Mudge islanders objecting to proposal for log storage in channel

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Tuesday, January 10 2017

Mudge Islanders were finding out this past weekend that a Coquitlam-based company has applied to build a log storage area in the Northumberland Channel, near the Percy Anchorage between Mudge and Gabriola Island. (just west of Green Wharf on Gabriola Island)

The deadline for public feedback on the application is this Thursday, Jan. 12.

The company, Quadrant Towing, states in its application to the BC Government that the lease would be for a period of ten to thirty years, and would operate year-round.

It would utlize concrete anchors placed in the channel to tie the log booms up to while awaiting loading.

Gordon Cawley of Quadrant Investments, wrote in the application (dated Dec. 13, 2016) is being made because of the location’s close proximity to the break-bulk shiploading facilities in Nanaimo Harbour.

“The Nanaimo Harbour storage grounds at Protection Island is too small for the growing log export business being done at the ship loading terminal.

“Short weather windos for log towing companies bringing log booms to Nanaimo Harbour are causing overcrowding and insufficient time to meet shiploading schedules.

“This is especially true during winter months. Lease would allow early log boom deliveries during the fair weather windows all times of the year.”

The application states forest industry companies contacted have given positive feedback on the application. No First Nations have been contacted and an archeological study of the lease area has not been done.

Under the environmental impact section of the applicant, when asked if there will be any adverse effects of the project and any potential adverse effects on sight lines to the project from surrounding areas likely to be used for scenic viewing by residents or other users, the applicant has answered, “No.”

In the section where applicants are asked to describe the current community setting near the project area, the applicant states, “some marine traffic in area will have to avoid log booms in storage. There are a few cottages on the shoreline of Mudge Island 150+ meters away.”

Scott Flemming, writing on behalf of The Mudge Island Citizen’s Society (M.I.C.S.) said the members are very concerned about the proposed log storage lease. 

“The lease area lays directly between two of our primary emergency evacuation docks, Green Wharf and Moonshine Cove. We use these facilities for transporting sick and injured people from Mudge often in the middle of the night in less than ideal weather conditions. 

“This proposed lease will directly affect our ability to safely do this and will put added undue risk on our volunteers and equipment.

“We were shocked to only learn of this application yesterday with a deadline to comment on the application quickly approaching.”

Mudge Islander Jes Andersen said in response to the application, “I’m strongly opposed to the approval of this application as submitted.  A 24/7 operation close to my front door with the added noise, exhaust smell and flood lights flashing in my windows all night is not what I expect for our Gulf Islands.  

“There is ample room west of the Duke Point Ferry terminal for additional Log Storage in an area that has been largely empty.  We don’t need any further industrialization of our Gulf Islands without any direct benefit but all of the drawbacks.”

Mudge Islander Lisa Mallet, in writing to the BC Crown Land Tenures Branch, has said the applicant is completely understating the community setting that would be directly impacted by the log storage.

“He says there is “some marine traffic” when there is actually major marine traffic including existing tug/boom operations already regularly travelling through Northumberland Channel and False Narrows, plus a full range of private and commercial boats that regularly hang out in this exact area waiting for a tide change so they can navigate through nearby Dodd Narrows.”

Mallet, along with other Mudge Islanders, also pointed out the hundreds of people on Mudge Island who come and go via the route between the Coho Cove Yacht Club and Green Wharf on Gabriola, in which the proposed lease area lies.

Mallet writes, “This application endangers the community on every level from destroying viewscapes, to endangering wildlife, to threatening the lives and safety of all boaters around here.

“The application erroneously states “there are a few cottages” on the Mudge shoreline when almost every property potentially affected by this application has a permanent, custom-built home with year-round residents present.

Andersen and Mallet both pointed out the danger of storing logs in the Northumberland Channel, particularly in the winter time.

Mallet wrote that the BC Government needs to consider, “the frequent extreme wind/weather conditions that rip through Northumberland Channel and Percy Anchorage.

“We regularly experience Northwesterly storms and 3 foot swells, which are dangerous enough without the threat of obstructing booms that will break up in these swells and damage existing infrastructure under foreshore leases. 

“We deal with enough escaped boom logs and driftwood already in this area....this is an unacceptable application in every way and should never be approved let alone accepted as a plausible application.”