North Cowichan council has approved recommendations that the Forest Advisory Committee put forward with regard to harvesting trees affected by December’s windstorm.

Mayor Al Siebring said the bulk of the activity in the Municipal Forest Reserve will be taking the blown down trees and harvesting them, along with finishing up on existing contracts from last year.

Siebring said there is talk in the community that the best thing council can do is leave the blowdown and piles where they are, however, he said experts disagree.

“There’s discussion out there of folks who say we should leave all the blowdown alone because it’s actually good for the environment,” said Siebring. “Our experts are telling us that a) it’s a forest fire hazard and b) it attracts beetles, which can not only attack the logs that are down but, also attack some of the standing lumber that’s there.”

Harvesting of the Stoney Hill, Mount Tzouhalem and Maple Mountain areas will be a reality, but Siebring said no additional roads will be built to harvest additional blowdown.

“Taking the trees that were blown down and harvesting those, that’s not conventional logging, that’s essentially just clean up,” said Siebring. “Council was told last week that some of the blowdown areas won’t be accessible without some major road-building. We won’t be touching those areas, we just going to be clearing out the blowdowns where we can keep the forest reserve as safe as possible for the public.”

Recent snowfall has delayed assessments in the Mount Richards, Mount Sicker, and Mount Prevost areas.

Siebring expects approximately eight thousand cubic metres of blowdown to be taken out of the reserve.