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Loaded logging trucks from Mount Tzouhalem rumble through residential area of Maple Bay

I saw something very strange this week — a fully loaded logging truck lumbering through the residential streets of The Properties at Maple Bay.

The truck was hauling logs from a blowdown logging site within the Municipal Forest Reserve on Mount Tzouhalem, one of the greatest mountain biking destinations on Vancouver Island. (In fact, it was a social media post from a biking enthusiast annoyed at yet more logging on the mountain that first alerted me to the issue).

Curious where the truck was headed, I followed it along Maple Bay Road to Herd Road and Osborne Bay Road before it turned into Mosaic’s Shoal Island Log Sort in Crofton.

What happens to those logs next? A Mosaic representative told me: “All logs are first offered to local mills, by law, before they are deemed surplus. So, typically, on any given load of logs, some logs will be taken by local mills and some logs will be deemed surplus to local mill needs.” Surplus means they could be exported as raw logs.

According to North Cowichan’s 2018 annual forestry report, 58 per cent of timber sales were exported and 42 per cent were sold locally, within BC.

The municipality’s official position is that, “In all blowdown salvage areas, contractors are asked to remove damaged timber only, as long as there are no safety risks of doing so.” If you wander up Mount Tzouhalem to see the logging, you are forgiven for thinking that it is simply clearcutting, if on a smaller scale, and that last winter’s wind storm is a convenient excuse for North Cowichan to keep logging revenues rolling in pending a public consultation process on the future of the Six Mountains.

Earlier this year, the watchdog group, Where Do We Stand, conducted a detailed investigation into municipal blowdown logging on Stoney Hill, and found that healthy trees were cut down for all manner of reasons.

Here are the details:

— Larry Pynn Nov. 14, 2019


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