Diminished quality

The quality and colour of Peachland Creek's outflow into Okanagan Lake is diminished in the spring by natural factors, not logging operations, the Forest Practices Board says.

Natural environmental factors, not logging, are mainly responsible for boil-water notices in Peachland, a new report says.

Heavy snow and frequent rain washed organic material into a creek that provides most of the town's drinking water, the Forest Practices Board says.

"There was high snow accumulation and significant rainfall events during the spring of 2017 and 2018 that led to increases in the amount of sediment in the water," board chairman Kevin Kriese said in a release.

"The investigation also  confirmed that a landslide that led to a boil water advisory was the result of natural stream dynamics and saturated soils, and was not caused by forestry activity," Kriese said.

Overall, the board says, holders of forestry licences near Peachland did a "good job" of minimizing environmental impact of logging in the town's watershed.

Members of a Peachland group that has been raising concerns about logging near the town say they're disappointed but not surprised by the board's report.

"From the outset we were advised by the board that if a logging company dirties our water, and it is still able to be treated enough to be drinkable, that is legal in B.C.," says Taryn Skalbania of the Peachlnd Watershed Protection Alliance.

"The Forest Practices Board works for the same government that is controlling the questionable logging in our watershed," Skalbania says.

"Licencees may be legal, yes, but ethically and morally their practices leave much to be desired," she says. "One only has to drive through Peachland - if those clear-cuts are examples of good logging practices, or the best logging practices in the world, one must wonder what bad ones look like."

Partly as a result of concerns raised by the alliance, Peachland's town council had called for a ban on logging in the watershed until it was determined what impact, if any, forestry had on the quality of drinking water.