Calgary

Legal action launched against logging operation in Kananaskis Country

Legal action has been launched against the Alberta government and Spray Lake Sawmills over a proposed clearcut logging operation in Kananaskis Country, southwest of Calgary.

Operation proposed near the popular Elbow Falls recreation area

The red pin shows Cobble Flats, southwest of Calgary, near where a logging operation has been approved. (Google Maps)

Legal action has been launched against the Alberta government and Spray Lake Sawmills over a proposed clearcut logging operation in Kananaskis Country, southwest of Calgary.  

The operation is to start early next year in the Mustang Hills area.

Ken Anderson of Higgerty Law says wild horses and bighorn sheep live there.

"It's located directly above the Cobble Flats Provincial Recreation Area, and the logging operation actually touches the border of it. That's how close this is," he said.

"And to the north of Mustang Hills is the Elbow Falls Provincial Recreation Area, which I think is more well known."

Anderson believes the province did not properly consult with residents or recreational users of the area. For some, their first inkling of the project was seeing flags on trees in the area.

The clearcut was approved Aug. 3, 2017.

"We're taking issue with the fact the government actually approved the operation, rather than the operation itself," he said.

He also believes an environmental assessment wasn't done and says two threatened species of fish — the Alberta west slope cutthroat trout and the bull trout — inhabit the Elbow River in that area.

"Our understanding is when you designate a species as threatened, the government has an obligation to take additional steps when it comes to doing an environmental assessment, especially on something like a logging operation, where soil will go down into the river and damage the habitat."

A date to start the court proceedings will be set next month.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said legal action had been launched against the Alberta government and Balcaen Consolidated Contracting Ltd. over logging near the Highwood Junction in Kananaskis Country. In fact, this legal action has been launched against the Alberta government and Spray Lake Sawmills over a proposed logging operation in the Mustang Hills area southwest of Calgary.
    Mar 01, 2018 8:45 AM MT