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Dust season turns to mud season in Youbou as TimberWest ponders its next move
TimberWest is not prepared to comment yet on its next move in the Great Youbou dust storm controversy.
But plenty of others have no such reservations.
As the rains come, and the dust problem changes to mud and water spray, residents continue to push for an answer to the problem of logging truck dust billowing and mud splattering on the main road and residential properties, local officials continue to pressure the province to do something.
Cowichan Valley MLA Bill Routley has been actively pursuing the minister of transportation and the minister of forests, and their staffs to take action, as is Youbou Director Pat Weaver.
Weaver has forwarded each a dust and mud video collection. Calling the stiuation a health concern, she has also sent letters to the Ministry of Health, hoping that may garner some results.
And she is calling for residents to continue to write letters of complaint to these ministries a well.
Ministry of Highways spokesperson Kate Trotter said trucking firms are required to keep the main road clean.
“As a condition of their permit to access Youbou Road, TimberWest is responsible for removing or mitigating the deposition of materials onto the provincial public road,” she told the Gazette in an email.
“The conditions of access stipulate that TimberWest must remove material deposited on the provincial public road. It is at their discretion as to the method they use to mitigate the deposition of material onto the road.”
When questioned about lack of enforcement, she said the ministry has been collaborating with TimberWest on the issue and TimberWest is responsible to comply.
“TimberWest in the past has carried out programs of sweeping, power washing the pavement as well as applying dust control treatments to the gravel portions of their road as it enters Youbou.”
Routley said the government’s push to deregulate industry has left outside enforcement non-existent
Routley suggested paving the final portion of TimberWest’s logging road leading into the community may move the dust problem on to their lands and away from Youbou.
TimberWest has explored the idea of installing a truck wash west of the town, but that idea hit a roadblock when the Cowichan Valley Regional District reversed a decision to contribute $5,000 to help build the facility.
It is not clear whether the truck wash is still on the table.
TimberWest spokeswoman Sue Handel declined an interview request for the time being.
“ I can’t provide you an update today but will be in touch when we have clarified our next steps on this project.”