Letters to The Editor – Wilson Creek Forest


We have tried to display below some of the many current Letters to the Editor.  Additional Letters to the Editor, news and full page articles on the proposed Elphinstone Park Expansion and the key ‘Forests’ (the cutblocks that lie within the park expansion area that are being systematically clearcut) can be viewed weekly in the local press. Click on The Mt Elphinstone Park We Deserve to read a recent two page story on the issue. You can also can also go to the CoastReporter and thelocalweekly online or pick up a copy of the publication. (Upon visiting these sites just search for ELF, Elphinstone Park Expansion or Elphinstone Logging Focus for a complete list of breaking news, new and past articles and Letters to the Editor.)

Understanding biodiversty – November 30, 2012 Letters to the Editor – Coast Reporter.net

The following letter was sent to the community forest board and copied to Coast Reporter.

I appreciate the Sechelt community forest board publishing names and profiles of board members. Some letters from directors and the full page “myths” advertising were less useful and, in general, quite misleading.

There seems to be some misunderstanding about the scientific meaning of biodiversity, which refers to the millions of species present in an ecosystem. Many of these organisms are invisible to the average observer. They even may not yet be fully understood or identified by scientists.

An old growth forest supports the largest variety of native species and ecological processes and especially protects the biodiversity that we don’t know much about. In our mid to low level forests, the old growth management areas are actually not made up of much old growth at all as there isn’t enough left to meet the retention target of eight per cent. Our low to mid level forests are dominated by young biologically simplified ecosystems.

If our communities wish to protect the natural diversity of species, biological communities and ecosystems, we need to oppose the short-sighted plans of the community forest to log EW002 in Wilson Creek. The amount of productive forested land currently protected is not enough to sustain that unique ecology and the ecology of the waters that flow from it. It is misleading to state that logging creates a biodiverse environment. It is like saying that a wheat farmer replacing native grassland is creating biodiversity in the prairie. The farmer is replacing a prehistoric complex natural ecosystem with one that is biologically simplified.

Sheila Page, Sechelt

Date: Monday, November 19, 2012
By: Rick O’Neill, Roberts Creek
Submitted to: theCoastReporter and thelocalweekly (published  thelocalweekly – Nov 22, 2012)

How do we Measure Biodiversity in the Wilson Creek Forest?

The Community Forest and other proponents of clear cutting, which means the liquidation of natural forests and their replacement with tree farms, are still trying to tell us that we will have more biodiversity in a clear cut than in the existing old natural forest.

In answer to Tony Greenfield’s letter about one species of bird who likes openings in the forest, I would like to share the following, and invite comments.

In the existing Wilson Creek forest we will have at least 5 species of woodpecker living and nesting, at least 5 species of Owl, 8 species of Amphibians, at least 7 species of flowering forest plants, 2 or more species of reptile, bats, many other species of birds and mammals, dozens or hundreds of mosses, dozens or hundreds of fungi, the list goes on. None of these will live or breed in the clear cut for 50 or 60 years, and then it will just begin to support some life.

I invite the community forest to provide a list of hundreds of species which will immediately thrive in the clear cut, (besides fireweed and bees, for a couple of years only) which we do not have now in the natural old forest with old growth characteristics.

– – –
About Rick O’Neill
Rick is the winner of the 2011 John Hind-Smith Environmental Achievement Award that honours a worthy local Sunshine Coast citizen who has demonstrated their dedication and commitment to the environment and preserving wildlife.

Rick O’Neill is deeply dedicated to the environment and like John Hind-Smith himself, toils away quietly, never for self recognition, but on behalf of our natural environment. Whether sampling for forage fish along intertidal areas, identifying amphibians on Mount Elphinstone or photographing the natural world as a way to bring the forest ecosystems into focus for others, Rick does it all with only the environment in mind. (Several of Rick’s photos appear on this website.)

He has devoted countless hours to protect biodiversity on the coast and he has taken many groups out for walks to teach about mushrooms, amphibian, birds and trees. As a founder of Elphinstone Living Forest, Rick was the driving force behind developing a comprehensive ecosystem plan…..

