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

VIDEO: Bloodhounds join the search for missing Chilliwack woman

Petsearchers Canada arrive in town Monday afternoon to help out

‘No little nook and cranny that’s too small’ in search for Chilliwack woman, say RCMP

Residents urged by police to assist in search for Grace Baranyk by checking property thoroughly

Search continues for missing elderly woman in Chilliwack

RCMP, Chilliwack Search and Rescue and community members combing area for Grace Baranyk

Big Chill a hot event in Langley

Flight Museum holds “ask the pilot panel” and demos flights for young pilots over the weekend

VIDEO: Hiker airlifted from Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park Sunday

Park east of Chilliwack popular with tourist and B.C. residents who walk up to the falls

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Most Read