Letter: response to proposed increase in log boom capacity

Tuesday, January 31 2017

My name is Doug MacDonald. My wife Lynn and I are full-time residents of Mudge Island, living adjacent to the Northumberland Channel. We are two of many Mudge islanders who strongly oppose any increase to the existing booming grounds between Mudge and Gabriola Island. It was with wonder that I read the article written by editor Kilbourn (Jan/17) wherein Gord Cawley speaking on behalf of Quadrant Investments attempts to justify the need for, and benefits of, this new boom area. 

Aside from the obvious objections regarding increased noise, lights, pollution and probable destruction of precious natural habitat, we are opposed at the onset of how this process has been handled to date. Like the rest of our islanders, we heard about the application via the grapevine. While we are given to understand that a notice of the application was submitted to a Vancouver Island newspaper, to my knowledge nothing was published in the areas most effected. While perhaps an oversight, from our perspective it appears as sneaky. In fact, until Mr. Cawley responded by email to concerns of a fellow Mudge islander on January 11, 2017 (one day before the close of submissions to the Ministry), there had been neither contact nor consultation with any of us. The letter that I refer to was both insulting and condescending. Essentially, it was pointed out to us that booms are good for the habitat; we are already exposed to noise and light so a little more shouldn’t cause concern. It was suggested that “heavy blinds” could ease light stress as well. 

Mr. Cawley’s comments in the January 17 article seemed reasonable, and sensitive to islanders’ concerns. This sensitivity and reasonableness lacking in his letter six days prior. Of concern at this point is, could reason and sensitivity change should the application be approved? 

With respect to the exact location of the proposed booming area, we are also concerned. Mr. Cawley states in both the Jan.17 article and Jan. 16 email, that the area articulated in his application “did not include the final location of the log storage grounds.” As of today’s date I can find nothing on the Ministry site that reflects any change other than that as shown on the application. As with the previous paragraph, if it is possible to move the proposed area north before a decision is made, is it possible that the booms could be moved south if the application is approved? To our thinking, this process has lacked transparency; there are no discernible benefits to either area resident or natural habitat. It is our hope that the Ministry concurs, and that this application be rejected. 

~ Douglas MacDonald