Re: ‘Be Careful What You Wish For,’ editorial, Wednesday, May 22, 2013.
It is an interesting point of view that logging above the Juan de Fuca Marine trail is the worst case scenario. It was always a possibility and not limited to the Ilkay lands. It is permitted by the zoning. This problem began in January 2007 when Tree Farm licenses were released by the Liberal government by Minister Rich Coleman without consultation or compensation with CRD or the JdFEA. The forestry companies promptly released lands for sale and Mr .Ilkay of Marine Trail Holdings placed an option to purchase those properties and more in October 2007.
The public immediately called for protection of the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail from the boundary of the existing 160-metre wide park to Highway 14. The call went out to all levels of government. The Auditor General’s report of July 2008 laid out exactly how the Campbell government failed to act in the public interest.
The zoning was in place when Mr. Ilkay completed the purchase of seven properties above the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail for the three companies comprising Marine Trail Holdings. The zoning did not and does not permit dense housing. Ilkay said he is well aware of the restrictions on the Juan de Fuca parcels and has no intention of seeking rezoning “We fully understand that it is very clear and very limiting “Times Colonist Oct 30, 2008.
Logging is supposed to be a sustainable industry in this province. If it is done in a way that destroys the land permanently then every citizen of this province should be alarmed and the regulations changed and enforced. The logging above the JdF Marine Trail will be difficult with its 15 plus ravines and steep slopes. The companies involved have an opportunity to showcase best forestry practices. That being said, the area has been logged once in my life time. There are residents of Sooke who worked on replanting it. During the past 50 years, the forest on Charters River on the route to Grassy Lake was logged, the old growth above Sombrio Beach was logged, the grove at Well’s O ‘Weary was logged. Of these three logged areas, the only one not available for recreation, park or wild life is Wells O’Weary. It was cleared for housing.
Efforts have continuously been made locally to protect the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail. The Capital Regional District is the only level of government that responded to the public outrage with the purchase 2,350 hectares of lands at Jordan River, Sandcut, Weeks Lake and lands in the Sooke Hills including Charters River when these lands were reoffered in March of 2009. The CRD parks budget is tapped out until 2016.
Sooke and Vancouver Island residents enjoy their wild surroundings but between Sooke and Port Renfrew only three per cent of the land is preserved or protected for wild life or public use. This includes the recent CRD purchase, the provincial and federal parks and the flora and fauna reserves. Preservation of wilderness is essential to the areas identity as “Wild by Nature.”
Our wish is that the Clark government will create a buffer for the JdF Marine trail extended to Highway 14; logged or not. Despite logging, the forest will regenerate. Building houses forever alienates these lands from either logging or wilderness. Dense housing is the worst case scenario for this wilderness.