So Squamish has a new billboard at the entrance to town. Instead of the traditional ineffective tacky sign, this time it’s a big ol’ clear cut.
While some are furious, I’m left feeling only defeated sadness.
The area in question is the Malamute, where recreationalists have been using the land with permission for several years Recently, the trees were quickly cut during road construction and the act definitely has the optics of being a move of stealthy spite. Now, we find everyone involved scrambling to make sense of this unfortunate turn of events.
Of course, when trees are cut, emotions run high as the embarrassing letters in the Chief beautifully illustrated. First there was the climber going off the deep end demanding “a prison sentence and community service”. Not to be outdone, another, apparently visually impaired writer suggested “you can barely see it”. Then ironically asks “when does a community... developed from logging become ashamed of the logging industry”
As much as some will rekindle the hurtful and unproductive fires of perceived anti-logging, the rest of us can think about this rationally as we know damn well this has nothing to do with the logging industry. This is about blatant contempt for our community and our community’s laws.
Now, politically this clear-cut is a dangerous move. Granted, ticking off climbers is a safe move because unfortunately most of them don’t vote (prove me wrong). But more than pissing off climbers and the community at large, they have clear cut the feather in Gordon Campbell’s green Olympic hat. This highway was to be an Olympic showcase and now the world will be exposed to an unavoidable eyesore.
On the local political front however, this is a very big deal because it’s our councils first real test. Sure the environmental by-law has been around for two years, but this is the first time it will be tested to such a large degree. And this is why I’m so upset.
It was my dream scenario that one of the countless arrogant out of town developers would swagger in and brazenly defy the by-law thinking they’re showing us hicks how business is really done. This could have led to a glorious moment for our council to come together and nail the lawbreaker to the wall.
But it’s not some slimy, Hummer driving villain. Instead, the first person to show contempt for our council’s laws is, sadly, one of us.
Now having been pushed into a corner, council has the unpleasant task of making an example of a long time corporate citizen by pursuing this to the full extent of the law. Yes, this will end in court, but it has to be done. Those that ok’d the logging know it, and so does our council.
It’s with no joy I say what everyone knows, and that’s if the fine is a penny less than the maximum amount, we will have once again proven ourselves to be the laughing stock the development community is taking us for.