Members of the Avola community gathered Friday evening to discuss the logging activity in the area with two local politicians.
Thompson-Nicola Regional District Director for Area B Stephen Quinn and Kamloops-North Thompson MLA Peter Milobar met with the community at the Avola Community Centre. On the people’s minds was a proposed logging camp and the damage to the water supply on their neighbour’s land.
Milobar first stated that he and the ministers are not able to engage because BCTS and the property owners, Beth Patterson and Nels Olson, have both obtained lawyers. However, he wanted to know if anyone else in town had been impacted or experienced anything similar.
It was explained that Avola’s water system is provided by an Improvement District, so it is taken care of by community volunteers and paid for by those that live there. The town’s water system is also a gravity-fed system off of Avola Creek, which they say is a protected watershed.
But due to their size and what has happened to their neighbours, Avola community members are concerned the protected status of their water system doesn’t hold a lot of weight. And because they are a smaller community, they need help and support to become a louder voice in the face of the legislature.
Milobar pointed to a few major pieces of legislation that were passed in the final days of the fall legislative season. Part of the legislation was a bill to amend the Forest and Ranges Practices Act, which manages forest practices in the province. Considering how quickly the bills were passed, Milobar said MLAs are still trying to ask questions about the changes and how they affect the forestry industry and B.C. residents.
“I want to hear from you guys so that I know what to be looking out for, what questions to be asking,” he told the group. “I think we have from the broader thing to your point about a voice, that’s how we can try amendments, that’s how we can try changes if they miss something.”
Because they are on Crown land, noted Quinn, the logging activity or the proposed camp don’t fall under TNRD jurisdiction. He did, however, say that 100 Mile Lumber, a division of West Fraser Mills Ltd., was invited to the community meeting, but didn’t respond or show.