Community members of the Roberts Creek area are raising concerns over their water quality as logging by BC Timber Sales takes place in their watershed. They have formed the Elphinstone Water and Forest Ad-hoc Community Group to bring attention to their concerns and to advocate for change in forestry policy.
The group is currently encouraging community members to write letters to the Minister of Forests and Range expressing their concern about forest policy and how it effects water quality and other environmental issues. In their letter, Minister Pat Bell is invited " to visit our community and meet with concerned citizens in order to have a discussion about the need for a secure and documented policy that our community can believe in".
Renee Guarino of Roberts Creek has volunteered to manage an online newsletter for the group. " We started with 20 interested members and now have 70, " she said. Guarino says that the Ministry's policy is "all about taking from the forests, not protection. Until we deal with the policy, nothing will change about the whole system." She sees this as an issue that keeps returning for smaller communities and they should be looking at the bigger picture.
In fact, the policy manual of the Ministry of Forests and Range lists the areas of resource planning which includes watershed management and public involvement as "to be developed".
MLA Nicholas Simons has received numerous letters of concern about the logging and the watershed. He has scheduled a meeting with the deputy minister this week. " I will urge him to do what is right for the citizens. We need to protect our surface and ground water; doing less is irresponsible. I will ask that further studies be conducted and that the local public be allowed to participate meaningfully in forest development planning, " stated Simons in his blog. http://www.nicholassimons.ca/