Monthly Archives: July 2012

Sorrento 100 – the Lee Creek connection

In 1912, a new post office in what was then called Trappers Landing first used the name Sorrento for the cancellation stamp. Early land developer James Kinghorn had chosen the community’s name because the area reminded him of Sorrento, Italy. The 100th anniversary is being celebrated this year with a variety of events, beginning with “Gates Open,” a tour of pioneer homes on July 19th followed by a street party on July 21st.







 Coubeaux home

Many of the original homes and buildings in Sorrento and Notch Hill were built by Lee Creek homesteader Alex McKay, including the Walter Dunne Home, the Coubeaux home, and St. Mary’s Church. McKay also designed the original church, while the log work was mostly done by Tom Foster, who was half Blackfoot Nation and whose half-sister was married to another Lee Creek pioneer and remittance man, Harry Hopwood. Continue reading

Presentation to the Special Committee on Timber Supply


British Columbia has wrongfully endured over a decade of serious forest mismanagement.  Early in the last decade the B.C. government enshrined in law forestry policies that have virtually handed over the management of our public forests to the timber corporations. As well, government staffing was reduced to the point that there is nearly no one left to enforce what few rules remain. The recent report by B.C.’s Auditor General reinforced these concerns about forest mismanagement. The report concluded that the ministry has not clearly defined its timber objectives, management practices are insufficient to offset a reduction in timber supply and species diversity, and the ministry is not appropriately monitoring and reporting results in relation to its objectives.

Despite all of these problems, I have consistently voiced there has been at least one saving grace regarding forest management in this province and that was the government’s dedication to maintaining the land use plans that were developed after many years of studies and intense negotiations. Now, your committee is considering reneging on your commitment to these plans in order to allow logging of areas set aside for conservation and recreation. This would be akin to burning the furniture when the firewood runs out.

Read the rest of the presentation at the Shuswap Environmental Action Society website


Abnormal is the new normal – Shuswap flooding analysis


Federal and provincial government staff operate under a gag order that restricts the flow of information to the public. Communication staff manufacture the only information allowed to be disseminated. Consequently, it is difficult for the media and thus the public to know and understand the factors behind important issues, whether these are disasters such as what recently occurred in the Shuswap or controversial decisions such as the sale of BC Rail.

Below is a column that I recently wrote that was based in part on discussions I had with someone in government who toured the Mara hills by truck and helicopter two days after the flood events. Unfortunately, the column could not go to press because I was unable to provide the source for the information. I do plan to re-write the column in a way that the message can be delivered – which is basically that we can expect more disasters like this one due to climate change and communities must take measures to protect themselves.

Abnormal is the new normal

It was fifteen years ago that the last washout devastated the Mara Lake area, when a debris flood swept down Hummingbird Creek and tore up the highway and parts of Swansea Point. This year the damage is even greater and there were two events, one in Sicamous Creek and the other in Hummingbird and Mara Creeks which join together just above the highway. In 1997, the slide occurred because after 5 days of heavy rain, a poorly designed cutblock channeled too much water into an inappropriately placed culvert that diverted water onto a steep slope, which then gave way into the creek.

It appears that the major cause of this year’s massive flood events was simply inadequate culverts that could not channel the amount of water unleashed by upwards of 80 mm of rain that fell on the remaining snow in the mountains. For the Swansea flood, another obvious factor is clearcut logging, which has been extensive in the watersheds. The loss of forest cover results in a significant increase in the amount of water entering streams (from 5 to 70 percent more water).

read the rest of this column at the Shuswap Environmental Action Society website