More than 200 citizens, including Sooke, Port Renfrew, and West Shore Chambers of Commerce, First Nations, local governments and environmental groups, gathered in Victoria to request the provincial government draws up policies to protect the old-growth forests in B.C. (Contributed)

Groups demand protection of Island’s old-growth forests

Policies needed to protect old-growth trees, says Ancient Forest Alliance

B.C.’s old-growth forests will not go down without a fight.

More than 200 people, including members of the Sooke, Port Renfrew, and West Shore chambers of commerce, First Nations, local governments and environmental groups, gathered in Victoria on Tuesday demanding the provincial government create policies to protect old-growth forests.

Old-growth forests play an important role for many reasons, including providing a home for endangered species, sustaining climate, attracting tourism, and is a large part of First Nations culture.

But 75 per cent of B.C.’s original old-growth forests have already been logged, and only eight per cent of Vancouver Island’s old-growth forests are in protected areas.

The Ancient Forest Alliance is seeking to have short and long-term policy changes implemented by the government.

The longer term policies would involve a law to protect forests, and annual funding that would allow the government to buy and protect lands of “high conservation, cultural or recreational value.”

For a more short-term solution, the alliance suggested implementing a policy that the B.C. government is almost finished developing called a Big Tree Protection Order, which would protect the biggest trees on the coast with buffer zones. They also believe the NDP should stop B.C. Timber Sales (the B.C. government’s logging agency) from cutting down any more old-growth areas.

The NDP’s 2017 election platform states: “we will modernize land-use planning to effectively and sustainable manage B.C.’s … forests and old growth. We will take an evidence-based scientific approach and use the ecosystem-based management of the Great Bear Rainforest as a model.”

“We’ve long agreed with these campaigners more needs to be done to protect the health of our vital forests, which for 16 years were left degraded by the B.C. Liberal government,” said Premier John Horgan in a statement.

“Doug Donaldson (minister of forests) met in October with the groups who held the rally Tuesday night. They shared with him a thoughtful and comprehensive analysis with what they see as the problem and offered some solutions.”

Horgan said the campaigners’ discussion paper is being analyzed by the ministry right now and they will have more to say about it once the study is complete.

If the NDP follows through with the statement, the remaining old-growth forests would be protected.

“I’m looking forward to the solutions he (Donaldson) brings forward,” Horgan said.

Ken Wu, executive director of the alliance, said Tuesday’s rally sent an unmistakable message to the NDP that B.C. citizens want to see a major change and improvement in the forestry industry.

“We look forward to seeing some concrete action in the coming months, especially during the February sitting of the legislature, where we expect the B.C. government to follow through on its 2017 election platform commitments,” Wu said.

Just Posted

A picture of John taken at Children's Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River grocery store parking lot

The seven-year-old Campbell River resident has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

Candice Woloshyn prepares her flower beds for the next season at her ‘Dirty Girl Flowers’ farm in Merville. Despite the pandemic, Woloshyn was able to sustain her homegrown business as community members opted for regular deliveries of fresh cut flowers. Photo by Binny Paul/ Campbell River Mirror.
Vancouver Island flower farmers were blooming as the pandemic wilted everything else

Floriculturists saw increased subscriptions as fresh flowers became a ‘sight for sore eyes’ during isolation

Struggling to afford rent, Sylvia Bailey is hoping to trade her love of cooking for some more affordable accommodation. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bailey)
Retired Victoria woman looking to cook, clean or garden in exchange for rent

Sylvia Bailey is hoping to use her love for cooking to help afford rent

View Royal Coun. John Rogers stands next to an unearthed home heating oil tank. As a way to prevent environmental disasters, he is lobbying for a provincial registration system and mandatory inspection for all above-ground tanks, as well as a requirement to remove any underground tanks not used for a prescribed period of time. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Efforts to regulate Greater Victoria home heating oil tanks continues

View Royal councillor part of movement to identify old tanks, prevent catastrophic leaks

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

Nanaimo RCMP are investigating two fires set in the stairwell of an apartment building after they were deemed suspicious by Nanaimo Fire Rescue. (Photo submitted)
Fires set in apartment building under investigation in Nanaimo

Paper set alight in apartment building stairwells being investigated as arson

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

Ucluelet RCMP detachment. (Westerly file photo)
Driver facing charges after crashing into pedestrian at Ucluelet crosswalk

“It’s a reminder to slow down and pay attention,” said Sgt. Steve Mancini.

In a statement, BC RCMP’s media relations officer Cpl.Chris Manseau said that even an amount as small as grain of sand could be fatal. (File photo)
Sayward RCMP alerts residents after highly toxic carfentanil found in village

The opioid’s toxicity levels is 100 times more than that of fentanyl

Father Charles Brandt, a hermit priest. File Photo
Island environmentalist and Catholic priest-hermit Father Charles Brandt passes away

He devoted his life to protecting and preserving the Comox Valley’s natural habitats

Most Read