logging plans in the Begbie Bench area, despite a last-minute outcry from people opposed to the operations.
“We hope to be going ahead in a couple of weeks with some operations,” said Ashley Ladyman, a forester with Stella-Jones. “We’ve come up with some hopefully more sensitive operational solutions.”
The logging plans were first reported by the Times Review in May but the opposition didn’t emerge until November when Area B director Loni Parker raised the issue at an economic development meeting and asked for an open house to be held.
Stella-Jones hosted an open house at the community centre where the logging plans were laid bare. There were to be four cut blocks – two south of Begbie Creek and two to the north. The northern ones faced the most criticism due to their proximity to people’s homes on Mt. Begbie Road and their intersection with several mountain bike trails.
During the hour the Times Review attended the meeting most of the feedback criticized the plans, particularly for the lack of consultation and the fact they ignored a 20-year-old plan for the area. However, Ladyman sad they also received positive feedback.
“We got some feedback on all sides,” he said. “The majority asked us to change this or that but there was a bunch of support there as well that I wasn’t expecting.”
He said Stella-Jones has made some small changes to the way operations will be carried out, but the scope of the logging will remain unchanged.
He also said Stella-Jones has no plans to craft new plan for the area. “Most of the things the Begbie plan address are in government regulations,” said Ladyman. “There’s nothing specific that we’re planning with opening up or re-invigorating the plan. Every thing we do is to some component of a higher level plan or regulation.”