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

Sooke Christmas hampers to be handed out Sunday

Over 400 hampers have already been prepared

Sooke Rotary Club raises money for Salvation Army

Donations will be collected until Dec. 24

Police wait on autopsy findings on human foot

Sooke RCMP are waiting for autopsy findings before determing if a human… Continue reading

Lost Victoria: Story of the Crystal Palace

Historian Stuart Stark launches book about iconic Oak Bay structure that was lost to flames

Victoria rental prices declining, according to national listing website

The median price of a one-bedroom suite dropped almost five per cent in December

Kind Kids Club hands crafts cards for Oak Bay Lodge residents

Additional funds raised go toward gifts for the pediatric wing at Victoria General Hospital

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

Accused B.C. drug smuggler to be extradited

Supreme Court of Canada upholds extradition order for accused Shuswap drug smuggler, Colin Martin

Island entering the peak of flu season

Island Health says flu shots the best prevention against the virus

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

Firefighter dies, thousands more take on California blaze

This is second death linked to the Thomas fire, northwest of Los Angeles

AHUS patient Shantee Anaquod is home for Christmas

Less than a month after receiving first dose of $750K drug, 23 year old healthy enough to go home

Moose calves rescued in northern B.C. are ‘golden nuggets:’ researcher

Calves discovered near Prince George in late May. Mother had been killed by a car

Most Read