The provincial government is largely noncommittal in its response to a request by Vancouver Island communities to halt the logging of Island old growth forests.

The provincial government is largely noncommittal in its response to a request by Vancouver Island communities to halt the logging of Island old growth forests.

Province not rushing to extinguish old growth chainsaws any time soon

Ministry cites north Island's dependency on logging in response to Vancouver Island communities asking for a halt to old growth harvest

If attitudes about old growth logging are changing in Vancouver Island forests, does the government hear?

The answer, apparently, is “sort of.”

In the wake of a recent resolution by Vancouver Island communities calling for a halt of old growth harvesting, followed last week by a similar — though conditional — resolution by the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, the provincial government did not make forests minister Steve Thomson available for comment to the 230,000 Vancouver Island homes and businesses served by Black Press.

Instead, it released an emailed statement that defended its record on forest policy while implying that such a significant policy change will not be forthcoming any time soon.

“While some communities on Vancouver Island have successfully diversified their local economies more into tourism, many – like Port McNeill and Campbell River are still heavily dependent on forestry,” the statement reads. “Through our policies we try to achieve the right balance between conservation and resource development.

“We have specifically protected about four million hectares of old growth forests. On the B.C. coast, 1.783 million hectares of the 3.18 million hectares of old growth forests on Crown land are protected.

”Old growth forests are protected from logging in parks, protected areas and old growth management areas. The intent of these areas is to conserve biodiversity and species associated with old growth forests. Of the 1.9 million hectares of Crown forest on Vancouver Island, 840,125 hectares are considered old-growth – but only 313,000 hectares are available for timber harvesting.”

The Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities voted in favour of halting harvesting in April, stating old growth has more “economic, social and environmental value as wildlife habitat, tourism resource, carbon sink and much more” if it is left standing.

On May 30, the B.C. Chamber of Commerce endorsed “support (for) the increased protection of old-growth forests in areas of the province where they have or can likely have a greater net economic value for communities if they are left standing.”

Both resolutions basically serve as position statements as each organization lobbies the provincial government to change its policies.

Forest industry leaders say 45 per cent of the timber cut on the Island and south coast is old growth. According to Truck Loggers Association executive director David Elstone halting that harvest would devastate the industry — which directly employs 38,000 people in the region — and damage the Island economy, particularly in the north.

Follow me on Twitter @JohnMcKinleyBP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This male Dungeness can safely be harvested after passing muster. An official with Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is not clear how well locals on the Saanich Peninsula are complying with crabbing regulations, but her comments suggest that any problems might be of a minor nature. (Department of Fisheries and Oceans/Submitted)
Sidney and Sooke record 57 crabbing violations in 2020

While recreational crab fishery has ‘compliance issues,’ no evidence of ‘large scale poaching’

The University of Victoria has said some of its students were impacted by an off-campus exposure to COVID-19 last weekend. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria students impacted by off-campus COVID-19 exposure

UVic has not specified where the exposure occurred

Const. Mat Jones of the CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit joined a team of Saanich police officers and ICBC representatives cracking down on distracted driving at the McKenzie/Quadra intersection in Saanich on March 3. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
‘Leave the phone alone’: 40 distracted driving tickets issued in two hours at Saanich intersection

Saanich police, CRD Integrated Road Safety Unit crackdown on drivers’ cell-phone use

Cleanup happens after an overnight flood Monday damaged areas of the Oaklands Community Centre. (Facebook/Oaklands Community Association)
Greater Victorians offer flood of support to Oaklands Community Centre

Blown hot water tank Monday night leaves staff cleaning up soggy mess

Hundreds of child care spaces will be available in Greater Victoria in the coming two years. (Unsplash)
More than 300 child care spaces opening in Greater Victoria in next two years

Province announces spaces in Victoria, Sooke, Saanich and North Saanich

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: How’s your butter?

Recent reports have some Canadians giving a second look to one of… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of March 2

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Initiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforcement, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

Most Read