To read more on Rick click here: Rick O’Neill receives John Hind-Smith Award from the SCCA

Long term values exceed dollars

November 23, 2012

The following letter was sent to community forest (SCCF) president Glen Bonderud and Sechelt council and copied to Coast Reporter.

As residents of Sechelt, we urge you to reconsider your logging plans in Wilson Creek.

We realize that the mandate of the Sunshine Coast Community Forest apparently is maximization of profits, but in our view the mandate of a community forest should be much broader; it should not be simply a community run version of a conventional logging operation, as appears to be the case here.

In other jurisdictions where community forests are operating, the mandate encompasses the full range of community-shared values and services provided by the contingent forest lands, including maintaining the balance of the eco-system and the preservation of old growth timber in exceptional areas where the long term values greatly exceed the simple dollar value of a log.

Unfortunately, this has been an ongoing issue, which includes lack of transparency in the operation of the community forest and conflicting views as to the mandate. According to your CV you have exceptional skills to offer in terms of marketing, which value we greatly appreciate. However, as president of the community forest, we would hope you would exercise your obvious leadership abilities to steer your charge in a direction more appropriate to a true “community” forest.

Fern Walker and Michael Siddall, Sechelt

Help heal divisive issue
November 23, 2012


Well, here we are, just as the Ministry of Forests and Lands (MOF) had hoped — private logging companies have walked away from contentious areas, leaving Coast community members to duke it out.

The community forest tenure is an effort to get that wood cut and sold. It came as no surprise when the logging areas granted were in the most divisive and threatened watersheds. At present it is not a “gift” to the local area economy to better us all — it’s a poison pill.

Many Coast residents have been unfairly labelled as “against logging” — not so at all. It’s what the Sunshine Coast community forest (SCCF) wants to log, not logging itself, that people are speaking up about. This small patch of forest has never been cut. It is a fractured portion of the three per cent of lower elevation forest to claim this status, and what makes it precious also makes it profitable.

I ask the SCCF to work harder at achieving their stated mandate. Resist the temptation of easy money for old wood. Give this cut block back to the MOF and help heal this divisive issue.

Gordon Bell,

Halfmoon Bay

Harvesting does not make sense

November 16, 2012


Why would our community forest clear-cut an old growth forest in Wilson Creek?

It does not make sense.

Sechelt council, which directs the community forest, should be protecting these areas, as they are rare. The added advantage to the Wilson Creek cutblock is that it is close to civilization where many can enjoy its rich biodiverse ecosystem.

We look to our council to be far seeing and to bring more reflection before destroying a valued area under their jurisdiction.

Karyn Burney, Sechelt

The Time Is Now… We cannot put off any further the threat facing our families and our children not yet born….I am Xwu’p’a’lich, Barb Higgins a Shishalh elder, and I ask you to come out and help me save this forest. (page 4 & 5)

Enjoying an Amazing Ecosystem…It is both inconceivable and outrageous that the Sunshine Coast Community Forest  is going ahead with logging block EW002 in the Wilson Creek Forest………Have we become so far removed from nature that we have not the foresight  as the people that saved Stanley Park…Jack Stein (page 5)

To read the full text – visit thelocalweeklyNovember 15, 2012, Vol.10 Issue 46

Calling for a community meeting

November 16, 2012

CoastReporter – Editor:

Community, meaning neighbourhood, kinship, group of people, cooperative spirit. Kinship, meaning relationship, connection, understanding.

What has happened to the “community” in Sunshine Coast Community Forest?

This is our community, and it is time for a community meeting — meaning all of the community — including the voice of the trees, frogs, green ones, birds, four leggeds, eight leggeds, six leggeds and two leggeds.

This is our community forest, and kinship with all of life is our call and evolutionary capacity as human beings — may we become the ones we are waiting for.

In appreciation for our human capacity for respect — meaning to look again.

Penny Allport,

Wilson Creek

Trails are worth more than logs

November 16, 2012

CoastReporter – Editor:

The latest threat to the low elevation forests of Mount Elphinstone has now been delivered to us through the offices of our own community forest, despite the fact that there have been efforts to conserve this remarkable environment for the past three decades.

The same old rules apply — the only legitimate destiny for a tree on Crown land is the log dump unless it is part of an endangered species habitat, shows cultural modification, etc. And so begins the niggling debates which engender frustration and hostility.

