Clearcutting Cancelled in the Greater Vernon Community Watershed

Vernon-based Tolko Industries was days away from logging a cut block in the Duteau Creek watershed, 500 metres above Vernon's main water intake when a local water champion reached out to CodeBlue BC about the situation.

The  Duteau Creek watershed.

The Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) was already in talks with Tolko Industries, urging them to halt their plans.

"We knew we wanted to help," said Coree Tull, Interim Co-Director of the Canadian Freshwater Alliance and CodeBlue BC committee member. "This is the primary freshwater source for over 50,000 people. It needs to be protected."

The team had to act fast. Working with members of the Vernon community, CodeBlue BC launched the petition on April 30th, asking Katrine Conroy, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and Harwinder Sandhu, MLA Vernon-Monashee to defend Vernon's drinking watershed. 

Within days, over 540 letters had been sent, and local media were picking up the story.

The outpouring of community voices worked. On May 4th, Tolko Industries backed down from logging the area, stating in a joint press release with the RDNO that they would modify their plans in light of the concerns that the logging activity could pose a risk to local water supplies.

"We're extremely happy to hear that particular area is no longer under threat," said Danielle Paydli, BC Organizer at the Canadian Freshwater Alliance and CodeBlue BC committee member. "Healthy watersheds and clean drinking water are key to BC’s prosperity and quality of life."

"But this isn't the end," she adds. "Other areas of the Great Vernon watershed are still being logged, and so are other local watersheds. It’s time for our government to give local people the power and resources to secure, restore and manage the local freshwater sources they depend on." 

CodeBlue BC is a plan to secure and sustain BC’s fresh water, the source of our health, well-being and natural wealth. Visit Code Blue BC to add your voice