Penner under political fire as byelection campaigns heat up

MLA Barry Penner's role in allowing logging in Spotted Owl habitat is being questioned by the Friends of the Chilliwack River Valley.

Chilliwack-Hope MLA Barry Penner’s role in a gravel mine approval and allowing logging in Spotted Owl habitat is being questioned by the Friends of the Chilliwack River Valley.

But Penner dismissed the allegations Wednesday as the kind of political rhetoric expected before the upcoming byelection to fill his seat as he leaves provincial politics.

“I expect to hear more of the same as the byelection unfolds,” he said.

Penner denied he had anything to do with the decision to allow logging in the wildlife habitat area (WHA) set aside to protect Spotted Owls.

“I had nothing to do with the logging decision,” he said. “Ministers don’t issue logging permits.”

By legislation, forestry officials make those decisions, he said, not ministers, to keep politics out of the process.

Penner said he’d seen the CFV’s news release, but he did not comment on the allegation that when he was environment minister he had halted an environmental assessment of a proposed gravel mine in Larsen’s Bench.

CRV spokesman Glen Thompson said environment ministry officials had earlier stated the decision “was made by Barry Penner himself.”

Thompson said he could produce a document to back up the allegation, but he also felt Penner had an obligation to meet with the CRV and disclose how both these decisions were made.

“This was done on his watch,” Thompson said. “That’s something we want to ask him before he disappears.”

Thompson said the CRV only learned of the logging approval at a public meeting held last fall by Tamihi Logging officials.

“It appears most likely that Mr. Penner would be involved in the negotiations since he was the minister responsible, and the WHA is located in his riding,” Thompson said.

“Three years is a long time to negotiate what amounts to two or three weeks of work,” he added. “We wonder if there are more surprises coming.”

Thompson was going to run for the NDP nomination in the riding, but later withdrew his name.

However, federal NDP MP Peter Julian has been invited to a tour of the Spotted Owl habitat on Dec. 20, along with Western Canada Wilderness Committee officials who held a campout last year to protest logging in the area.

Just Posted

Young Hope man with autism wants understanding, end to taunts

Brayden Duplessis, Grace 10 student at Hope Secondary, shares his story

New welding equipment for Hope Secondary

More time on welders for Hope high school students, thanks to new gear

Hope teens headed to BC Winter Games

Julius Brysch, 14, and Danielle Bacon, 13, are in Kamloops this weekend

UPDATE: 10-20 cm of snow expected Friday in Lower Mainland

Snowfall warning in effect from North Shore mountains out to Hope

Parents cross over painting job on 6 Ave. crosswalks

Crosswalks, not painted since September, are a safety concern for two parents

VIDEO: What you need to know today at the B.C. Games

B.C. Winter Games athletes work for gold in the last full day of competition

B.C. Games: Athletes talk Team Canada at PyeongChang 2018

From Andi Naudie to Evan McEachran there’s an Olympian for every athlete to look up to

Snowboarders sliding into fresh territory at B.C. Games

Athletes hit the slopes for first appearance as an event at the B.C. Winter Games in Kamloops

Cariboo woman raises funds for Seizure Investigation Unit beds at VGH

VGH Foundation gets VCH approval to begin fundraising for SIU beds; local efforts are paying off

Looking back at the 1979 B.C. Games: Good memories, even better jackets

39 years later, Kamloops is hosting the Winter Games again, with some volunteers returning

OLYMPICS 101: Oldest and youngest Canadians to reach the podium

This year, Canada sent its most athletes in Winter Games history, here’s a look at record breakers

BCHL Today: Cowichan Caps play spoiler and Nanaimo wins 10th straight game

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Federal budget to unveil incentive for 5-week second parent leave: official

Goal behind the measure is to give parents more incentive to share child-rearing responsibilities

Notley says Alberta watching B.C. court bid closely, will get no free ride on it

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley ended the three-week ban on B.C. wine, calming the trade war

Most Read