Argenta/JL Face logging “the Nelson Star”

Local experts say a logging company’s plans to develop an area near Johnsons Landing shouldn’t result in another landslide similar to that of the one that killed four people and destroyed three homes in 2012.

Cooper Creek Cedar owns two timber licences for the mountain face located along the east shore of Kootenay Lake between Johnsons Landing and Argenta. The company released a forest stewardship plan last year signalling its intent to log in the area, although exactly where and how large the cut blocks would be is still unknown.

Bill Kestell, Cooper Creek Cedar’s woodlands manager, said there was consensus at a March 13 meeting with independent geologists, provincial and regional representatives that the conditions around Gar Creek, which led to the Johnsons Landing slide, aren’t consistent along the rest of the face.

Logging and road construction, he added, were also not factors in the slide.

“We’re not saying the face unit itself, like any other mountainous area around here, is not a concern for terrain instability,” said Kestell. “We are still going to go ahead and do all the required, appropriate terrain stability assessments as we develop and as we go ahead.”

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development told the Star in an email that no logging or development can happen in a 278.6-hectare area around the Gar Creek drainage.

“It is possible that logging may occur in other areas along the Argenta face. However, the area available for logging is quite limited given the terrain issues, visual quality objectives and ungulate winter ranges.”

Related: RDCK to write to forest minister about Laird Creek logging

Related: Remains found at Johnsons Landing landslide

Related: Property evacuated after mudslide closes Highway 3A

Aimee Watson, the Regional District of Central Kootenay director for Area D, said she’s been in communication with Cooper Creek Cedar and her constituents regarding the issue since last year.

Landslides, she said, aren’t the only concern she’s heard from the public.

“Climate change and increasingly weather that’s extremely unpredictable, and a land base that hasn’t really ever been logged, their concerns are specific to public safety,” said Watson. “Are operations going to cause a risk to their homes, their structures and also their water systems. There’s over 52 water licences in that area, so it’s all about the safety and the protection of their community.”

Watson said she’s requested and been granted approval from the ministry for a third-party assessment of the area’s slope stability.

Technically that assessment will have no legal power because of the professional reliance model, which says that plans and practices are decided on by logging companies after a forest stewardship plan has been approved.

Peter Jordan, a professional geoscientist and landslide expert, was among those at last month’s meeting. He previously worked 25 years in the forest service and said he has plenty of experience examining the face between Argenta and Johnsons Landing.

Jordan said the area’s terrain, which is on top of sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, is more prone to landslides than the granite base Nelson is built on.

“The geology is just inherently weaker, so there’s a greater instance of landslides in that geology than there is in the more solid geology,” he said.

Jordan added logging can also cause erosion that adds sediment to water, which in turn affects fish and wildlife habitats along with water quality. On the other hand, he said logging from Argenta south to Johnsons Landing, a distance of approximately 10 kilometres, could also help mitigate wild fires in a forest that’s overdue for a burn.

Either way, Cooper Creek Cedar will need to take a lot of care for what could be a relatively small cut.

“Although there’s no requirement under present legislation that they do take any special care, in practise they do,” said Jordan. “There’s a difference between what the laws and regulations say what they have to do and what I guess they need to do to maintain their social licence to be a responsible operator.”

Jordan and Greg Utzig, a conservation ecologist, were among those in agreement that another landslide on the scale of the one six years ago was unlikely.

“We’ve had landslides occur in the last couple weeks,” said Utzig. “There’s been a number of small ones that have occurred just because of heavy rains and packed snow melt and saturated ground. But they are in the order of a few dump truck loads, whereas the Johnsons Landing slide was a huge slide by any measure.

“It’s not the kind of thing that’s a day-to-day event.”

Kestell said Cooper Creek Cedar hopes to begin field work as soon as snow melt allows for it. A preliminary work schedule provided by the company says it hopes to have identified potential cut blocks and road routes by August, and that a final application could be submitted to the ministry by September or October.

