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Cowichan Valley MLA says extending logging deferral at Fairy Creek not enough

Sonia Furstenau said longer-term solutions needed
Fairy Creek. (Roger Wiles photo)

Sonia Furstenau said the province’s decision to extend the order deferring old-growth logging in the Fairy Creek watershed to Feb. 1, 2025 is merely kicking the can down the road.

Furstenau, Cowichan Valley MLA and leader of B.C.’s Green Party, said the NDP government is not putting permanent, long-term solutions for the watershed on the table.

“First Nations and Indigenous communities need conservation financing to be able to diversify their economies so they aren’t solely dependent on resource extraction,” she said.

“It’s disappointing that the province will not match the funding the federal government has put on the table for conservation financing.”

A statement from the Ministry of Forests said the extension of the deferral applies to the same forest lands as those deferred in June, 2021, in response to a request from the elected leadership of the Pacheedaht First Nation.

“The Province and First Nations will continue collaborating on long-term forest ecosystem management of the Fairy Creek watershed, including the management of old-growth forests,” the statement said.

“The province continues to work with First Nations rights and title holders to take unprecedented action to protect old-growth forests. Since November, 2021, more than two million hectares of old growth has been deferred across the province, with work continuing on additional deferrals.”

The Fairy Creek deferral protects 1,184 hectares, which is all the Crown land in the Fairy Creek watershed, that falls within the Pacheedaht territory.

The Fairy Creek watershed had been the subject of old-growth logging protests for months in 2021, leading to more than 170 arrests.

Police began enforcing a B.C. Supreme Court injunction in May, 2021, that prohibited blockades on Tree Farm Licence 46 which includes the Fairy Creek and Caycuse watersheds.

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A young tree felled by protesters to block a road in the Fairy Creek area during protests in October 2021. (RCMP handout)

Robert Barron

About the Author: Robert Barron

Since 2016, I've had had the pleasure of working with our dedicated staff and community in the Cowichan Valley.
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