In what is being hailed as a victory by the letter-writing residents of Pemberton, Weyerhaeuser has informed Pemberton Mayor Elinor Warner that they will not be proceeding with plans to log the hillside behind Signal Hill elementary school.
Manager of Weyerhaeusers Stillwater division Ray Balogh and Walter Cowlard visited Pemberton Tuesday, Sept. 7 and informed the mayor that their company would no longer be seeking to amend its forestry management plan.
Balogh said he was spurred on to seek a deal with the Pemberton council after his organization received "hundreds of e-mails" about the project.
"The people of Pemberton are not anti-logging, it was important for me to hear that and this doesnt mean the beginning of the end of logging in the Pemberton valley," said Balogh.
"There is still plenty of timber down there and plenty of people employed by the logging industry.
"But we received hundreds of e-mails, I personally havent received them but people within out corporation have, about this area and it was obvious the community didnt want it.
"We really came to the determination that they had a serious issue in the community and we wanted to work it out."
While this is a victory for the Pemberton community, Balogh said he was treating this decision as the start of the process rather than the end.
"The council has a couple of interesting proposals," he said.
"But how this unfolds over the next couple of years depends a lot on the willingness of the Pemberton community, the provincial government and Weyerhaeuser to find a solution."
The most predictable option for the Pemberton council now is to make an agreement with the province to buy Weyerhaeusers timber licence.
Balogh agreed that this was an option Weyerhaeuser would be willing to discuss.
"But that (buying a timber license from a logging company) takes the willingness of a lot of parties including the provincial government because its unusual for a company to walk away from a timber licence without some form of compensation.
"And compensation takes a lot of different forms, you know the one company thats really getting hurt in this is CRB Logging, and one thing that would certainly help their cause would be to find somewhere else in the Pemberton valley where they could log.
"But thats something only the province and the Ministry of Forests can resolve.
"So its not the end, its more or less the start more than anything else to resolve it between all the authorities, but Im convinced theres a way to make it work."
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