What about the mushroom pickers, mountain bikers, hikers, forest lovers with diverse interests, who all use these low elevation forests in increasing numbers? Where else has there been such a large volunteer effort to build trails? Why don’t we count? Why is a culturally modified tree given more weight than hundreds of hours of volunteer trail building?

Mount Elphinstone has world-class mountain biking terrain. Consider that a return of only $5,000 per year from race events will yield more direct revenue over 100 years than cutting down $100,000 worth of trees today (at five per cent compounded annually). Perhaps we could operate a shuttle system to trail heads and Dakota Bowl. The possibilities are exciting, would enhance our community and could provide jobs and revenue.

There will be few thanks in signing an order to cut the old forest and forever removing an outstanding natural attraction from our community. Area wise, it is a small request. Some of the clear cuts in this province are larger than our entire area of concern.

By the way, leaving the old growth trees is nice (we will take the offer), but isn’t that a little like leaving granny at home while blowing down the subdivision around her?

With respect for all who serve our community.

Dougald MacDonald,


Protect areas now for the future

November 16, 2012

CoastReporter – Editor:

I am not against all logging, but I think that certain areas need to be protected now for the sake of the current community and future generations.

The area of Gibsons, Roberts Creek and Sechelt does not have enough low level/mid-level park area. Cliff Gilker Park (approximately 60 hectares) is a wonderful, multi-use, well used park, but it is not enough.

The Coast is gradually being developed and the current park space is not sufficient to meet future needs. The more time that goes by, the harder it is to set aside areas for park space.

Now is the time to do it.

I suggest setting aside cutblock EW002 (approximately 27 hectares) for a park. This is a beautiful forested area relatively close to Highway 101, just above Lockyer Road. Wilson Creek runs through it. This forest, which is essentially already being used as a park, has a wonderful walking trail through it and is currently used by recreationists and school groups.

I have read that this gem will be logged soon by the Community Forest, and I think that would be a shame.

Linda VanderHeide

Roberts Creek

Honour public input

November 9, 2012

CoastReporter – Editor:

I was utterly amazed to see in your newspaper that the Sunshine Coast Community Forest (SCCF) had a full page advertisement entitled the Sunshine Coast Community Forest Harvesting Plan (Coast Reporter, Nov. 2). The ad goes on to explain that logging in the Wilson Creek forest will commence immediately. Even more surprising is the fact that this harvesting plan comes after the interesting ad that Elphinstone Logging Focus placed the week before of why we should protect the Wilson Creek forest.

Here is a quote taken from the website of the SCCF: “A Community Forest is managed based on community values. The challenge in managing a community forest is balancing all values and stakeholders’ needs in the community. This includes recreation, the environment, business, education and providing employment.”

In my opinion, the SCCF and Sechelt council are not taking community values into account. I would think living in Sechelt and the Sunshine Coast would make us “stakeholders” too.

Why hasn’t the general public been invited to a council meeting to discuss this issue? I hope council will honour voters by allowing public input as was done in the Gibsons council in connection with Gospel Rock. This way it will be a win win situation.

Jack Stein, Gibsons

The forest must be saved

November 9, 2012

CoastReporter – Editor:

We were shocked to read, in two ads (Coast Reporter, Nov. 2) that the Sunshine Coast Community Forest (SCCF) intends to proceed with logging what we have come to know as the Wilson Creek forest, Block EW002. This amounts to an outright betrayal of commitments made to the community when logging this forest was deferred last year.

In the press release, signed by Glen Bonderud, chair of SCCF, of May 31, 2011 it states that “SCPI is deferring cutting in this block in order to study various proposals and suggestions made regarding this area.”

We have seen no evidence of a single proposal or suggestion being studied as an alternative to logging. We know many suggestions have been made. One major proposal, now part of the recently adopted Roberts Creek official community plan, is for an expanded 1,500ha Mount Elphinstone Park. The Wilson Creek forest (EW002) forms the key western portion of this proposed park.

