10th December 2018
December 6, 2018
John Horgan, Premier of British Columbia
George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy
Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operation and Rural Development
Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture
Dear Premier Horgan and Ministers:
I am writing to you under the instruction of the Arrowsmith Parks and Land-use Council and our
varied associate groups and individuals. APLUC, as we are locally known, is a coalition of many
groups and individuals who exercise a mandate to engage with community, government and
industry with a goal to promote the conservation and enjoyment of natural green space in our
We seek here to share our deep concern with you regarding recent, and ongoing logging in the
French Creek Watershed, which encompasses a part of the east face of Mount Arrowsmith and a
continuous band down to the ocean shore. The headwaters of French Creek contain many
tributaries, as can be seen on the attached map.
Extensive logging is taking place both above, and
within the area of the headwaters. Intentions for further logging are very extensive; plans are to log
well up the mountain.
Reasons for our concern:
-French Creek is designated as a community watershed under the Forest and Range Practices Act.
-To our knowledge, this community watershed has never been properly assessed as a source of
-French Creek is fish-bearing with several salmon species and trout calling it home. Last month
residents were watching coho spawn in the creek in Coombs, near the area currently being logged.
Coho and trout are dependent on adequate, clean water remaining in the creek next summer, and we
are already at the tipping point with barely enough flow to keep the fish alive. It is of note that
French Creek is one of only 15 streams in BC designated as “sensitive”, according to the Water
Sustainability Act. “A sensitive stream designation protects fish populations that are at risk from
damage to the stream’s aquatic ecosystem.”
For many years the water supply in this area has been severely stressed. Small farms have routinely
run out of water in August.
The French Creek Watershed is a major source of drinking water in the Coombs / Errington area
and it contributes significantly to water supplies of neighbouring Qualicum Beach and Parksville
through recharge of two major aquifers (#216 & #217). Water levels have been declining in these
aquifers for the past five years, as well as in the prior measured period.
The entire area’s water supply, for both people and fish is threatened through logging-induced
sediment, run-off and seasonal drought. At the same time there are increasing numbers of residents
and businesses depending on the watershed for household and farm use. Without forest cover on the
upper reaches of the watershed to hold water in the dry summer months, both residents and
businesses, as well as fish will be in big trouble.
A study of French Creek was produced by the Ministry of Water, Land and Air Protection and the
Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management in 2001/02 that provided recommendations to
mitigate impacts on wildlife in this sensitive ecosystem. That report is using data that is now almost 20 years old and pressures have significantly increased on the watershed over this time; a new study of current conditions is overdue.
For these reasons and more, including the possibility of a disaster with the potential instability of the hillside, we are hereby requesting that you implement an immediate and indeterminate
moratorium on all logging operations in this watershed until a thorough and significant study can be done to determine the long and short term impacts of any further logging in what we understand to be a highly stressed watershed.
On behalf of Arrowsmith Parks and Land-use Council
And the following community endorsers:
Coombs Farmers’ Institute
Qualicum Beach Streamkeepers Society
Arrowsmith Watershed Coalition
Vancouver Island Waterwatch Coalition
Communities to Protect our Coast
Oceanside Coalition for Strong Communities
Friends of French Creek Conservation Society
Ross Petersen – Registered Biologist
Arrowsmith Parks and Land-Use Council
Enclosure: Map of French Creek Watershed
CC: Scott Fraser, MLA Mid Island Pacific Rim
Michelle Stilwell, MLA Parksville - Qualicum
Minister Jonathan Wilkinson – Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Ian Thorpe, Board Chair, Regional District of Nanaimo
Leanne Salter, RDN Director, Electoral area F
Clarke Gourlay, RDN Director, Electoral area G
Ed Mayne, Mayor, Parksville
Brian Wiese, Mayor, Qualicum Beach