This idea came from Margaret Steele, who wanted to know who the forester was that approved the layout of cutblock 4 for Licence A93593.
This was a BC Timber Sales cutblock; BCTS accounts for about 20 percent of the volume of forest logged each year in BC, and this method of sunlighting professional reliance applies only to BCTS. It allows a community to determine which professional forester signed off on a particular cutblock. Using the cumbersome and lengthy FOI process is unnecessary in these cases. Here's how to do it.
Information about recent BCTS sales can be found on the BC Bid website. Here's how you access specific site plans, maps, and other information:
1. The site is at: https://www.bcbid.gov.bc.ca/open.dll/welcome?language=En
2. Click on "Browse for Bid Opportunities or Bid Results"
3. Click on "Browse Using the Advanced Search"
From this page you can search current open BCTS offerings or closed ones from the past.
If you want to look for A93593:
1. Click/select the radio button for ‘Closed’
2. Type in A93593 in the ‘Title Search Word’ box
3. In the ‘Issued Dates between (yyyy/mm/dd)’ , change the year in the ‘From’ date to 2019
4. Click the ‘Search’ button.
5. You will have another window pop up showing the BC Timber Sales – Timber Auctions. Click on the little folder icon near the top right called ‘Supplier Attachments Exist’
6. This will open another window where you find all of the TSL information that was posted for the TSL.
There will be a list of documents that you can download. Some of these will contain the name of the Registered Professional Forester who approved the cutblock. In this case, the foresters name was Michael Drinkwater (see attachment below).
The group of citizens Margaret was working with then contacted Drinkwater and explained why they were concerned about the cutblock. Margaret's email is below:
I have recently become aware of a BCTS sale at Waterspout Creek, approximately 35 km up the North Fork Road in Grand Forks. I see from the Site Plan on the BC Bid site that you are the RPF that stamped and certified the site plan for this block. I also see your comment that you didn’t actually visit the site yourself but you certified that “this work has been done to standards acceptable of a Registered Professional Forester”.
I live 10 km south of the Waterspout and visited the site last week along with several others to observe the logging operation. As you may or may not know, water has been running from the piped waterspout since the early 1900s when workers at the Union Mine stopped there to fill their canteens with drinking water. People continue to access water from the waterspout to this day. I am told the water is widely considered some of the best drinking water in the area. But that won’t be the case for long.
I thought you might be interested in viewing the video just released by the Boundary Forest Watershed Stewardship Society (a volunteer organization in the Boundary) showing the impact of logging on this site: https://youtu.be/1H4i8NLmjDM
The video clearly outlines the damage being done and the justifiable alarm that these wetlands are being clearcut logged, especially in these times of climate chaos. It is painfully ironic to discover this logging in our wetlands in the very same week that the Federal Environment Minister has announced funding for “nature-based solutions” to climate change such as restoring wetlands and preserving carbon-rich natural areas. We wouldn’t have to restore the Waterspout wetlands if they had been left as they were two weeks ago, prior to logging.
It is heartbreaking to see logging so close to streams, even though I am told it is allowed under existing regulations. But I have to wonder about the ethics of logging and road-building on a site such as this. I don’t know what else to say other than someone must be held accountable for the decision to log this area. Surely, based on all we know, we must acknowledge it is well past time to align ourselves with nature and stop this continued destruction of our life support system. As David Suzuki often says, nature can surprise us in her ability to recover if we meet her halfway. But we all have to do our part. It is truly unconscionable for the damage to continue. I think all of us are complicit if we stand by and do nothing.
I look forward to your reply,
North Fork Resident
Grand Forks, BC
Thank you for your email and sharing your concerns. Thank you for sharing the video link, I have watched it and shared it with our local crew.
Our local forestry crew completed the layout on this cutblock in 2017 and we also had concerns with this cutblock that we expressed at the time.
BCTS decided to go ahead with developing this cutblock so we completed the work under our contractual obligations.
First Nations reviewed this cutblock and did not ask for any changes as far as I know.
Seems like the local concerns somehow got missed during the advertisement process and the opportunity to address locals' concerns was lost.
I believe there may be some good learning outcomes for everyone involved with the development of this cutblock.
Please feel free to call anytime to discuss, however, as the contractor I don't have authority.
All the best,
Michael Drinkwater is now aware that his work is being monitored by the local group. She is hopeful this will have an impact on the design, location and size of future cutblocks.