Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson has responded to the City of Revelstoke regarding the controversial proposed logging in Revelstoke’s cross-country skiing and mountain biking areas at Mount Macpherson. Previously, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) board received a letter that was interpreted as a rebuff of their call for more consultation on forestry issues.

This time, Revelstoke City Council’s request for more consultation on Mount Macpherson logging was parried, with the forests minister writing that plenty of consultation had occurred, and was ongoing.

Revelstoke City Council opted to write a letter to the forests minister earlier this year, requesting increased public consultation between the community, the province and the logging companies — including  the provincially controlled BC Timber Sales.

The response the city received from Minister Steve Thomson on June 4 (and made public June 19) is similar to the one recently received by the CSRD. It explains the current consultation process, and while it does not explicitly reject the city’s request, it does not move to make any changes.

“The Mount Macpherson area is an excellent example of how BCTS has successfully demonstrated that timber harvesting can occur in sensitive and high public use areas and that other important values, including recreation, can mutually co-exist on the forest land base,” Minister Thomson states in the letter.

Minister Thomson explains the background of forestry planning under the Forest and Range Practices Act, and the planning framework for the Mount Macpherson area.

He cites a community meeting in January and a BCTS open house in March as examples of ongoing consultation: “BCTS remains committed to preparing harvest plans that continue to incorporate the important values and concerns they have heard from the community and other stakeholders,” he writes.

The logging plans resulted in a petition requesting logging be suspended until the issues could be sorted out.

“BCTS will continue the important dialogue with the community and stakeholders in preparing and adapting harvest plans for the Mount Macpherson area,” minister Thomson states. “When the proposed plan is revised, BCTS staff will arrange a meeting with the City of Revelstoke to review the plan and receive further input and comment. I am confident that by working together we can continue the success at Mount Macpherson.”

City of Revelstoke mayor Mark McKee was not available immediately for comment.

The letter is on the agenda for Revelstoke City Council’s June 23 meeting, where council will presumably address the issue.