A large land-use issue has arisen around saving Hamilton Marsh (which, though not actually IN Parksville region, is close enough that Carol will meet up with it). I've pasted some background at the bottom of this email. Carol might want to coordinate with Dave Thompson on this one (and perhaps has already -- although I realize there are a million fires to put out (or feed?) these days!)
The latest development (from the meeting which took place this past Wednesday, the 16th, attended by Trumper) is that she pled 'can't do anything about it because...' According to Richard Dean, who attended:
.... "I asked about public notice, environmental assessments, drinking water protection, etc when Weyerhaeuser planned to clearcut. Her [Trumper's] reply was to state that this was private land and the owner could basically do as he liked. ..."
This statement of Trumper's is simply not true. According to Minister Abbot (Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management) there is a Private Managed Forest Land Act under which all forest management activities on the land must comply with certain restrictions -specifically, they must be conducted in such a way that the key environmental values of fish habitat, drinking water quality, soil conservation and critical wildlife habitat are respected. (See Minister Abbot's letter below). There is a Council with an Executive Director to oversee this Act. Trumper was either ignorant and determined to remain so, or deliberately obfuscating.
I am sending a copy of this email to Dave Thompson in order to help coordination.
793 Temple Street
Parksville, BC V9P 1B1
MAR -1 2005
Dear Ms. Peacey:
The Honourable Michael de Jong, Minister of Forests, has forwarded your email
correspondence of January 18,2005, respecting proposed logging on private lands in the
Qualicum Beach area of Vancouver Island, for my response.
The specific area of land in question is Hamilton Marsh, a wetland area which forms part of
larger lands owned by Weyerhaeuser Company. You have asked how this wetland area -a
natural habitat for marsh birds -could be owned and logged by a private interest instead of
being owned and protected by the Crown. The area in question is part of a larger tract of land
which stretches along the east coast of Vancouver Island and was granted by the Crown to the
E & N Railway Company in the 1800s. The land was granted for the express purpose of
completing construction of a railway -one of the conditions for the province entering into the
Dominion of Canada. Subsequently, the lands were sold to MacMillan-Bloedel Ltd and then
in January 2000 Weyerhaeuser Company acquired MacMillan-Bloedel Ltd.
Hamilton Marsh lies within managed forest area #19 forming part of lands designated as
private managed forest land under the Private Managed Forest Land Act (Act). In accordance
with the Act and regulations made under it, all forest management activities on the land must
comply with certain restrictions -specifically, they must be conducted in such a way that the
key environmental values of fish habitat, drinking water quality, soil conservation and critical
wildlife habitat are respected.
Responsibility for establishing and enforcing forest practice standards, according to the Act,
rests with the Private Managed Forest Land Council. Ministry staff has been in touch with
Stuart Macpherson, the Council's Executive Director, and he advises that he has been in touch
with Weyerhaeuser Company respecting Hamilton Marsh. Any further questions or concerns
respecting this land or any other private managed forest lands should be directed to
Mr. Macpherson at (250) 386-5737.
Office of the Minister
PO Box 9054 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9E2
Parliament Buildings, Victoria
Thank you for writing to me with your concerns about Hamilton Marsh.
Honourable Michael de long
Minister of Forests
Honourable Bill Barisoff
Minister of Water, Land and Air Protection
Stuart Macpherson, Executive Director
Private Managed Forest Land Council
PLEASE VISIT: WWW.LWBCWATCH.ORG
This is an announcement concerning the organization of a new group
called "The Friends of Hamilton Marsh". As many of you may have heard,
the 200 acre Marsh which is located just outside of Qualicum Beach
(northwest of Hwy 4), has been marked for logging by Weyerhaeuser. The
ribbons are on the trees. This marsh is an exceptional wetland habitat
recognized by the Canadian Wildlife Society as one of the most
productive ecosystems in the region. School children in the area have
used the marsh for their environmental education. It is also a
potential node for the Regional Trail System. Additionally, the Marsh
impacts our local water quality and quantity. It is a tributary to
The Friends of Hamilton Marsh are seeking to work with the Town of
Qualicum Beach, the City of Parksville, the RDN, Ducks Unlimited, the
Nature Trust, the Canadian Wildlife Society, and others, to seek a
positive alternative to logging. Ideally the Marsh would be left as a
natural or a conservation area.
