Kalesnikoff Lumber has given the public until Nov. 1 to comment on its new forest stewardship plan for its licences in the Arrow Lakes and Kootenay Lake areas. The five year plan was first made public in August, and Tyler Hodgkinson, the company’s woodlands manager, presented it to the Regional District of Central Kootenay board this month.
But Hodgkinson told the Star later that the plan won’t be much help to the public because it is written in legalese.
“Once it is approved, it is considered a legal document,” he said. “You would have to be a lawyer or have a degree in forestry to understand it.”
So his job, he says, is to find other ways to talk to the public about what and where the company plans to log, and how it will deal with such things as grizzly bears, caribou, scenic corridors, invasive plants, old growth forest, rural water systems, soils, species at risk, and ungulate winter range.
“For example, in Glade there was a waterfall that is very special to people there,” Hodgkinson said. “They took me out there and showed it to me. It will go in my environmental management plan. We will know that waterfall is there and we will protect it.”
Hodgkinson says he learned an important lesson three years ago when, new to his job, he found himself enmeshed in a public controversy about logging in the Duhamel Creek watershed.
“Now we have a working group of residents at Duhamel,” he says. “One thing I learned there is that I have to engage with the public as soon as possible if I am going to go into their backyard.
“We need to do a better job with residents, engaging them and bringing them into our plans. Some people never pay attention until they hear the equipment working, even though we have contacted them by mail. They don’t pay attention until it is too late.”
Hodgkinson says he will take feedback from anyone about the stewardship plan any time, even after the deadline.