Decision on logging in Pemberton watershed rests with Kuster 

Forest district manager evaluating information, must decide if proposal ‘adequately manages and conserves forest resources’

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Kuster is experienced and widely respected for his diplomacy.

"In this application what I have to look at is to see if it adequately manages and conserves the forest resources of the area – that’s the test I have to apply – when I have all the information in front of me," said Kuster.

"I’m hearing now a bunch of concerns like whether or not this logging is going to do anything in regards to… improving the area from wildfire risk.

"Or whether this does something to interfere with any known resource."

Pemberton Mayor Elinor Warner outlines in the Pique’s letters section this week (page 5) that the council wants CRB/Weyerhaeuser to conduct a number of studies on the area.

One of Pemberton council’s strongest arguments so far is that the logging will dramatically affect the "visuals" in Pemberton because it is so close to the village.

But Kuster said CRB proved four years ago when it logged another area close to Pemberton that it can log a section of forest without badly affecting the "visuals".

"But this (project) is awfully close to the community boundary and part of it is even in the community watershed, so there’s a bunch of other things that have to be analyzed."

Kuster also highlighted another advantage CRB has working in its favour: its timber licence.

CRB’s timber licence in the area behind the elementary school expires in 2005 but the company can get extensions on this because they effectively own the timber and would have to be compensated if they were prevented from logging it.

"It’s one of those awkward licences where the forest company is not regulated by their annual allowable cut," said Kuster.

"It’s one of those stand alone licences that commits that timber to that forest company.

"These licences were issued back in the early 1900s and the reason that was done was to give us (all Canadians) access across Canada, like rail access, and these licenses were intended to compensate (logging companies) for the benefits the public received."

Another issue the council has raised is why CRB chose to log this area of forest now and Kuster said this is a question many people are asking around B.C.

"We’re quite frequently encountering these issues all over the Forest District, weather it’s for recreational reasons or for other resource reasons we’re getting asked ‘why this patch of timber?’

"And the province of British Columbia has been going through some very difficult processes.

"In the mid 1990s they realized that people wanted to have some more park land and they went through the exercise of setting aside more land for provincial parks.

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