The company’s assessments will also be provided to the ministry and RDCK for peer review, and Kestell encouraged public feedback. “We’re at the very beginning of a long process,” he said.

Utzig owns land adjacent to the Johnsons Landing slide and previously conducted terrain mapping in the area during the 1980s. He said he is conflicted about future logging, which is a feeling shared by many of the area’s residents.

“The Johnsons Landing slide has actually created more of a fear of the negative repercussions than harvesting might have, although it was plenty strong enough before.”

The area being considered for logging sits between Argenta and Johnsons Landing, and is book-ended by Kootenay Lake and the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Provincial Park. Web photo


Kaslo and Area Hospice

Services are offered throughout the Regional District of Central Kootenay including Ainsworth, Kaslo, Lardeau, Cooper Creek, Meadow Creek, Howser, Argenta and Johnsons Landing. Well trained volunteers provide confidential support than can include:

  • Phone calls and visits with clients and families to give emotional support;
  • Help with practical day to day needs like appointments and outings;
  • Respite time to give at-home caregivers a break;
  • Bereavement / grief support after the death of a loved one.

Families may contact hospice office directly or ask doctors, home care provider or hospital staff to contact hospice on their behalf. All services are free. Training programs for hospice volunteers available.

Hospice Society of North Kootenay Lake
Kemball Memorial Building
201 – 312 4th Street Kaslo, BC
V0G 1M0
PH: (250) 353-2299


Healthcare directory

Victorian Health Centre of Kaslo PH:(250) 353-2211

Emergency Department open Monday to Friday 9 to 5.

Primary Health Centre: PH (250) 353-2291  choose #5 .
(Open Monday to Friday 9 to 430)

Appointments can be made for the weekend by calling the PHC office during the week.

Kootenay Lake Hospital: (Nelson):PH (250) 352-3111

Kootenay Boundary Hospital: (Trail): PH (250) 368-3311

Kootenay Boundary Regional Mental Health: (Trail)
PH (250) 364-6262

Local Art Events

Check out the Lardeau Valley Sunday Market!!!!!!! From June 16 to September!

Be sure to find the Koot’s Artists Collective massive woodland creature sculpture “Harvest” in Meadow Creek!

Director news on Schroeder Creek, Feb 2


I am aware of and have been actively pursuing solutions to the congestion in Schroeder Creek, however, transportation via roads and water are under provincial jurisdiction.

The Ministry of Transportation, responsible for public access points, has clearly indicated that any requests for development of public access points be done by the RDCK. For the RDCK to do this, it would require acquiring the land under License of Occupation, starting a new service inclusive of new staff- referendum plus 2-3 years of getting it in a long line up of other lands waiting for management plans ie: Lardeau (10 years so far).

We have parks staff, but we do not have transportation-based staff for the reason stated above, in rural electoral areas- transportation is the responsibility of the Province.

As your Director:
– I am working on a public survey inclusive of exploring other options for public access.
– I have met twice with Ministry staff onsite to discuss Orr Rd and a variety of issues at Bickel Rd. Both times they point to the RDCK to take over ownership and develop as a response to the community needs.
– I have also met with Ministry staff in Nelson.

The only success I have had in three years of lobbying for the residents is the Ministry ‘allowed’ the Schroeder Creek Home Owners Association a sign, that Area D had to pay for, indicating where other public access points are- this took over a year of negotiating.

So far, two accretions for the Orr Rd properties have been approved despite any comment received by the RDCK Area D Director or the Area D APC in opposition. Add several water access only communities that were approved for subdivision, again, under the Ministry of Transportation. None of these were approved with an overall review of impacts to the community and thus, here we are with congestion, limited access to the west side of the lake and community pressure.

With a continual increase in local taxation and a constant request to take on services that are those of another order of government, I have a hard time adding yet another service to your bill especially when I have 0 staff available for any of the work let alone the discussions. Combine this with the fact you are already paying provincially for services not being delivered; I cannot in good faith charge you as well. It’s like opening our own hospital because the provincial system is not working for our rural residents. I have certainly been asked for that, but the cost would be completely prohibitive given our tax base.

