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RDNO urges Tolko Industries to reconsider logging plans near water-intake system

The Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) is expressing serious concerns over Tolko Industry’s plans to log an area 500 metres from one of Greater Vernon’s water-intake systems. 

“Tolko sent us notification, giving us notice (that in) about three weeks they plan on logging a block that we’ve had quite a few concerns about for a few years now,” said Tricia Brett, RDNO’s manager of water quality.

The logging is scheduled to begin next month.

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“The concerns are that the water would concentrate on the slope, cause sediment input, debris torrent and a (possible) landslide that could ultimately plug up the lake,” said Brett.

The water-intake system, located in Lavington, is responsible for delivering clean water to over 40,000 residents in the Greater Vernon area, according to the RDNO.

Tolko Industries has its own expert report and shared it with the RDNO.

In a statement, the company said, “Tolko’s staff geoscientist field-reviewed the site and produced his professional evaluation and report, which indicated that it would be safe to harvest in the area.”

The RDNO said it has reviewed that report.

“We looked at the expert opinion from Tolko and we looked at ours. And it’s really not comparing apples to apples. Tolko is considering the risk in their block and the RDNO is considering the broader risk, the drinking water,” said Brett.

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The RDNO is urging Tolko to halt their plans until both parties can meet and find a mutually beneficial solution.

In response, Tolko said, “We have been discussing the issue and meeting with RDNO, and they sent us a letter three days ago with their concerns. We’re currently evaluating the information in their letter.”

So far, Tolko has not said if it will postpone its plans.

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