In the same press release, Bonderud is quoted as saying, “Our goal is to meet and satisfy both our regulatory obligations and community concerns.” Community concerns about logging this last significant size lower elevation forest in the Wilson Creek watershed have been expressed by citizens sending in hundreds of cards, letters and emails to the District of Sechelt, the sole shareholder of the SCCF.

Community associations have passed motions, sent letters and put up banners all asking for protection of this forest. It is clear that there is a broad consensus in the community that this forest should not be logged.

If the SCCF management of the forest is based on community values, as it states in their ad, and if they honour commitments made, there is only one option for the Wilson Creek forest: it has to be saved.

Hans Penner, for Elphinstone Logging Focus

Show the forest the respect it deserves

CoastReporter – Editor:

I read with interest that the Sunshine Coast Community Forest is resuming its “harvesting” of the forest in Wilson Creek. The word harvest is used here to suggest a reasoned and caring approach to the management of our forests. Its use is intended to deflect all of the negative images of the word it is replacing: logging. Using this word, however, does not change the reality on the ground. Trees are about to be cut down and the forest and its landscape irreversibly changed.

In the harvesting plan, the Wilson Creek cutblock is defined as second growth forest due to a fire that occurred over 100 years ago, inferring that it is less valuable than old growth and suitable for harvesting. This is manifestly not true.

By any logical measure this is a primary growth forest going through natural regeneration, representing a natural process in which all organic material is conserved on site and all the regeneration processes occurring as they should.

This forest is home to some of the most important biodiversity in our area, that which developed to support the healthy growth of the forest itself. This includes an unknown number of important biological entities including fungi and bacteria many of which are still undiscovered and may prove integral to the healthy regeneration of the forest, the dynamics of which we are still woefully ignorant.

Through fire, the forest is renewed; through the logging process the forest is eventually diminished.

If industry wants to continue logging its farmed areas, harvesting its diminishing capital on previously managed stands,

I say fill your boots. But please do not destroy the last of our heritage environments touting concepts like harvesting, which are at best misleading and at worst deceitful. It is time we showed the forest the respect it deserves.

Andrew Sloss

Roberts Creek

Many letters for the months of July, August, September, October and November can be read in their entirety by going to the above linked newspapers. Thank you.

What’s the value of an old growth forest?

July 6, 2012


To understand the logging protest of the lower slopes on Mount Elphinstone, one needs to use eagle vision that looks at things from altitude with a bigger perspective.

A map indicating age class of forest (how old different stands of trees are) from Howe Sound to Sechelt clearly shows that there is almost no old growth left.

To understand the forest itself, you need to walk through it like the bears that have their dens nearby. First Nations people learned what plants were medicines by watching the bears. Old growth forest abounds in medicine. There is wild valerian for nerves, rattlesnake plantain for cuts and wounds, devil’s club for arthritis and yew for cancerous tumours. There is even more to discover in this biodiversity.

The 1,000-year-old yellow cedar that stands so majestically in the moss that holds pools of precious water is valued in China and Japan for making temples.

Come out walking with Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF) on Sundays and you will experience the living temple of the forest, creating all the air that you breathe. It is the life force of the planet in you.

And what is the monetary value of this piece of old growth forest? Upset price by BCTS was put at less than $4 per cubic metre in 2010, in other words, $40,000. There is something seriously wrong with an economic system and government that would trade ancient rainforest for the price of one new truck.

We are all getting ripped off, especially our children and grandchildren.

Denise Lagassé, Halfmoon Bay

Date: Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Title: Changing the World One Trail at a Time ~ Jack Stein, Gibsons

Publication: thelocalweekly, Vol 10, Issue 23, Letters to the Editor, page 5

Sally AJ Abraham-letter to editor-coast-reporter-thelocal-Sunday-Sept.25-2011

Letter to Editor, Logging deferred in Wilson Creek-June 4, 2011

One Straw opposed to cutblock-EW002-ltr-June-03-2011-Coast Reporter


Letter in Response to CF Press Release – April 8, 2011-coast reporter

Letter to Roberts Creek Community Association, March 23, 2011

Letter to Editor, The Local, Wilson Creek, CF, EW002-March 11, 2011

Letter to SCRD Board of Directors. March 10, 2011

Help Protect the Last of the Old Growth and Natural Mt. Elphinstone Forests!