An application has been made by Seabird Island to remove a road from Sasquatch Provincial Park, to allow logging trucks to travel along its route.
The road connects Hicks Lake to Rockwell Drive and is a necessary route of travel if Seabird wants to carry logs out of its land to the east. According to representative Ted Holtby, who spoke to Harrison council on Monday night, logging the area is something they’ve been working toward for the past several years.
But the road runs right through Sasquatch Park. Currently, BC Hydro is using the road as they work to upgrade the transmission lines as part of its large-scale widening project. BC Hydro has allowances to use roadways for its needs, Holtby said. Seabird has applied to the province to have the boundary lines adjusted, so that the road will be removed from the park. In total, the road takes up 12 hectares.
While he was not speaking to council to ask for permission, any person or organization is able to pose their argument to BC Parks, through the minister of environment, Mary Polak.
Holtby explained that Seabird’s goal is to apply for a woodlot license, something that would allow them to transport 75 loads a year. The area Seabird wants to harvest is locked in geographically in all other directions, making Sasquatch Park their best option for removal. He said they would not haul on weekends or statutory holidays.
“The last thing we would want is to cause interference with the park users,” he said.
But there could be a price to pay, Holtby said. Once the road is opened up, other operators could also use the road to haul logs. And that, he said, would be out of Seabird’s control. Other operators that could show interest in using the road include BC Timer Sales, Teal-Jones, and Holtby’s own company, Tamihi Logging, he said.
A few members of the public were allowed to speak following Holtby’s presentation.
One urged him to stop using language that the logging activity wouldn’t hurt the park, and asked what benefit it would bring to the area.
“Work, taxes, many things,” Holtby responded. “Is there a policy of the government to return land in some way? You’d have to take that up with the government.”
When another member of the public pointed out that Sasquatch is a Class A park, meaning it is not supposed to undergo changes except to enhance recreational services, Holtby stated people were welcome to oppose the project through the proper channels.
“We’ll stand on our own merits,” Holtby said.