Nickel Plate Nordic Centre is asking for support from the regional district to include it in an existing provincial park. Western News file photo

Regional directors need more time on Nickel Plate Provincial Park expansion

Members of the Nickel Plate Nordic Ski Club near Apex say planned logging will ruin trails

The idea to expand a provincial park to include the Nickel Plate Nordic Centre near Apex to save it from logging was met with a request for more information by regional directors Thursday.

Rick Leslie, president of the ski club, said the club received notice from a logging company a while ago that they plan to remove trees in the middle of the 50 kilometres of trails the ski club operates.

During a presentation Thursday Leslie asked Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen directors for a support letter to expand the Nickel Plate Provincial Park to 2,900 hectares in size to include the centre, a connecting corridor Brent Mountain Protected Area and land connecting the Controlled Recreation Area of Apex Mountain.

Regional directors ultimately decided to defer the matter until after a representative from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resources and Rural Development could provide more information.

“There are cut blocks that have been identified right in the centre of the Nordic Centre by the logging company called Snpinktn Forestry, owned by the Penticton Indian Band,” Leslie told directors. “We have been under notice of that for a little while that they intend to harvest in that area.”

Leslie said the trees, which he claimed only have value because of their easy access, provide necessary windshields for the 50 kilometres of trails at the Nordic Centre.

He noted that without the trees wind would constantly push snow into tracks making them non-existent.

The centre, which was established in 1989, is on Crown Land and designated as an intensive recreation area, overseen by FLNRD. The club also lies within the Timber Harvesting Land Base also overseen by FLNRD.

“What we have envisioned is that the province do a proper study to see whether or not it is appropriate to expand the park,” Leslie said, adding. “We don’t really have the resources to do the public confutation that the province needs to do.”

Several directors noted there seemed to be a conflict of interest within FLNRD as the ministry is tasked with designating recreation areas but also logging.

Leslie agreed, “It (FLNRD) is the logging ministry that also manages recreation, so it’s a conflict in our mind. At least it’s a conflict of interest. We’d be very interested in being governed by B.C. Parks rather than the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations.”

Director Bob Coyne, Area H (Rural Princeton/Tulameen) brought forward a motion to defer making a decision on the support letter until a representative from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development could speak to the board. The motion was seconded by Spencer Coyne, his son, and mayor for Princeton.

“He opened a door I don’t like when he said there’s logging that’s going to be there. But there is also restrictions on the logging in your area from 0.1 to five hectares in that area and these are all considerations that we have to look at,” he said.

A representative from FLNRD is expected at the next RDOS meeting Feb. 21.

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