The Lucille Mountain Water Users’ Community (LMWUC) has great concern with respect to the planned logging in the Dore River and Martinson Creek watersheds.

To recap the information provided by McBride Community Forest (MCFC) Manager Patrick Penner who met with Lucille Mountain Water Users Community on October 24th, 2022: Project development started in 2019. Access to the area is 5-7 km Lucille Mtn Road. Partial and clear cuts are proposed, dual purpose with the goal of ski areas for sled ski. The timber is dying balsam and spruce budworm stand with no upcoming timber. The plan is to remove 10,000 m3 on 85 ha. Layout was finished in summer of 2021; old growth deferrals announced that fall resulted in MCFC reviewing the proposal. Currently the proposal is being referred to First Nations interests. Plans are to road build in 2023 off Lucille Mtn Road approx. 1km past the Telus access road. MCFC has provided a 120m buffer from Lucille Mtn Creek. The area layout has been marked and ribboned. An information package containing the geo-technical report, preliminary watershed assessment, draft site plan and draft site plan map were mailed in September 2022 to LMWUC members. The preliminary report from the consultant indicates that no further watershed assessment is required. Although the potential impact to the landscape would be far less in the winter season, the work is to take place in the summer to minimize impact to the sledding community.

Lucille Mountain Water User’s Community was established in 1988 to own and manage a waterline to provide clean, safe water to members. There are thirty-seven licensed users accessing domestic and stock water on our water system for properties on Westlund West Road, Westlund Road, Shovar Road, Pool Road, Museum Road, and Dyke Road. LMWUC was a significant part of the reason people purchased their property and adds significantly to property values.

MCFC started working on the development of this proposal in 2019 yet has had no public consultation with the community and the people affected by the proposed development. The risk of contamination, exposure, and damage to our water source and to our infrastructure is not insignificant. Prioritizing the recreational sledding community, mostly non residents, over our clean, safe, uninterrupted water supply to our members affecting hundreds of people, prime agricultural land and commercial farming operations, risking their livelihoods and their lives clearly indicates that MCFC values do not align with our watershed-dependent community.

The summary conclusion of DWB Consulting Services Ltd. Block 65 Preliminary Watershed Assessment, has a bold disclaimer that MCFC accepts in full stating: No person or party may utilize or rely on this document . . . We do not represent, warrant, undertake or promise that all project related information has been received, that regulations and standards of practice shall remain constant through the duration of the project, that the use of guidance in the report will lead to any particular outcome or result. The Conclusion section reads: 5.0 It is not likely that proposed CP3 Block 65 will result in an increased risk or hazard to the Dore River or Martinson Creek watersheds. . . This report includes only a preliminary assessment.

This minimal assessment for activities putting a watershed serving a significant residential and agricultural population at risk is not sufficient. The McBride Community Forest Board and its sole shareholder, the McBride Village Council have a responsibility to ensure no harm is done during its operations and to focus on improving the community they serve. LMWUC is not prepared to gamble our water source and we do not believe that MCFC has the right to gamble it either. Damage to watersheds has been the subject of successful litigation, recognizing that the land base has value other than the fibre that can be harvested from it. Unfortunately, monetary compensation does not fix damage already done, and that may take decades to repair.

LMWUC members find the preliminary assessment inadequate, the block layout and site plan inaccurate. MCFC has a history of over cutting, violation of riparian protection zones, mismanagement, failure to honour agreements and to clean up past logging issues. Managers have changed at least four times in the past four years resulting in inconsistent management and oversight of logging operations.

We are asking for the proposed activities to be put on hold until a more in-depth environmental assessment and management plan as well as a monitoring and enforcement plan to ensure compliance with FN and community values is presented to the public for consideration and comment.

Ronald Westlund, Manager, Lucille Mountain Water Users Community

McBride, BC