If you have concerns about the wildlife in the area and/or our local
drinking water, which will be under a serious strain this summer, please
join the Friends of Hamilton Marsh. A meeting will be held on
Wednesday, March 16th at the Civic Centre in Qualicum Beach at 7:00 p.m.
(doors open at 6:30) to discuss the issue of the Marsh and the means to
Date: Wednesday, March 16th
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Civic Centre, Qualicum Beach (Windsor OAP Room).
Contact: Ceri Peacey (752-4720)
Many volunteers are needed. Everyone welcome.
Please forward this email to all of your friends and neighbours.
ISLAND LENS - February 18, 2005
by Richard Boyce
WEYERHAEUSER LOGGING AROUND HAMILTON MARSH
Weyerhaeuser has started Timber Cruising at Hamilton Marsh by marking
off the forest that they will cut down in the near future. Somehow the
Regional District of Nanaimo, which put this sensitive wetland area on a
priority list back in their 1995 Parks plan, has failed to protect this
ecosystem. Supposedly some sort of negotiations are underway to protect
something but the process is being rushed through before anything is
made clear. This may seem very confusing and that's because it is.
However, the end result of all this will be the destruction of Hamilton
Marsh as we know it.
For six years I was transported on a bus to school through the forest
that stood between Coombs and Qualicum Beach. Many times I rode my
bicycle along this windy stretch of road and enjoyed the "Sleepy Hollow'
effect created by the tall trees, swampy pools, giant ferns, and thick
underbrush. On several occasions I followed the trails into Hamilton
Marsh on guided tours where biologists and bird watchers pointed out
many species of birds and vegetation. Since then I have continued to
visit Hamilton Marsh with friends to check out this unique open water
ecosystem which attracts an abundance of waterfowl. One year the ice was
thick enough for locals to skate, many people showed up from Errington,
Coombs, Hilliers, and Qualicum Beach. A community treat provided by
Hamilton Marsh is a unique environment because it includes a large body
of open water which is surrounded by a wetland forest. This marsh
performs several important tasks for the surrounding region. It helps
to filter, slow down, and store groundwater that flows into French
Creek. In doing so it helps to regulate the flow of water into this
Salmon rearing creek which supports a salmon enhancement-program as well
as providing drinking water for residents downstream. During times of
drought and times of flooding, this wetland helps to regulate the flow
of water, acting like a sponge that is essential for the watershed
Hamilton Marsh provides a habitat for a wide variety of birds,
amphibians, insects, and mammals. Studies have shown that dragonflies
are of particular interest due to their abundance and variety of
species. Many people enjoy the trails that have been established by
volunteers over the years. Members of the public are under the
impression that government bodies at several levels have already
protected this environmental jewel that is an important part of 'our'
backyards. Information should be available from your RDN
representative: email@example.com or contact the Chair of RDN Regional
Parks Plan Select Committee Larry McNabb (250) 753-2792
Today, much of the wetland forest around Hamilton Marsh has been
destroyed by Weyerhaeuser. A stroll down the 'old Coombs cut-off'
reveals clear-cuts, burn piles, and devastation all around.
Weyerhaeuser claims to practice sustainable logging which they call
Variable Retention but what do they really care about 'our' backyard?
Since 1999, when the Canadian company MacMillan-Bloedel was bought by
the US logging giant Weyerhaeuser, thousands of workers have been laid
off on Vancouver Island. I have seen logging of the most heinous
destruction, thousands of acres of land have been logged and flogged for
development, the export of raw logs has increased dramatically, log
sorts have shut down, helicopters have poured thousands of tons of
chemicals into our watersheds, and today Weyerhaeuser is attempting to
sell all of its Canadian assets to Brascan. An investment company that
deals primarily with real-estate, hydro-electric dams, and nuclear power
On a much smaller scale I have watched two different wetland forests
near my home in Errington transformed from shady wooded areas into
virtual deserts after Weyerhaeuser logged these parcels of land for
development purposes. Small pools, surrounded by a dense understory of
ferns and lush undergrowth, held water into the autumn after even the
driest summers. The moisture retained by these wetland forests helped
to maintain the water table and provided life to a variety of flora and
fauna. Today this same area is devoid of trees and the discharge of
water during the rains becomes so intense that the soil is washed
downhill, silt makes its way into the salmon rearing streams below.
