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General News · 21st June 2012
christine robinson
A respectful 3 hour meeting was held between residents of Cortes Island and Island Timberlands (IT) representatives at the Gorge Hall on Tuesday, June 19.

Present were close to a hundred people from Cortes, and six representatives of Island Timberlands: Wayne French -Planning Team Lead Engineer; Morgan Kennah- Manager, Sustainable Timberlands and Community Affairs; 
Brad Rodway - Manager, Production Planning and Infrastructure
; Brian Saunders - President, White Raven Innovations (past Island Timberlands Area Forester); Jacques Prairie - Planning Team Engineer; Rick Craig - Contract Supervisor.

IT began with a power point presentation describing sensitive ecosystem inventory (SEI) mapping and comparing cut block maps presented to the community February 2012 to the updated June 2012 cut block maps.

The strong sentiment in the Gorge Hall was that the form for the remainder of the meeting be one of a collective discussion for all present, rather than dispersing to talk with individual IT staff, to which IT agreed.
Morgan Kennah, Wayne French, and Brian Saunders fielded the questions and concerns from Cortes residents. A speaker list was compiled by Cortes resident, Christine Robinson.

There were 22 speakers who asked questions or made statements, with several other individuals adding their comment on pertinent issues. The meeting was recorded, and a copy will likely be made available to people through the FOCI office (to be confirmed).

Questions covered a diverse range of topics, from specific issues on herbicide & pesticide use to broad forestry issues on corporate forestry operations.
Included were questions on protecting water quality & the island's watersheds, short term & long term job opportunities for locals, impact on public roads & the Gorge Harbour, impact on fish & wildlife, the negative effects on tourism, and the community interest in the Whaletown Commons.

There was an atmosphere of respectfulness & attentive listening by all, a ‘town hall’ meeting as they are meant to be. It was much appreciated that IT staff were flexible in responding to the wishes of Cortes residents for the meeting format.

There will be more information posted regarding IT’s plans as maps are updated and made available to the community. IT did confirm that their immediate plans are to begin road building in September and logging in October/November, 2012.

Thank you to all for coming out and speaking intelligently and passionately about this important issue.