Andrea Inness, a forest campaigner with the Ancient Forest Alliance, stands next to an old-growth Sitka spruce near Port Renfrew. (Contributed)

Public outcry wins reprieve (at least temporarily) for old-growth forest near Port Renfrew

Forests Ministry says auction for seven cutblocks will be reviewed

More than 100 hectares of old-growth forest near Port Renfrew will get a reprieve from logging, at least temporarily.

B.C. Forests Ministry confirmed the seven cutblocks up for auction through the government’s logging agency B.C. Timber Sales was scheduled to close this Friday, but an outcry by the Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce, the Ancient Forest Alliance and other groups led to a reconsideration.

“[B.C. Timber Sales] is postponing this timber sale to engage with a local stakeholder inadvertently missed during the initial referral process,” said Dawn Makarowski, a ministry spokesperson.

And while this is a long way from a long-term government commitment not to log the area, the news is viewed as a victory by opponents of old-growth logging.

“We welcome this news and we thank [Premier] John Horgan for listening to the business community and others in Port Renfrew. He’s to be credited for standing up for sustainable eco-tourism jobs and for seeing that these forests have more value when left standing,” said Andrea Inness, a forest campaigner with the Ancient Forest Alliance.

RELATED: Plans to clear-cut old-growth near Port Renfrew causes an environmental outcry

The original plan was to auction the cutblocks of old-growth forest, logging 55,346 cubic metres of trees – about 1,300 loaded logging trucks – out of an area that has been trying to re-brand itself as the Tall Tree Capital of Canada.

Some of the cutblocks were metres away from the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park boundary near Port Renfrew.

The plan raised the ire of the Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce and left eco-tourism operators befuddled by the government’s actions.

“We have been working hard through John Horgan’s office to present him with a bulletproof argument to prevent this from happening,” said Dan Hagar of the chamber of commerce.

“It’s not a long-term commitment, but the truth is that if this ever goes forward, it will cause a real shitstorm of public outcry. I think they know that.”

Hagar said the cancellation of the auction has a negative aspect, too.

“We had a meeting of the chamber last night and four of our 15-member board are from the Pacheedaht First Nation. They operate a sawmill and for them there’s a short-term economic impact,” Hagar said.

“I think everyone realizes the long-term benefits of leaving the trees standing are better for everyone, including the Pacheedaht, and they’ll certainly have our support to transition to a tourist-based economy.”

The Ancient Forest Alliance has called on the government to implement a science-based plan to protect old-growth forest and acknowledge the economic importance of the logging industry to First Nations.

“There is tremendous economic potential in leaving old-growth forests intact and First Nations should absolutely be a part of that economic activity. The tourism boom in Port Renfrew is a testament to the economic value of standing trees,” Innes said.



mailto:tim.collins@sookenewsmirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Sooke cannabis report does little to answer production questions

Council is trying to get ahead of the issue

Indigenous peoples celebrated at Royal Roads

June 21 event includes host of activities as part of National Indigenous Peoples Day

Sidney Museum donates 60,000 Lego bricks to local schools

Sidney, Deep Cove, ḰELSET, Brentwood, Keating and Cordova Bay elementary schools get Lego avalanche

Peninsula food bank ‘desperate’ for donations

Stock “never been this low” at Saanich Peninsula Lions Food Bank as demand outstrips supplies

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Most Read