TimberWest forester says harvest plan near Cumberland, British Columbia, will help provide jobs for islanders, tells council meeting that 435-hectare cut represents 3% of watershed area in productive forest that will be replanted

CUMBERLAND, British Columbia , June 27, 2013 () – TimberWest plans to harvest 435 ha of forest in the Cumberland area in two separate blocks. In a delegation to council June 24 Domenico Iannidardo, the company's hydrologist and chief forester, said the cut, which represents 3 per cent of the entire watershed area, is part of sustainable forest management and will help provide jobs for islanders.

"It's a very productive forest," he said, adding the last time the company harvested in the Cumberland area was three years ago. "Your kids don't necessarily have to go work in Fort McMurray or somewhere else."

The company, which manages 320,000 ha of private and 150,000 ha of public land, owns the rights to 56 per cent of forests in the Comox Lake Watershed.

It owns 78 per cent of private managed forests directly in the Cumberland area.

Iannidardo also urged council to work together with TimberWest to fight what he called "poor policies" enacted by government that add red tape to operations without effectively protecting wildlife.

"Of course there's some problematic issues," he said with a note of optimism. "We think there's nothing but bright things ahead."

When Coun. Kate Greening asked if the company replants right away Iannidardo said the company is required to do so by law.

Coun. Gwyn Sproule asked if TimberWest sprays against weed species. Iannidardo said he was unaware of this happening in the Cumberland area, but noted if it had taken place it would have been for good reason and taken place in consultation with administration.

In his presentation Iannidardo explained the company breaks the Comox Lake Watershed into sub-basins, three of which cover the Cumberland region.

Within this area there are six water licenses, two of which are intake points, which he said the company pays particular heed to when planning operations.

"We've had a very good relationship with TimberWest over the years and I hope that continues," said Mayor Leslie Baird, noting her own kids have left the community to go work.

Iannidardo said while forestry is still affected by environmental conditions improved management has extended work availability.

"We have a wide timber profile," he said. "It's still a seasonal industry."

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