You can apply for access, and pay a fee to get a key, is my understanding.
Exactly, but not everybody can apply.
The applications are primarily focused on First Nations, placer miners, hard rock miners, and members of the Victoria Fish and Game Club.
Timberwest and CRD Water know which groups have legally tested access, and grants them access with a $500.00 key deposit. If you need to get through a CRD gate as well as a Timberwest gate, that's another $500.00 (for a total of $1000.00).
This money is sketchily referenced as a "key security deposit", but is, in fact, just another method of discouraging or preventing access to Crown roads.
There are also realms of paperwork associated with the above access keys, permits, radio licenses, insurance papers, requirements for a full fuel spill and firefighting kit, etc.
And if you're not a placer miner, First Nations member, of VF&G club member ... you're not getting a key unless you go to court and fight for it. There's no gurantee you'll win said court case, as it really all depends on how you present your needs to use the roads in question, along with your evidence that the roads you wish to access are Crown roads under the law.
Roads that Timberwest (or any logging company for that matter) built from scratch are indeed private, and generally not accessible. Exceptions to that rule would be placer miners and hard rock miners, who benefit from additional legislation related exclusively to mining in B.C., and which allow for the use of any road that accesses their claim.
You have to recall that in Canada, the vast majority of landowners just own their land. The Crown retains all mineral and oil rights, and can sell those rights to whomever they want ... and that buyer is most often not the actual landowner.
As well, some Timberwest roads further up Vancouver Island are indeed opened on weekends and holidays for the general public to use ... but that doesn't apply to the Boneyard Main, or any of the other roads in and around the CRD watershed, or Timberwests south Island lands.