Contractors are beginning to remove logging debris from 2019 on District Lot 4180, known as the old downhill ski area. (Millar Hill - 100 Mile Free Press)

Debris grinding begins near the old downhill ski area, east of Centennial Park

The removal process will take up to roughly one month

Contractors are beginning to remove debris from past logging near the old downhill ski area (DL 4180) east of Centennial Park.

Council has endorsed the change from burning to grinding the piles of debris at the Feb. 11 council meeting.

According to Joanne Doddridge, the removal process will take up to roughly one month. Blackstock Road will be used as the access route to the area for the project and all work will be restricted within the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on a daily basis.

“The project will limit access to the ski hill,” said Doddridge during the Feb. 11 meeting.

The district suggested several reasons why grinding the debris was a better option as opposed to burning. The first was the proximity to the community in general, but more specifically, the hospital and Mill Site Lodge/ Fischer Place. Burning the debris posed potential health concerns and risk to air quality.

Grinding the debris will have a smaller environmental impact because the grindings can be utilized after the fact.

According to district documents, the grindings will be shipped to Atlantic Power in Williams Lake and purchased for roughly $87,5000 for 100 loads of grindings. The approximate cost for the project is $135,000, which results in a deficit of $50,000 and will be sourced from the district’s annual operating surplus.

Council waived the purchasing policy so that they could hire Huska Holdings, Junar Enterprises Ltd./Timberland Holdings Ltd., Renee Bergbauer and the Williams Lake Power Plant. The reasoning was that the grinding contractor had already been working in the nearby Community Forest minimizing mobilization costs and the trucking company had similarly been hauling out of the Community Forest. Furthermore, both were available on short notice and insurances were already in place.

Doddridge said project notices were made to all residents in the Blackstock residential area and have been posted on the District website and bulletin boards.

The grinding work will overall reduce fuel hazards and address smoke management challenges from the burning of debris piles.

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