Documents obtained by the Alberta Wilderness Association through a Freedom of Information (FOIP) request imply the then provincial ministry of Sustainable Resource Development decided to proceed with a logging project in southeastern Alberta despite concerns from its own Fish and Wildlife department.
“Fish and Wildlife staff was given minimal opportunity for input, and documents show that input was ignored,” says a press release from the Alberta Wilderness Association.
Castle-Crown Wilderness Coalition president Gord Petersen, who is also reviewing the documents, says Fish and Wildlife expressed concern the project could harm a range of sensitive species in the Castle-Crown Wilderness Area where the clearcut logging began February, 2012.
“Basically all that stuff was ignored,” Petersen says.
Petersen is part of a group that has obtained a judicial review into the logging licence for Castle-Crown the provincial government granted in 2005 to Spray Lake Sawmills.
He says the FOIP request resulted in a package of documents with a significant portion of information blacked out. He was surprised more by the information that wasn’t there, especially concerning public opposition to the logging. He says his group does intend to use the FOIP documents as evidence in the judicial review.
Environment Minister Diana McQueen is meeting with the Alberta Wilderness Association on August 23, specifically to discuss the Castle-Crown logging currently underway.