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LETTER: Province fails to act on old-growth recommendations

More than one year ago in September 2020, the B.C. NDP government released its Old Growth Strategic Review and committed to adopting all 14 of its recommendations.

Among the recommendations were: to provide the public with timely and objective information about forest conditions; and immediate curtailment of timber harvest in ecosystems with ‘high risk to loss of biodiversity’, ancients forests more than 500 years old, and in biogeoclimatic ecosystem zones with less than 10 per cent old forest remaining.

Campaigning on this commitment helped the premier and the NDP win a majority in the October 2020 provincial election. But more than a year later, implementation has never materialized.

In June of this year the NDP appointed another advisory panel with fanfare that stated, “This new technical panel will ensure we’re using the best science and data available to identify at-risk old-growth ecosystems and prioritize areas for deferral.” The panel’s terms of reference stated that “the government will support regular information updates on the work of the panel through news release…. and by posting regular updates online on the government old-growth website.”

The panel submitted their report to the B.C. NDP government on Aug. 1, yet we have seen no press releases, no updates on the government’s old-growth website and no report.

The forest type recommended for deferral in the panel’s report almost certainly includes the endangered ancient coastal rainforest in and around Fairy Creek and the unprotected Middle Walbran Valley that are being logged now. While we have been waiting for the report, the NDP has supported tens of millions of dollars of RCMP action in these public forests that has brutalized B.C. citizens and resulted in the arrest of over 1,000 people for peacefully camping in these ancient forests that are likely to be recommended for deferral.

When are we going to see the latest old-growth report, and perhaps more importantly, when is the premier going to act on its recommendations?

Peter D. Pare

Pender Island