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Meager landslide restricts access to four projects

Approximately 25 jobs impacted; $1 million tenure now worthless



The closure of the Lillooet River Forest Service Road by the Aug. 6 Mount Meager landslide has restricted access to four natural resource projects.

There are two pumice mines, a logging operation and a run-of-river project that are now inaccessible. Work cannot continue on any of those projects until the road is opened again.

A spokeswoman with the Ministry of Forests and Range, which administers forest service roads, told Pique in an e-mail that the road is closed at nine kilometres and is not passable at 34 kilometres. There is also a lot of mud and debris in the road's right-of-way and the road itself between 500 metres and the one-kilometre mark.

Forestry crews, she said, are on site trying to develop a plan and cost estimate for fixing and reopening the road. She said it was premature to speculate on when that might happen.

The news was particularly damaging for Pebble Creek Timber Ltd., a company owned by the same people that run Squamish Mills. Just last month, Pebble Creek Timber acquired a forest tenure on Mount Meager from CRB Logging Inc. Now they've seen much of their timber fall into Capricorn and Meager Creeks.

That's put 25 Pemberton residents out of work, ending jobs that would have paid anywhere between $50,000 and $80,000. The company now finds itself without a tenure it paid over $1 million to acquire.

"We just finished putting a bridge over Capricorn Creek and we were going to start logging there the 1 st of September," John Lowe, Pebble Creek Timber's manager of manufacturing, production and operations said in an interview. "Not only does it not exist, the bridge over the Lillooet River doesn't exist, so there's no access to the Meager Creek timber, period. So Pebble Creek has purchased nothing."

The company worked on purchasing the tenure from CRB for two years. Lowe couldn't say how big the tenure was, but he said the company had an annual allowable cut of approximately 19,000 cubic metres.

Both Pebble Creek Timber and CRB Logging were well aware of Mount Meager's instability but Lowe hoped it would take another few years before the big landslide happened.

"It usually comes down every eight to 10 years," he said. "It came down about four or five years ago, so we thought we'd be fine for a few years, but because of unusual weather conditions this year, you know, between the heat and the light rain and so on, it all culminated to cause a problem."

The slide has also wiped out five pieces of equipment belonging to Pebble Creek Timber, including a 992 Road Builder, a 330 Caterpillar Road Builder and a Terrex 8250 Dozer. Taken together, the equipment added up to about $1 million.