A logging company owned by the Penticton Indian Band has agreed to a 30-day moratorium on its operations around Apex Mountain to respond to concerns from property owners there.
Sn’pink’tn Forestry has been working in the area since 2010, but residents of the nearby ski community became vocal last year when a clearcut opened up on Green Mountain that’s visible from the slopes and village. More work is planned for this summer.
“We’ve heard that there’s been some people talking about our logging up at Apex, so we agreed to a cooling-off period for 30 days,” confirmed PIB Chief Jonathan Kruger.
“And we’re hoping to have some meetings with the Ministry of Forests to come up with some solutions and do some due diligence… and find out a better way of (dealing) with some of these concerns about the logging up there.”
Kruger said Sn’pink’tn Forestry would consider moving on to a different location, but would need to find a way to recoup the $150,000 it’s already spent on operations near Apex.
He also pointed out that the company met previously with property owners, and that the fire risk posed by the pine beetle infestation in the area is the main reason its loggers went to work where they did
“I’ve heard some of the homeowners say there isn’t a pine beetle epidemic up there, but they’re sadly mistaken. There is pine beetle up there,” Kruger said.
“We want to do the best, most responsible way of logging up in those areas, and unfortunately, some of the things we have to look at is clear cutting, because the pine beetle got into the whole system.”
The 30-day moratorium was called for by a forestry committee of the Apex Property Owners Association. The committee also produced a report that suggested Sn’pink’tn Forestry hadn’t complied with all aspects of the Okanagan-Shuswap Land and Resource Management Plan.
Jim Brown, who chairs the committee, couldn’t be reached for comment this week, but told the Western News previously that the plan includes language about what sort of logging is acceptable where, but is just “kind of a loose designation.”
He also stressed the need for greater co-operation between all of the groups involved.
“This is not a confrontation. This is purely people wanting to optimize the value of a region,” Brown said. “That’s really our goal. We’re not anti-anything. We’re just (in favour of) getting this region as positively developed for tourism and recreation as possible.”
With files from Mark Brett/Western News