What happens when two diametrically opposed interests sit down in a room together to discuss their positions? Generally, a lot of fighting and arguing, and accusations thrown around without much being solved at the end of all that.
Take the case of Spray Lake Sawmills and conservation and activist groups like Take a Stand Kananaskis (TASK) and Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), which we have reported on in this week’s paper. TASK and CPAWS and other groups have been calling for public consultations with Spray Lake Sawmills and the Alberta government to discuss the future of the Highwood and West Bragg Creek forests slated for the axe. However, that call has been either ignored or had both parties passing the buck to the other about who is responsible for such consultations. Traditionally, it has been the companies which are considered responsible for such consultations. It is true of every municipality Great West Media’s covers in the region– companies are supposed to be on point for such consultations and report back to the government when those consultations are complete.
The province, however, has the ability to mandate consultation, if it so chooses, when it comes to logging, mining, highway construction, dam construction or any other area which falls under the Crown. The fact the Alberta government has declined to do so in these cases speaks volumes about its intentions.
With SLS declining to consult, and the Alberta government not mandating that they do, likely there will be none, despite the calls from those wishing to save those hectares from the impending clearcut.
From another perspective, SLS and the government are very aware there are many opposed to logging in Highwood and West Bragg Creek, and such consultations would only likely serve one purpose– to delay the logging and allow opposition forces to organize and galvanize public support to oppose the cutting.
They do not wish that; so no consultations.
For those opposed to logging these areas, it seems both SLS and the Alberta government have their minds set on carrying on despite local opposition. And if those opposition forces want to have their voices heard, they are going to have to find another way.