Protect the McNeill Lake Drinking Watershed

Success: At May 2013 – Through the efforts of ELF and others; the community, SCRD and SIB were made aware of this potential logging in the watershed.  Site tours took place.  BCTS has since revised its cutting plans.  For full details see extensive press in the Coast Reporter and thelocal weekly.



Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF) has learned that logging in South Pender Harbour’s Community Drinking Watershed could begin Spring 2013 without adequate public input, and knowledge of the water purveyor, The Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD).

BC Timber Sales’ (BCTS) Cutblock A89069 (maps linked at bottom of page) is an area of 30 Ha with the “majority” being located in the McNeil Lake Community Drinking Watershed. There are 5 separate cutblocks in TSL 89069 – 3 of them being directly in the watershed boundaries. Ownership and operation of the South Pender Harbour Water System was assumed by the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) in 2008. It provides potable water to approximately 2,300 residents in the Madeira Park andFrances Peninsula areas. The source of supply is from McNeil Lake and the water intake is on Haslam Creek.

“Logging in the McNeil Lake Community Watershed should be of great concern to the residents who rely on the water for their domestic consumption.” Ross Muirhead of ELF states. “BCTS is setting the low price of the timber sale at $500,000. The long-term damages to the drinking water could easily exceed the gross revenue of the timber sale.  The least that BCTS can do is cancel the 3 blocks that are clearly in the watershed boundaries. It’s the local tax-payers that could be holding the bill for increased maintenance to their waterworks, not the Provincial government.”

“It’s outrageous that this logging is being imposed upon the community of South Pender by BCTS. Each tree in this watershed acts like a filtration plant”, says Hans Penner of ELF. “Even if a new water treatment plant is built for this system in late 2013, increased sediment will impact filters leading to increased maintenance costs of the water works. The demand for higher levels of chlorine to deal with bacteria that’s obscured by suspended sediments is a real possibility. Chlorine is a known carcinogenic and its levels should be minimized. Cleaner the water means lower levels of chlorine required to treat the water.”

On January 17th, SCRD called upon BCTS to cancel TSL A89069 and to respect their position of being against timber extraction within the drinking watersheds that are within their jurisdiction.

Residents are encouraged to contact the Senior Planner for BC Timber Sales, Norm Kempe in Campbell River at            250-286-9359      , email:

Call the SCRD Director for the Pender Habour area, Mr. Frank Mauro at             604-740-1457       to voice your concerns.

To view the proposed BC Timber Sales Cutblock A89069 for the McNeill Lake Community Watersheds, click the two links below. 



Related Articles and Media

Coast Reporter article – Jan 25, 2013: SCRD calls for halt to planned logging in watershed

Coast Reporter article – Jan 18, 2013: ELF launches campaign against McNeill Lake logging

Coast Radio station article – Jan 18, 2013: McNeill Lake Logging Plan Latest to Stir Controversy



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