Island residents turned out en masse Thursday for the first public meeting of the Salt Spring Local Trust Committee’s new four-year term, with many there to protest commercial logging and shellfish operations.
LTC chair Peter Luckham noted a number of items of correspondence had been received about proposed shellfish aquaculture at Booth Bay as Penelakut Seafoods’ foreshore tenure licence is currently being reviewed by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Luckham said the LTC shares the community’s concerns about the proposed use of plastic predator netting, but the company has not yet submitted a rezoning application, which would be required to make aquaculture lawful.
Even more correspondence was received regarding the clear-cut logging of a 45-acre parcel on Beddis Road, which also inspired protesters with signs to demand a stop work order during the town hall session of the meeting. Trustees and staff maintain the Islands Trust has no ability to stop the work or otherwise intervene with its available tools, except on a portion of the land covered by a development permit area.
“With regard to this one, there is nothing we can do,” trustee Peter Grove said at the meeting. “However, with regard to the future there are things we can do.”
Those who spoke against the logging operation and continued loss of the Coastal Douglas-fir ecosystem included four children from the Stowel Lake nature school and their teacher, naturalist and activist Briony Penn.
Penn stated that sensitive ecosystem mapping on Salt Spring was done decades ago but has yet to be implemented as conservation action.
“We’ve been waiting for 25 years to have these sensitive ecosystems protected. Nothing has happened, and we can’t keep waiting — that’s a generation,” Penn said. “These kids have not been served well by our political process, because we keep getting punched back by the development lobby. It’s time that we start protecting these sensitive ecosystems.”
Peter McAllister, whose Sky Valley Road property backs onto the Beddis Road site, presented a letter on behalf of many concerned neighbours and islanders. Around 300 people have signed on to date.
For more on this story, see the Dec. 12, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.
Peter McAllister and Bernadette Mertens-McAllister hold signs at Thursday’s Salt Spring Local Trust Committee meeting to protest logging of a Beddis Road parcel that is close to their Sky Valley Road property.