Under the heat of the summer sun this same land becomes cracked and the
wind helps to parch the soil, turning the area into dry wasteland
devoid of life.
ISLAND LENS - March 4, 2005
by Richard Boyce
PARKS SOLD OUT FROM UNDER CHILDREN
Last week I had the honour of accompanying the grade four/five class of
French Creek Elementary School in their exploration of Hamilton Marsh.
My last article had sparked a discussion that led to a field trip and I
was asked to join them to provide some commentary. The energy and
curiosity of more than thirty children wandering through the wetland
forest reminded me of my own school field trip along that same trail
some twenty-five years ago. I wondered how many classes have explored
this unique ecosystem over the years. How many of you remember those
I was inspired by the thrill, joy, and enthusiasm shown by the school
children as they hunted for cones from different species of trees,
caught then released frogs, and gazed into the water looking for
salamanders. Those children reminded me of the inquisitive nature of
humanity that many adults have replaced with greed.
Ecologically significant properties around the province have been set
aside by regional districts at the request of the local voting public.
However, because all crown land is governed by the provincial government
(subject to First Nations Treaties which still have not been negotiated
or signed), those properties have been leased to local municipalities.
When the BC Liberals took power in 2001 they ordered Land and Water
British Columbia to more than double the annual rate of sale by
selling-off $77 million of public (Crown) lands each year to private
real estate developers. Leases, held by regional districts around the
province, were not renewed when their leases expired. This despite the
provincial target that 12% of the landbase be set aside for parklands.
On the mainland 95% of the land base is publicly owned and managed by
the crown. On the east coast of Vancouver island, due to the Dunsmuir
Agreement of 1885, only 5% of the land base is crown land.
LWBC is selling off public land in Oceanside. For many years local
residents have been assured by the Regional District of Nanaimo that
Little Mountain, Morrison Creek, and land in Dashwood known as the 'Lost
Trails Wetlands' have been protected as parks. Recently the leases on
all three properties expired and were not renewed by LWBC. That is
until local residents began to learn the facts.
In July 2004 Chris Walther, RPF and local resident Ed Jewer submitted a
report providing a detailed analysis of the biogeoclimatic variants and
aquatic habitats in the Lost Trails Wetlands. As a result LWBC was
persuaded to renew a 10 year lease for a small municipal park with the
RDN and has committed in principal 3 other parcels. Mr. Jewer is
encouraged by this although he would like to see long term protection
for these parcels and is still very concerned that there are more
sensitive areas that need to be protected. " Of the 11 wetlands
identified by LWBC report, only 3 wetlands have full protection, 2
others have partial." In a water assessment document provided to Mr.
Jewer by LWBC it is stated that "The water absorption provided by this
land likely plays a role in recharging ground water levels and supply of
moderating flows to the Little Qualicum River." LWBC currently has the
remaining parcels on the market for sale.
These reports, as well as one submitted by LWBC, were assessed by the
Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection. On January 27, 2005
Ecosystems Officer M. E. Henigman wrote; "As previously advised, the
study area lies within the Coastal Douglas-fir, moist maritime (CDFmm)
and very dry maritime, Coastal Western Hemlock (CWHxml) BEC zones,
within which all forest ecosystems are red and blue listed in the
province of British Columbia. As conservation mechanisms to preserve
these BEC variants on private land are extremely weak, their protection
on Crown land is essential if these ecosystems are to be maintained.
Development of the study area, in particular logging the mid-to-older
age timber classes, can be expected to accelerate the loss of these
ecosystems on Vancouver Island." This statement is quoted directly from
a letter to Mark Hallam - Acting Manager, Major Projects - Strategic
Initiatives Division Land and Water British Columbia Inc.
Mr. Jewer is continuing to encourage protection on the remaining Crown
Parcels. The limited listing date of March 22 doesn't leave much time.
For more information please contact Mr. Jewer at (752-1833) or visit