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RDNO Urges Tolko to Halt Plans to Log Land above 60% of the Water Supply for all of Greater Vernon

Posted Thursday, April 22, 2021

Update, May 4, 2021 - The RDNO thanks Tolko for modifying their harvest plans to exclude this area. Read the press release.

The RDNO received notice on April 9, 2021, that the logging company Tolko intends to begin logging activity in May 2021 on a cut block 500 metres above the RDNO’s Duteau Creek water intake* and is now urging Tolko to halt their plans until both parties can meet and find a mutually beneficial solution.

The Duteau Creek water intake supplies 60% of the water for Greater Vernon, and Tolko’s proposed logging activity is on top of a steep slope right above this vital source of water. Removing many trees and disturbing land at the top of a steep slope can lead to geotechnical instability. Engineering staff and a hydrologist retained by the RDNO are very concerned about the potential that logging activity and the remaining semi-cleared land on this specific block could lead to the water system being damaged by a landslide or debris torrent. Based on the current information available, the risk to water quality and quantity is unacceptable to the RDNO.

The RDNO has been in communication with Tolko about this block since it first became aware of the intention to log there in 2016. The RDNO has relayed its concerns. While Tolko has made marginal changes to their plan in response, the information Tolko has provided has not convinced the RDNO that the risk of damage to water infrastructure has been properly addressed.

“We want to be clear. The RDNO is not opposed to logging or forestry operations. We have serious concerns about logging at this specific location, and we are asking Tolko to pause and work with us so we can find a mutually beneficial solution,” said Kevin Acton, Chair of the RDNO Board of Directors.

One of the RDNO’s primary organizational purposes is to protect the drinking and agricultural water for our customers. The RDNO urges Tolko to halt its planned logging activity on the portion of this block within the watershed boundary and engage with the RDNO in developing a solution that adequately addresses the dual objectives of fibre access and water protection.

Additional Information

*Note: the Duteau Creek water intake has multiple names and is also known as the Headgates, Headgates Intake pond, Headgates Intake and Harvey Lake.