Application for log storage area near False Narrows turned down by Ministry

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, March 14 2017

The application to construct a log handling/storage area between Gabriola and Mudge islands near False Narrows has been turned down.

Confirmation of this came via Annette Bailey of the South Island Natural Resource District of the Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Ministry.

Bailey said the district is “disallowing this application based on a variety of factors, one of which is the inconsistency with bylaws and zoning.”

Rhonda Morris, District Manager for the South Island Natural Resource District said in her letter to the Regional District of Nanaimo that her decision to disallow the application was was based on a number of factors including but not limited to:

• The letter received from Regional District of Nanaimo and the concerns raised;

• The proposed activity is located in a water zone that does not allow industrial log handling/storage. The proposed log handling/storage use area in in the Water General Zone (WG) in Gabriola Island Land Use Bylaw No. 177.; and

• A report regarding the a Notice of Work has not been provided by Transport Canada – Navigable Waters – Vancouver.

According to Morris, the applicant may wish to re-apply for log storage/handling in an area that is permissible as per the Gabriola Island Land Use Bylaw with the applicant being advised of the required components for a thorough and complete application.

The application had been filed by Quadrant Investments, a Coquitlam-based company.

Gord Cawley had spoken to the Sounder as representative of Quadrant, and had said the drive to have the storage area constructed was to meet the growing number of vessels being loaded in Port Nanaimo with raw logs for export overseas.

Cawley said, "I think FLNRO turned our application down due to the controversy they themselves caused by misrepresenting the correct location of the lease application. I believe the Islanders reasonably objected to the original location. Although the location applied for was removed way to the West from the disputed transit lane for Mudge Island commuters, by then they were probably so soured they would have objected to anything in the Northern Hemisphere. 

"We will be reapplying in the near future but will probably directly consult with some of the user groups first rather than leave it to FLNRO to continue with misrepresentations of the lease and its values to Nanaimo Harbour and surrounding employers. There are many benefits that residences of Gabriola and Mudge Islands have not evaluated. Primarily reduced towing through Gabriola and Dodd Passes, greatly reduced yarding at Coalmine Bay, and a Debris removal Barge stationed in the Harbour, to name a few. I hope we will get an opportunity to consult directly with interested Islanders in the near future. Our goal is to provide the safest means possible for our tug crews and log booms while delivering tows to Nanaimo Harbour."

When news of the application hit Mudge Island, residents of Mudge were vocal in opposing the storage area’s construction, particularly as it looked like booms stored at the Quadrant site would block the line between Mudge Island and Green Wharf on Gabriola.

The Gabriola Island Trustees and the RDN Director Howard Houle both issued letters to the Ministry objecting to the application.

The Islands Trust letter clearly outlined that the proposed storage area was to be put in a water zone that does not allow an industrial log handling/storage use.

After hearing the application had been disallowed, Houle said, “I would like to thank all those people who sent letters not supporting this facility in False Narrows. 

“The powers to be have listened to our collective voice calling to stop this project and to protect our safe water access to and from Mudge Island.”