Chemainus Residents Association considers Duncan a good example for treatment of urban forests

Kathy Wachs thanks Duncan city council for its current urban forest initiative while expressing concern for Echo Heights in Chemainus.


Editor’s Note: This is a letter sent to Mayor Phil Kent and City of Duncan council

Bravo! You are to be congratulated for your current urban forest initiative, involving a series of public education workshops in support of your 2010 Urban Forest Strategy. Here in your neighbouring municipality of North Cowichan, the public are also interested in urban forests.

The Chemainus Residents Association, as well as many others, have grave concerns about North Cowichan Council’s decision to prepare a plan to cut down 20 per cent of Echo Heights Forest in Chemainus to sell off for housing.

Echo Heights, part of a unique Coastal Douglas Fir ecosystem, comprises 54 acres which have recovered nicely from logging decades ago. Reputable scientists and other experts have spoken out about the value of Echo Heights Forest, and its economic, tourism, land use planning, ecological, cultural, educational and recreational values have been documented.

North Cowichan Council contends that 80 per cent of the forest will be preserved. Yet scientific research shows that the sections of a forest left standing after cutting (“fragmentation”) also suffer. As a result, for the past eight years, Chemainus citizens have been calling for preservation of 100 per cent of Echo Heights Forest.

North Cowichan is moving toward irreparably damaging a long-term asset for short-term financial gain. Ironically, North Cowichan has recently been honoured for its Climate Change and Energy Plan which calls for more, not less, municipal forest.

Thank you, Duncan, for setting a good example for the proper treatment of urban forests.

Kathy Wachs

Chair, Chemainus Residents Association