Saturday, 19 January 2008

Hauling Logs in Crowsnest Pass

A local company has timber quotas in the York and Star Creek basins. There is in that area about 15 years worth of logging. Those logs of course do have to get to where they are going to be processed which necessitates the logs being hauled out of that area to the highway by truck.

A couple of years back the company approached the municipality for a road use agreement to use the roads through Willow Drive and West Coleman to haul logs out of the Star Creek area. Council approved that road use agreement much to the dismay of the local residents. After being approached by them with their concerns I talked with a local forestry officer and found out that SRD had stated their preference to the company that the logs be hauled out to the highway westerly to Crowsnest Lake. I brought that information back to council and council changed its position on the road use agreement. The company then used the better route for its log haul.

In 2006 the company was logging in the York Creek area and because of legal wranglings with Luscar was stopped from being able to haul through their mine yard property. A truck or two did end up going right through Bushtown. A local resident informed me of this and the municipality did stop this unapproved route. In discussions with the owner of the company I learned of the basis of the dispute between him and Luscar Coal. I called a friend employed by Luscar and because of his company's commitment to establish good will with the people of Crowsnest Pass he did agree to let the company haul through the property for that year only.

This winter prior to Christmas operational services committee brought a recommendation to council to approve a road use agreement for the same company to haul logs through South West Blairmore past the Seniors lodges and to the highway on the west end of Blairmore. In response to my question regarding alternate routes the committee's response was there was no other way out. Council then unanimously passed my motion that the residents of the area be given the opportunity to state their position on the proposed route.

Last week I was in contact with the buyer of Luscar's property and he agreed that a short term solution (2 - 3 years) could be worked out with the logging company should the company be co-operative. I did talk with the owner of the logging company and it appears there is good potential for the parties to come to an understanding on using the Luscar property for the log haul. I was also told by the logging company that because of the delay in getting a road use agreement he had lost a contract and would not be hauling any logs this winter.

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