What with our ongoing water issues – winter floods, boil water alerts, etc. etc. – I’m sure local citizens of the Comox Valley I’m sure will find the letter below I sent off last September, and never, ever received a reply or answer back, of some interest.

Att: Cowichan Watershed Board Co-Chairs:

c/c Project Watershed

Further to your letter dated 22nd February 2017, a response to my emails sent to David Anderson late last year in regards to TimberWest’s overcut and the disaster of the Private Managed Forests Lands Act, I was no way intending to dismiss climate change as a factor in exacerbating late summer/fall and winter flow levels in the Cowichan River. Indeed, I’m on the same page as George Monbiot, the well known English journalist who speaks to environmental issues, who has been arguing that we are dealing with climate breakdown…not climate change.

That being said, what I was trying to get across was that by turning a blind eye to ‘what has gone down’ in the upper reaches of the Cowichan watershed the effects of climate breakdown have been magnified to a massive degree as well as all private forests lands along the east coast of Vancouver Island. (google: University of Maryland Global Forest Change and scroll over to Vancouver Island. Also, note my Letter to Editor in research file enclosed.)

This raises the question why is that the Cowichan Watershed Board seems so reluctant to take on a particularly toxic public policy (thanks to our former Liberal provincial government) where the ‘the fox was left in charge of the chicken house’ courtesy of “professional reliance” and the Private Managed Forests Land Act? Indeed, this is apparently the same attitude that our local group, Project Watershed, has maintained since the early 2000s: at all cost, the P.M.F. Lands Act and TimberWest’s blitzing of all drainages that lead into Comox Lake, the source of our local community’s drinking water, are taboo subjects never to be raised let alone ever mentioned.

This raises two questions: how exactly have both the Comox Valley Watershed and Cowichan Watershed Boards been funded since their day of inception? And can we ever expect a more upfront and honest dealing with the on going disaster in one of the most unique landscapes in North America; the coastal Douglas fir biogeoclimatic zone along the east coast of Vancouver Island?

Indeed, overall, we as Canadians have a lot to answer for since our standing in regards to Forest Loss by Country (try googling) is currently #3:

Russia: 42.3 Mha

Brazil: 38.77 Mha

Canada: 31.77 Mha

All that more disgusting when one considers our population in comparison to that of #1 and #2…

Rick James

Royston, B.C.

Photo- Logging truck with two loaded trailers at weigh station on Island Highway just north of Duncan. Taken in early June, showing 40 – 50 year old ‘sticks’ of wood; 2nd growth which has been shaved off TimberWest’s Cowichan claim over past few years.