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Logging at cemetery’s edge a ‘shock’ for Port Alberni residents

Mosaic Forest Management says trees came down due to public safety risk

A number of Port Alberni residents are upset to see logging activities taking place right on the edge of a cemetery.

People took to social media last weekend with photos and comments after Mosaic Forest Management took down a number of trees near Alberni Valley Memorial Gardens, on the Port Alberni Highway. The logging took place right up to the edge of the cemetery, which is owned by Yates Memorial Services, some of it just metres away from gravesites.

Barry Tuck, the owner of Yates Memorial Services, said he was “in absolute shock” when he saw what had happened behind the cemetery.

“It’s just horrible,” he said. “I’ve gotten quite a few very upset phone calls. Some of our clients understand, but some of them are just devastated.”

In a statement to the Alberni Valley News, Mosaic Forest Management says they initially planned for a retention patch of trees adjacent to Alberni Valley Memorial Gardens.

“However, further professional review indicated that retaining large trees in this area would create public safety risks with potential future blowdown,” said a Mosaic spokesperson. “Small leave trees that posed no risk of blowdown and no safety concerns were retained in this area.”

Tuck confirmed that Mosaic did reach out to him in November about harvesting activities, but he says he was assured at the time that there would be a barrier of trees left between the harvest and the cemetery.

But Tuck says Mosaic did not inform him of the changes to their harvesting plan until after the logging took place and Tuck reached out to them personally.

“If you stay back 50 or 60 feet, those trees would have been fine,” he said. “They logged so close [to the cemetery], it’s no wonder the trees were at risk. My personal feeling is they came way too close to the property.”

Mosaic says that for every tree harvested, they plan to plant at least two seedlings. This work will be done in the harvested area this spring.

However, Tuck says it will take a long time before seedlings can provide any sort of barrier.

“That’s going to take a long time to get back,” he said.

While Tuck acknowledges that Mosaic has the right to log their own property, he feels that the harvesting wasn’t done with much sensitivity to his clientele.

“If one of them had a loved one in that cemetery, I’m sure they wouldn’t have cut that close,” he said.

Tuck says he has been in contact with Mosaic about installing some sort of barrier along the cemetery, whether it takes the form of a fence or cedar trees, similar to the cedar tree barrier along the highway next to their Parksville cemetery.

“I have to address this, I can’t just leave this,” said Tuck. “I have to represent the clientele.”

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Elena Rardon

About the Author: Elena Rardon

I have worked with the Alberni Valley News since 2016.
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