Ken Wu, executive director of the Ancient Forest Alliance speaks at a rally where more than 200 people, including Sooke, Port Renfrew, and West Shore Chambers of Commerce, First Nations, local governments and environmental groups, gathered to request that the new provincial government draw up policies to protect the old-growth forests in B.C.

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

CRD tightens leash on dog walkers

Five regional parks in Sooke now have new restrictions on dogs

Group seeks compassionate recognition for Sooke

A local peace advocate group is aiming to get Sooke recognized as… Continue reading

Remains of two people found in Ucluelet

Officials have not said whether or not the remains belong to Ryan Daley or Dan Archbald

Fire in Sooke hills park likely caused by campfire

Crews currently focus on hot spots

Suman, mom of Reena Virk, has died

Mother of Reena Virk was an activist against bullying

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

5 fun things to do this weekend in Greater Victoria

Car Free YYJ, family fishing, Sooke bluegrass, walk for cancer and a mascot’s birthday

WEB POLL: Would you be in favour of a ban on plastic straws?

Would you be in favour of a ban on plastic straws?… Continue reading

Late goal gives England 2-1 win over Tunisia

At the last World Cup in 2014, England couldn’t even win a game

Canadian military police officer pleads not guilty to sex assault

Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre, 48, entered his plea today at a court martial proceeding in Halifax

Cheers erupt as Federal Court judge approves historic gay purge settlement

Gay military veterans said they were interrogated, harassed and spied on because of their sexuality

Helping B.C.’s helpers cope

The MRT has helped almost 7,000 first responders and street workers in 57 communities in B.C.

Border officials argue B.C. man’s Facebook posts threat to Canada’s security

A B.C. Supreme Court judge acquitted Othman Hamdan of terrorism charges last September

Search for capsized fishers near Tofino enters fourth day

“There’s a lot of shock in the community in terms of how we could end up at this place.”

Most Read