The political support for the fight against clear cutting in the Highwood Junction is growing as Alberta Liberal MLA David Swann is now calling on the NDP government to stop the operation.

Balcaen Consolidated Contracting Ltd. plans to begin logging near the Highwood Junction, including areas near Highway 541 along Highway 940 this week, raising concerns for residents, and municipalities nearby.

Swann toured the area on Friday Aug. 11, and is now asking the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry to reconsider the approval of this operation.

"The area I was driving through on the way to the Highwood Junction to the Highwood Pass was really lovely, and pristine," he says. "Clearly the government needs to re-think the costs and benefits of this, the small amount we get from forestry fees from a management agreement with a B.C. company hardly compares at all to the risks and costs."

Swann says there are a number of impacts the clear cutting operation will have in the area, on wildlife, and tourism, he is also concerned about the pace of the project.

"They're pushing ahead in one year what was originally planned for five years, which simply raises the question if first of all; Can we put this on pause? Just to ensure this is the right thing for Albertans, and particularly the folks of that area. Number two; This is clearly going to benefit B.C. folks and enterprise with no benefits to Albertans, there are at least two big reasons why we need to re-consider this particular development."

He is also very concerned about impacts to the watersheds in the area, which he says are particularly relevant in this dry summer.

"This will be another blow to the water quality, and quantity coming out of there, the soil obviously can't retain the moisture. Not only will there be rapid runoffs, but there will be a tremendous amount of silt which threatens the fishery, and the downstream water supply, more water treatment is needed when this kind of debris and sedimentation gets into the water system."

Swann first raised his concerns during Question Period in May, and also wrote a letter to the Minister on behalf of Foothills communities, however the logging operation will still proceed.

"The Minister indicated both in the House, and in his letter that they review these applications and follow a process, and this has met their criteria for an acceptable process. I'm asking him to reconsider that in light of the evidence which certainly suggests some of the water impacts, habitat impacts, recreation, and tourism impacts have not in fact been considered in their totality, and he should consider pausing this approval."

Okotoks, Turner Valley and Black Diamond councils have all also voiced their concerns with the operation to the NDP government.

Swann encourages residents who are concerned about the clear cutting operation to contact the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry.

Questions, comments, or story ideas? Email us at [email protected]

More Local News

Anderson Says Provincial Pot Legislation Seems Rushed

Highwood MLA Wayne Anderson says the new cannabis legislation introduced by the Provincial NDP Government seems rushed. On Thursday, Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley set out legislation involving the…

Using The Town's Designated Tobogganing Hills

The Town of Okotoks is hoping residents will get active outdoors this winter and take advantage of their designated tobogganing hills. The areas are inspected for hazards but aren't groomed. Any…

Salvation Army Kettle Campaign Kicks Off

The familiar red kettles of the Salvation Army will be out and about again this Christmas season. Lieutenant Chad Cole says they're counting on the local area to be as generous as it has been in the…

Light Up Okotoks Road Closures

Downtown Okotoks will be filled with Christmas spirit Friday night for Light Up Okotoks. To accommodate the event a few road closures will be taking place. Elizabeth Street, McRae Street, and North…

Come Visit Us During Light Up!

Light Up Okotoks brings the Christmas spirit to town tonight, and there's plenty going on at The Eagle 100.9! We'll have a fire pit to warm up, free Eagle 100.9 cookies, McDonald's coffee. If you'd…

Alberta Government Announces Cannabis Legislation

The province has officially tabled its cannabis legislation. The proposed legislation involves both the sale of cannabis, as well as the purchasing, growing, and consumption of it. Under the…

High River RCMP Looking For Suspects

High River RCMP are looking to the public for help in locating two suspects that fled from the police on November 16th. At approximately 12:30 a.m., police came across a white early 2000’s Ford F-150…

One Shoe Box Makes A Big Difference

Shoe box collection for Operation Christmas Child Okotoks starts today. Every year the program from Samaritan's Purse collects donations of packed up shoe boxes from local families for children in…

Local Bakery Shows Support For Legion Through Poppy Themed Treats

A local bakery found a way to cater to peoples sweet tooth's while supporting the Okotoks Legion. In honour of Remembrance Day last week, 94 Take the Cake created special poppy themed baked goods…

Closures Along Southridge Bridge This Morning

Motorists can expect some temporary lane closures on the Southridge bridge this morning. Transportation crews will be out installing hanging Christmas Decorations along the bridge. The closures are…

Okotoks RCMP Respond To Possible Firearm Complaint At Local School

On Wednesday, Okotoks RCMP were dispatched to a local school due to a report of a student with a possible firearm. Police say they were able to locate the student in question and found a pellet gun.…

One Dead After Crash Near Strathmore

One person is dead after a crash near Strathmore yesterday. Shortly before 5:00 p.m. Strathmore RCMP responded to a two vehicle collision on Highway 901 West of Highway 817. After investigation…

Operations Centre Wins Project Of The Year Award

The Town of Okotoks Operations Centre has won the Alberta Public Works Association's Project of the Year award. On Tuesday, Nov. 14 Jeanette Austin, Executive Director, Alberta Public Works…

RCMP Remind Residents To Lock Doors After Attempted B&E

RCMP are investigating an attempted break and enter to an Okotoks residence last week. On November 8, around 3:00 p.m. police responded to a home in the Mountain Street area after a man attempted to…

Get Into The Christmas Spirit With Light Up Okotoks

Light Up Okotoks is ready to bring holiday cheer to downtown Okotoks. The event takes place Friday with a variety of activities and late night shopping to get residents into the Christmas spirit.…

Magic of Christmas Set to Spread Holiday Joy in the Foothills

Santa will once again be visiting homes in the Foothills with a sack full of gifts, thanks to the Magic of Christmas. Donna Cameron, Magic of Christmas Foothills Division Coordinator, says the Magic…

No Serious Injuries From Highway 7 Crash

According to Okotoks RCMP those involved in an accident on Highway 7 last night walked away with no serious injuries. Around 5:30 a two vehicle collision occurred on Highway 7 at 16 St. which tied up…

Chamber Ready To Celebrate Christmas With Business Community

The Okotoks and District Chamber of Commerce is looking forward to bringing the business community together to celebrate Christmas. Their annual Christmas Social will be taking place at the Lynwood…

Province Strengthens Impaired Driving Legislation

Although possession of marihuana will be legal July 1, driving high in Alberta will be still be illegal if a bill introduced in the legislature Tuesday is passed. Transportation Minister Brian Mason…

OkotoksOnline.com is Okotoks' only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.

Search the Biz Guide

Okotoks -Our Place in History

14 January 2017 10:00 am - 20 December 2017 5:00 pm

Okotoks Museum & Archives





“Gathering In” Fall/Winter Group Art Show

21 October 2017 11:00 am - 24 January 2018 5:00 pm

Lineham House Galleries 1906, Okotoks





Dewdney Presents: Arsenic & Old Lace

10 November 2017 7:00 pm - 25 November 2017 7:00 pm

Rotary Performing Arts Centre (RPAC), Okotoks





Granary Road Christmas Market!

17 November 2017 9:30 am - 23 December 2017 5:30 pm

Granary Road





Spirit of Christmas Art Show and Sale

17 November 2017 5:00 pm - 21 December 2017 5:00 pm

Okotoks Art Gallery





National Child Day

18 November 2017 12:00 pm - 19 November 2017 4:00 pm

Okotoks Public Library, Okotoks AB, Okotoks





Resume Building and Cover Letters - "Tailoring and Targeting!"

20 November 2017 10:00 am - 12:30 pm

Vulcan Public Library, Vulcan





Login