Members of the KNPS executive attended the City Council meeting on April 23rd to express our opposition to some of the changes proposed by Tembec to the Nature Park logging plan. Below is the text of the presentation made by KNPS president Kent Goodwin, to City Council.
KNPS Presentation to City Council - April 23, 2007
On March 28, four representatives of Tembec met with City Council to reveal some major changes to the Nature Park logging plan. At Tembec’s insistence, members of the KNPS were not invited to that meeting.
On April 12th a delegation from the KNPS met with Brian Dureski and Joe Gnucci of Tembec to learn first hand about the changes that Tembec was proposing. On April 16th the executive of the Nature Park Society met to discuss the new plan and our response to it.
We are here tonight to let Council and the community know that we are extremely disappointed with the Tembec plan and will not accept some of the proposed changes.
For well over 2 years we worked with Tembec to develop a draft plan for thinning the Park that would address the issues of ecological restoration, pine beetle infestation and community fire protection. While the draft plan we developed was not perfect it did protect many of the Park’s aesthetic and recreational values while dealing with those important issues.
The recent changes that Tembec has unilaterally made to the Plan reduce the number of mature leave-trees in the logged area from 200 per hectare to 75 or less. By comparison, the logging in the Nordic ski Trails left up to 400 mature leave-trees in many areas.
Where the original plan proposed to process all the trees outside the Park boundaries and therefore required no landings in the Park, the new plan proposes 14 landings inside the Park boundaries which will mean significant soil disturbance and long lasting scars. At the moment three of these proposed landings are straddling the Trans-Canada Trail.
It was made clear to us in our meeting with Tembec on April 12th that these changes to the plan have nothing to do with fire risk reduction, pest control or ecological restoration. They are the result of decisions at the corporate level to maximize the economic return to Tembec in the face of falling lumber prices and a rising dollar.
We are here tonight to ask the City of Kimberley and the community as a whole to help us convince senior executives in Tembec that the Nature Park is so important to the future of our town as a lifestyle amenity, a tourism attractor and wildlife habitat that it needs to thinned in the most sensitive manner possible. We need to stick to the original plan.
The City of Kimberley has a multi-stakeholder process in place which includes a technical committee mandated to examine the leave-tree issue and make recommendations. We fully support that process and will continue to participate in it. We are also willing to work with Tembec to review a variety of on-the-ground issues, including the issue of landings, and we have a full day field trip scheduled with Joe Gnucci on May 1. We would invite any members of Council who are available to participate in that field trip.
We have been willing to accept a significant amount of disruption in the Park to meet the broader needs of the community and the Province. We have angered some of our own members and other park users by compromising as far as we have.
There is a limit to how much we can compromise and still have something we can call a Nature Park . These proposed changes to the logging plan have brought us to that limit. We hope that the City and the community will continue to support us as we work to convince Tembec to do the kind of job we think they can do and ensure that Kimberley doesn’t lose this wonderful asset.