A conservation group has raised concerns about logging being conducted in the Elk Valley and its impact on environmentally-sensitive areas.
According to Wildsight, CanWel is currently actively logging near Sulphur Springs, south of Elkford, and has future planned blocks that lack adequate buffers near wetlands and riparian areas along the Elk and Fording rivers.
CanWel is a Vancouver-based company and one of Canada’s largest national distributors in the building materials and related products sector.
In May 2016, it took over Jemi Fibre, a forest products company that operates primarily in British Columbia and Saskatchewan.
At the time of sale, Jemi Fibre owned approximately 136,000 acres (55,037ha) of private timberlands, strategic Crown licenses and tenures, log harvesting and trucking operations, several post and pole peeling facilities, two pressure-treated specialty wood production plants, and one specialty sawmill.
Wildsight Conservation Coordinator Eddie Petryshen said Wildsight previously had a good relationship with Jemi.
“We have worked with Jemi over the last four years to preserve connectivity, high value habitat, and riparian values on their managed forest throughout the East Kootenay,” he said.
“However, since Jemi was sold to CanWel and there has been a change in management, we have not had as much input into their operations.”
Wildsight claims many of the critical reserves laid out with Jemi have now been harvested by CanWel.
“This includes some riparian areas and much of the old and mature forest left in their parcels of private land,” said Petryshen.
The Free Press made several attempts to contact CanWel but did not receive a response by press time.