The logging project planned by the Metlakatla Development Corporation will get under way in short order, after a logging expert brought in to look over the logging plan said that he believed the plan would be a success.
The majority of the logging will take place by helicopter, and fifty percent of the standing timber will screen most of the operation from view.
The only concern that Gerard Olivotto had with the logging plan, was the actual pace of the project which will get underway by next week and should be wrapped up before tourist season begins. Olivotto noted that the helicopter yarding and rapid pace of the tree felling is among the most hazardous ways of logging, he urged caution for the workers.
Expressing concern for local loggers, all in a bid to protect the tourist industry, Olivotto suggested perhaps a return to logging in the fall to finish the job properly and keep the project a safe operation.
He also provided some bad news to City Council, which has expressed concerns about the esthetics of logging to the viewpoints from the city. Beyond the Metlakatla plan for across the harbour, there is a larger tract of land currently in private hands that could be logged without any restrictions what so ever.
His suggestion was either an arrangement with the current land owners or an outright purchase to protect the scenic vistas that we currently enjoy. Considering the tenuous nature of the city’s financial situation of late, one would suspect that conversation, rather than money transfers might be the way the city would have to go.
The Daily News featured the story as its Front page article in Thursday’s paper.
Expert gives ‘thumbs-up’ to village’s logging plans
By Leanne Ritchie
The Daily News
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Pages one and three
With harvesting expected to commence within a week, the consultant hired by the city to examine the logging plans of the Metlakatla Development Corporation for the inner harbour has said he believes the operation will be a success.
Council received its report from Calypso Consulting at its meeting on Monday.
Gerrard Olivotto, the registered professional forester (RPF) who visited the city and spoke with the forest district manager, said he “has confidence that this forest harvesting operation will meet the Visual Quality Objectives and maintain the beautiful scenery across the harbour from Prince Rupert for a number of reasons.”
He noted Metlakatla has taken great care in background work and planning that ensure compliance with the “retention objective,” not altering more than 1.5 per cent of the viewscape, including visual assessment and wind throw hazard assessment.
In addition, no roads will be cut because the operation will take place by helicopter and 50 per cent of standing timber will screen most of the operation.
“City hall and the forest district service manager will be watching from their office windows,” he said, and so will many citizens.
“I trust that harvesting operations will be a success and provide an example of how to do things right,” he said.
Council agreed to spend up to $2,000 to hire an RPF after being petitioned by members of the Inner Harbour Protection Society, a group concerned about the future look and preservation of trees in Prince Rupert’s harbour. The society suggested council hire an RPF to ensure concerns about proposed logging were addressed.
However Olivotto’s report was not without concerns, particularly about the timing of the cuts and the safety of the loggers.
Logging is expected to commence within a week in order to be complete by the time the cruise ships begin arriving.
“I worry about the risk to workers with a fast pace of felling and helicopter yarding,” he said.
“Those two occupations are among the highest risk of injury in the forest industry, particularly when rushed.”
“It would be sad to injure local people in order to make a good impression for visitors. It would be prudent to take more time, and complete the harvest in the fall,” said Olivotto.
He also noted a much greater threat to Prince Rupert’s view. Apparently, the Melville Arm/ Russel Arm/Salt Lake area is private land and there are no restrictions for logging on private land.
“The only way Prince Rupert can ensure preservation of its presently pristine viewscape would be to either come to an agreement with the landowners or purchase that land,” he said.
“It would make a wonderful recreation area for local citizens and visitors alike. Otherwise, potentially 30 to 50 per cent, depending on the vantage point, of the visible shore opposite the town site could be clear cut.”