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NEWS - Coast Reporter - 17 Jan 2004
COURTNALL'S LEGACY
Friends of Egmont call for halt to logging
BEVERLEY SAUNDERS
CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Friends of Egmont (FOE) have called for a halt to logging on the mountain, which they are calling Courtnall's Legacy, across from Egmont.

The group was formed after some residents became concerned by what they perceived as clear-cutting by Malloch Logging for Pacific Northwoods Resources, Inc. (PNR).

Geoff Courtnall, former NHL player and a principal PNR owner, announced plans to build a luxury resort on the property last year after purchasing the land from Timber West.

FOE stated that the real agenda is logging not development or jobs for locals. They have called for a halt to logging while an environmental survey and assessment of current logging practices are done.

"We think there is evidence that some important environmental guidelines are not being met," said Anita Horovenko, spokesperson for Friends of Egmont. "Our group has heard reports that PNR has failed to leave buffer zones along creeks and waterways as required by law."

In a telephone interview, Dale Malloch of Malloch Logging said Mother Nature is the biggest clear-cutter in the forests and that he had filed a managed forest plan and has a development plan in place.

Pacific Northwoods Resources did file for a managed forest licence on July 28, 2003. If approved, the company would be required to follow environmental guidelines and file a report by May 1 of each year that contains information on the timber harvested and roads constructed during the previous season. "Of course, one benefit for them is they get a reduced tax bill on this land of managed forest," Horovenko stated. The tax rate per $1,000 of actual value of property would be reduced from $4.50 in unmanaged forestland to 50c in managed forestland.

"We think there is evidence that some important environmental guidelines are not being met." Anita Horovenko(quote)

Another Egmont resident, Karen Horst, has talked to Malloch and expressed concern about the logging across the ridgeline of the mountain. She asked him if he would not cut down the trees there to preserve the view from Egmont. "I told him that a group of us would be glad to purchase the trees to preserve the view," she said. "However, within a few days, all the trees were gone."

This is not the first time Malloch Logging has been involved with a small community in a logging controversy. As recently as 2002, Malloch Logging and TimberWest were embroiled in a battle with residents to save Mt. Baldy at Shawnigan Lake on Vancouver Island.

As one resident stated during public hearings in 2002 on the new Forest Practices Code, we met with TimberWest in October of 2000 and were told that they would keep us informed of any plans to sell or log the property. One year later the new owners, Malloch Logging, stressed the sensitivity of their harvesting style and announced that the western trails system would be left untouched. But their promises have proved hollow; the sensitive ecosystems on the crown have been brutally thinned and the western trails obliterated.

When asked how they would be able to bring people to a wilderness resort if there were no trees, Malloch responded it was all relative.

"Have you seen Europe or Germany? They don't have any large trees left," he said. "People from the cities will be able to come here and see a working forest. I like the fact that this property is growing, and I look forward to showing our children what can be done."

Logging companies that are members of associations such as the Canadian Private Forest Landowners Association Best Management Practices or the American Forest and Paper Association's Sustainable Forest Initiative Program are subject to certain environmental standards and logging practices.

These include conservation of wildlife habitat and soil in sensitive terrain, protection of water quality and fish habitat and reforestation of their areas.

In an inquiry to the Private Forest Landowners' Association, it was stated that neither PNR nor Malloch Logging was a member of their organization.