My next step is a survey, it will not have RDCK letterhead, as again, this is not our jurisdiction, but is indeed being carried out by your local elected official.

Post survey, I will investigate a community meeting to determine, hopefully with the Ministry of Transpiration, next steps. From there, if the residents want to see the RDCK take this on, it will need a petition to initiate a service case analysis that provides the basis for a referendum. If successful, local taxation would pay for the service and its operational needs.

Area D director taxation news

2019 DRAFT Taxation

The RDCK delivers 187 services, more when you separate out those housed under a larger umbrella such as wildfire mitigation being under emergency services. For Area D- you participate in 17 of those services and depending on where you live in Area D, an additional 7 may apply to you.

Close to all services are seeing an increase this year. Some are due to legislative requirements the province is imposing. Two examples of this are the Fire Safety Act which requires fire inspections of all public buildings in rural areas and cannabis legalization which now requires most of our planning dept to process and administer applications. Other increases are due to requests from community-based services such as recreation and library.

For Resource Recovery (waste) we are successful in signing up to Recycle BC which is mandated to manage recycling in BC but due to our rural and remote geography, Directors are committed to ensuring no reduction in services, therefor savings on not operating our core depots will be offset by the costs to continue operating our satellite (rural- don’t qualify under RBC rules) sites. That and the RBC requirements for staffing and inspection of commercial recycling adds up to very little saved.

The other aspect to increases are due to local government being required to do asset management planning and thus, ensuring their are reserves in place for all infrastructure. Woodbury water system will see a sharp increase to both their utility bills and parcel tax for long term needs. We are also hoping to do some major capital upgrades that does not have currently have sufficient funding to manage. We have applied for a 100% funding for the work but must plan as though we are not successful with that grant so work may proceed either way. With the asset management approach, there will be funds available in the future for these needs. While this is a smart way to manage water systems, our resource recovery assets and others, I find it curious that provincial assets such as health care facilities do not require this type of planning and/or reserves for when they break, fall apart etc. Add this to mines and we would not be dealing with what we are in regards to HB Mine. Although why we own an old mine is another story with many ??

What does this all add up? Taxes are going up. The Valley Voice attended our Meadow Creek public meeting and has reported the details on page 7 here:

Thank you, Jan, for attending and reporting!

The purpose of our Annual Budget Road Show is to hear from you. At both the Kaslo and Meadow Creek meetings, I have not heard any opposition or concerns raised. What i have heard is that residents value the services and the transparency associated with being able to go through each service and knowing exactly what we are providing and what it costs you. This information is still readily available with March as the month we finalize and approve the budget.

All of this to say- I WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU. Comments, concerns, questions.

Local Artisans


Airheart Designs: Original pastels and cards.
D.Borsos  PH: (250) 366-4325

Canterbury Leatherwork  PH: (250) 366-4427  GD Argenta BC V0G1B0

Cedar Spirit Native American Style Flutes

Grasshopper Lane Artworks: wood marquetry, oil and acrylics, soapstone sculpture, stained glass, face and body painting   Yvonne Boyd  GD Argenta BC V0G1B0  PH: (250) 366-4664

Kris De Saeger: Illustrator   PH: (250) 366-4292

Instinct Photography     Phone (250) 366-0077
FB page:

EyeoftheMind Photography Louis Bockner

LaserdIt Laser etching and cutting on wood, stone, glass and acrylic.   PH: (250) 366-4206

Nature Photographer Jim Lawrence

Sculptor Christopher Peterson large sculpting using local materials PH: (250) 366-4226

Shine Designs one of a kind felted hats and accessories PH: (250) 366-0081

Soapstone Sculpting

Nichol Ward clay sculpture and mixed media PH: (250) 366-4454