Tuesday, September 8, 2009  
   Volume 79 - Issue 36 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“The more glitter this place gets, the more money will come to it. When a film comes to town it drops a hundred grand a week.”
- Dan Stoddart  
- on local film interest 

 

 
The ongoing disagreement between municipal council and Spray Lake Sawmills over logging and road use agreements took a turn last week. After Spray Lake ran full page ads in local newspapers indicating that they would close Atlas Road if no agreement were created, council voted to hold a meeting with the timber harvesting company and with Sustainable Resource Development in late September.
At the council meeting on Tuesday, September 1, Councillor David Cole made a motion to extend the current road use agreement with Spray Lake until September 30 so that the meeting could take place. The current agreement allows Spray Lake to haul logs down the municipal portion of Atlas Road to Highway 3.
Council previously denied this extension, which was requested by Spray Lake so that the company could finish hauling out timber that has already been cut down. Spray Lake is also requesting a new road use agreement to facilitate their planned timber harvest in the McGillivray Creek area, which council has also denied.
According to Gord Lehn, Woodlands Manager with Spray Lake Sawmills, the company owns a 37 km stretch of Atlas Road, from the northern municipal boundary up to Dutch Creek. They acquired this road when they purchased the now-defunct Atlas Lumber.
In order to manage its existing timber licences, says Lehn, Spray Lake needs access to Highway 3 across municipal roads. Since the public has historically been allowed access to Atlas Road, which exists because of timber harvesting, he says, the company feels that allowing them to access municipal roads is a natural fit.
 
"To this point the municipality has been reluctant to provide those agreements," says Lehn. "We were feeling we were up against a brick wall."
Lehn explains that if Spray Lake cannot haul timber out through municipal roads, then they do not have any further use for Atlas Road and cannot justify the expense of keeping it open and maintaining it. The normal process in that case, he says, is to put the road to bed.
What this means would depend on talks with SRD, says Lehn. He indicates that it could be any combination of pulling the stream crossings, re-vegetating the road, recontouring portions of the road, and gating the road to allow the new vegetation to take hold.
However, Lehn says that he feels hopeful that Spray Lake and council can reach an agreement, and that setting up the meeting for later this month is a positive step.
The extension of the current road use agreement to September 30 will give Spray Lake the time to haul most of the fallen timber up Atlas Road. But Lehn notes that due to an SRD directive, they cannot haul out any pine beetle wood until after October 1. This is because SRD feels that only after that date can they feel certain that no beetles remain in the wood from the summer flight, beetles that could be spread to new areas if they are hauled out in trucks too early.
Lehn says that it will likely take them another week or so after September 30 to completely finish their hauling from that area.
Whether or not council will extend the road use agreement that extra week, and the issue of the McGillivray Creek road use, will likely be main topics of discussion when council, SRD, and Spray Lake meet later in September.
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   Volume 79 - Issue 36 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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