Group asks Kent to reconsider stance on emergency exit

Logging trucks in Sasquatch Park would be 'catastrophic'

A delegation attempting to preserve Sasquatch Park spoke to Kent council on Monday night, hoping to sway their decision to not take a stand against road building through the Class A park.

John Coles spoke on behalf of himself, Todd Kabaluk, Lillian Martin and Debbie Hansen, asking council for three points of action.

They asked them to hold a vote to oppose a boundary adjustment proposal that Tamihi Logging and Seabird have submitted, that would permit logging truck traffic through Sasquatch. They also asked that Kent looks for an alternative route out of the area that does not travel through Sasquatch. The District of Kent includes the land around Rockwell Drive, and is obligated by the province to provide an alternate emergency route for all residents. Currently there is only one road in and out, which is potentially a life-endangering situation if an emergency cut off access to Rockwell Drive and the recreation areas beyond Harrison.

Finally, the group asked council to inform the Kent Harrison Joint Emergency Program of the activities being taken to preserve the park.

“Logging trucks going through the park will kill the park,” Coles said. “We believe it will be catastrophic.”

But Mayor John Van Laerhoven stated that the most important point for Kent to consider is the safety of its residents.

“We have a responsibility to our citizens,” he said. “We are compelled by provincial statute to do that. We want an emergency route that would be used if either mayor (Kent or Harrison Hot Springs) declared an emergency.”

In addition to the residents that may need access to food, water, shelter and medication during a road-closing emergency, there are more than 300,000 visitors to the Sasquatch Park recreation areas each year.

“What would happen if there were a wildfire?” Van Laerhoven said. Last summer, a fire along Rockwell Drive did cut off services and traffic for several hours. At least one resident has told the Observer that they were cut off from their medication during that time.

“It’s just not as simple as simply saving the park. We have a responsibility outside saving the park, things we need to consider.”

Kabaluk also spoke, answering questions posed by council following the presentation.

“There will always be pressure on the park,” Kabaluk said. “There are huge pressures on all parks, all the time.”

Coles noted that they have gather more than 800 signatures in support of preserving the park.

While Tamihi and Seabird have been attempting to gain road access to a woodlot, the District of Kent has been trying to find an emergency exit. Many public discussions have integrated the two concepts, in the hopes that one road could provide both services. However, an emergency route would be locked at all times, only to be opened in the case of an emergency. The logging proposal includes a boundary adjustment that would remove a part of the current road from the park to allow industrial traffic. Once opened to industrial traffic, any company could haul trucks on it.

“I believe they should find an alternate route that does not impact upon the Park and could possibly suite both needs and leave the Park intact,” Coles told the Observer. “It is a choice of where dollars will be going; into the pockets of the logging companies who harvest the timber in the area or into the construction of a new road outside of the park.”

For past stories on this issue, visit the Observer online at www.agassizharrisonobserver.com.

news@ahobserver.com

 

 

 

 

Just Posted

COLUMN: Search for Grace shows community’s true nature

As Chilliwack searches for missing woman, a writer looks back 61 years at a similar story

Serious police incident unfolding at Sts’ailes

Small reserve near Agassiz surrounded by police vehicles, helicopter, ERT

VIDEO: Agassiz farm spreads awareness for barn owls

Miel Bernstein hopes others will learn how they can help the threatened owl species

Fraser-Cascade school district hosts by-election to fill void left by passing of Tom Hendrickson

Advance voting begins on July 17, with general voting on July 27

Chilliwack cadet takes staff position in Comox

Air cadet one of about 20,000 youth enrolled in programs across Canada this summer

VIDEO: Agassiz remembers local officer at grave-marking ceremony

Montague White-Fraser had been buried in the Old Cemetery for 92 years without a headstone

Olympic softball qualifier gets $150K boost from provincial government

2019 Americas Qualifier to be held in Surrey from Aug. 25-Sept. 1

Gas price inquiry questions Trans Mountain capacity, company denies collusion

The first of up to four days of oral hearings in the inquiry continue in Vancouver

‘Benzos’ and fentanyl a deadly cocktail causing a growing concern on B.C. streets

Overdoses caused by benzodiazepines can’t be reversed with opioid-overdose antidote naloxone

RCMP release sketch of suspect in SFU assault, appeal to witnesses who helped woman

The RCMP want to talk to two women who helped the victim after she got to the parking lot

Will you be celebrating national hotdog day with any of these crazy flavours?

The popularity of hotdogs spans generations, cultures

Former home of accused Penticton shooter vandalized

Ex-wife of man who is accused of murdering four people had her house vandalized

Survivor of near-drowning in B.C. lake viewing life through new eyes

“If I died that day, the baby wouldn’t know his dad,” said 31-year-old Mariano Santander-Melo.

‘Beyond the call’: Teen in police custody gets birthday surprise by B.C. Mountie

Unusual celebration started when Staff Sgt. Paul Vadik went to visit the teen in his Coquitlam cell

Most Read