I’ve heard from a lot of people from Wynndel and northward along the East Shore in the last couple of weeks. At least enough that I asked RDCK Area A Director Garry Jackman if the end of the world as we know it is nigh.
Hot on the heels of the heli-skiing proposal for the Purcells in behind Gray Creek and Crawford Bay came complaints about the logging up above Wynndel (surprisingly, you get a great view from Northwest Boulevard as you head west past the elevators) and then the sudden closure of the Sirdar Post Office.
I took a drive up Elsie Holmes Road late last week to have a look at the logging for myself. On the way up on that gorgeous sunny day I saw a number of people standing in their yards or on the roadside, watching the logging in action. They did not appear to be overjoyed. In the distance, a tracked feller buncher was taking down trees at an amazing speed. Not having seen one in use before, I stood watching for 15 minutes or so, and grabbed a few photos.
Then I drove past Wynndel, my thoughts having turned to visiting my friend Dave Basaraba at Wynnwood Winery. Heck, maybe I would sample some wine while I was in the vicinity. As I rounded a corner on my way north, I nearly gasped at the steep logging road dropping down to Highway 3A. There isn’t much visibility on that section and I thought it looked like an accident waiting to happen.
Eventually I was told that the road was built without a permit. The landowner would have to make an application or decommission the road. Then, several days later I heard back from the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. There had been an old road on that spot, so the owner didn’t think he needed a permit. Well, he did. Sorta, kinda, because the access was revamped. You can tell that by the trees that are now leaning over toward the highway from the slope above. But the owner has agreed to decommission the access, and no fines will be forthcoming. Aren’t we a generous lot?
A year or more ago I had been tipped about the interest that Mike Jenks and Jemi Fibre Corp. were showing about this area. My extremely knowledgeable source was disdainful about his logging practices and fearful of what might happen if he purchased private land, which is his specialty, apparently. I am not opposed to logging, when it is done with care and consideration for neighbouring properties, and when the land is either replanted or left with enough seed trees to regenerate itself. My guess is that neither will happen in this case.
One Wynndel resident has told me that some of the neighbours are now planning to sell their homes rather than look at the clearcut land above. I have no idea how serious that might be, but I doubt they will have trouble selling. One person’s meat is another’s poison is the operational point at work here. Prospective buyers will see the view as it is, not as it once was. Not that I wouldn’t be ticked off if I had a deck looking out on logged site.
Back to the Sirdar Post Office. Isn’t just the way it is when bureaucrats from somewhere else (Cranbrook, in this case) make decisions. No consultation, no apparent effort to find alternatives, just shut ‘er down and if no one raises a stink, no harm, no foul. Fortunately, some are raising a stink, and maybe they will at least get some answers, if not actual satisfaction. How do you notify mailbox holders that a post office is being closed, and then close it down before they can even get their mail? Gotta admire people who get paid to behave like that, don’t you?
And, just to put an end to part of my high dudgeon, I just this moment (Tuesday morning at 10:50) heard from MP Wayne Stetski, who says that Canada Post is reopening the Sirdar Post office on Monday. The solution may or not be temporary, as the property is up for sale.