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Rally gathers new names for petition

Rain on Saturday didn
Rain on Saturday didn't stop residents from attending a rally to oppose a proposal to remove a portion of road from Sasquatch Park.
— image credit: Submitted photo

A rally was held Saturday in Harrison Hot Springs, in opposition to a plan to haul logs through Sasquatch Park.

Protesters gathered at the turn to Rockwell Drive throughout the day, holding up signs in the rain.

"Min. Polak Just Say NO," said one.

"No Trucks in Parks," and "Save our Parks" read a few others.

"I think it went well," John Hansen said following the planned event. His wife Debbie organized the rally, and the Harrison couple are among those who have signed a petition. While they say they aren't against logging, they are opposed to Seabird Island and Tamihi Logging's plan to have a portion of road removed from Sasquatch Park. The boundary adjustment would allow the proponents to haul logs from a potential woodlot that abuts Sasquatch Park.

In addition to the rally and petition, which had about 25 new names added on Saturday, there is a Facebook page called Save Sasquatch Park. At 200 members, it's growing slowly but surely.

"The important thing to remember is this group is not anti-logging," Hansen said. "What they are for is preserving Class A parks and not degrading them by running logging trucks through them."

Alternate routes were mentioned during a public information meeting held earlier this year, and the proponents should be looking at those avenues, Hansen said. Having the existing road removed from the park boundary would be easier and significantly more affordable than building a new road out of the woodlot.

"What this tell us is they're going to be making off of it and they aren't willing to invest," Hansen said.

Saturday was Canada Parks Day, and events were held in locations around the province, including Bridal Veil Falls.

Last Friday, Environment Minister Mary Polak released a statement in response to several media reports regarding the Park Amendment Act.

"I want to be absolutely clear, the Park Amendment Act does not allow, promote or otherwise enable industrial projects in provincial parks and protected areas. Suggestions that future industrial operations will be allowed in parks are simply not true. There will be no drilling, no mining, no forestry, no transmission lines and no gas wells in our parks," she stated.

However, the Sasquatch Park proposal is not looking to conduct logging within the park, it's seeking to have the road removed from the park to allow for industrial traffic — a move that even Tamihi representative Ted Holtby has said is not limited to Tamihi's request.

Polak added: "Recent amendments to the Park Act are separate from the boundary adjustment policy. If proponents could simply accomplish what they wished by only using a park use permit they would, but that is not the case. Proponents seeking to move park boundaries have to go through the rigorous boundary adjustment policy and process. There is no change to this policy - nothing has changed that will make it easier to adjust the boundaries of our parks and protected areas."

Those hoping to save Sasquatch Park will be speaking the District of Kent council next. Hansen said they have put in a request to speak with Seabird Island band, but that it hasn't happened yet.

Earlier this month, Harrison's mayor and council voted unanimously to not support Tamihi and Seabird's proposal and is writing a letter to the Ministry of Environment to state that.

"It's great," Hansen said. "It sends a message that

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