Vernon, British Columbia, Canada, 11 January 2010 -- In a decision released 11 January 2010, the British Columbia Supreme Court granted Tolko Industries Ltd.’s application to restrain the Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) and other parties as named from interfering with Tolko’s road construction and timber harvesting operations in the Brown’s Creek area west of Okanagan Lake.
“We are pleased with the court’s decision and the clarity it provides our company to move forward,” said Mark Tamas, Okanagan Woodlands regional manager for Tolko. “The decision recognized the legal authority of cutting permits provided to us by the province and that the proposed harvesting will meet appropriate environmental safeguards.”
The Honourable Justice Brown has asked the parties to develop a method, before harvesting taking place, that will protect the Okanagan Indian Band’s ability to conduct further gathering of archeological evidence. “We contacted the Okanagan Indian Band earlier today asking them to work with us to develop these plans within the next two weeks as required by the courts,” says Tamas. “We are ready to meet with them at anytime.”
The area, which has been heavily affected by the mountain pine beetle epidemic, is also a vital timber supply for the Tolko sawmill in Armstrong. A two-week holiday shutdown of the local operation, affecting 175 employees, has been extended until at least 25 January. “Our ability to access the cost-effective fiber from Brown’s Creek is important to support ongoing operations at Armstrong,” said Tamas.
The company has been discussing its forest management plans for the Brown’s Creek area within Tolko’s Tree Farm License with the OKIB for more than a decade. “We have a long and valued relationship with the OKIB and will continue working with them in the future,” said Tamas.
Tolko Industries Ltd. is a private, Canadian-owned forest products company based in Vernon, British Columbia. Tolko is a major producer and marketer of lumber, veneer, plywood, oriented strand board, and kraft papers, with manufacturing operations across western Canada. The company’s Woodlands operations have received third-party certification of their sustainable forest management systems.