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Letters to the editor

This week's letters


Page 4 of 6

Your government has broken yet another promise while committing a great travesty. In the Conservation, Recreation, Tourism and Community offer that government accepted in April 2001, Bonanza Basin was left out of South Chilcotin Mountains Park as a last minute concession to mining. Government’s no logging designation for Bonanza was the catalyst which allowed this concession to happen.

Nevertheless logging took place in Bonanza Basin in the lower Tyaughton Valley (the very edge of South Chilcotin Mountains Park) in November 2001, when Ainsworth Lumber Company penetrated six miles up Tyaughton Creek, bypassing all other timber in this old growth valley, to take a cut block in Bonanza Basin, just four miles from Spruce Lake. When your government realized its mistake following the predictable public outrage, it declared a moratorium on further logging in the area pending your government’s final decision on the Park. Tom Syer, then Ministerial Assistant in the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management, and now Director of Issues Management in your office, in a widely disseminated message to the public on December 13, 2001 stated:

"First, I can report that through the work of SRM staff, Ainsworth has agreed that they will not conduct any more harvesting activities in this area pending the final decision of government.

"Second, I would like to put to rest any suggestion that SRM and Minister Hagen knowingly approved of this logging activity or had any prior notification that it was going to take place. This is not the case.

"Third…. as a result of discussion with MSRM, Ainsworth now recognizes that it is in everyone’s interest to end any resource development activities in Lower Tyaughton/Bonanza RMZ until the final decision of government is made."

Now we have confirmed that Ainsworth Lumber has logged a half-dozen clearcuts over this past winter in Bonanza Creek – right at the entrance to the Park. Another breach of public trust! This is an absolute travesty committed against the people of B.C. by your government and by a shameful corporate citizen. Apparently a promise in the Campbell government is not a promise. We are past asking for explanations and additional promises. We now demand an official inquiry.

The South Chilcotin Mountains Wilderness Society includes many organizations representing a very significant segment and cross-section of the British Columbia electorate. As such we are demanding that you accept the facts for what they are: that the Lillooet LRMP was justly decided and adopted by Government in April 2001. We expect your government to respect the boundaries of South Chilcotin Mountains Park, as set out in the OIC of April 2001, and that you will re-affirm Bonanza Basin as a no-logging zone.