A monumental old-growth yellow cedar tree in the at-risk headwaters of Fairy Creek. Port Renfrew protesters have said the blockade that was launched on Aug. 10 will continue till the government meets their demands. Photo courtesy TJ Watt.

Vancouver Island protesters call B.C.’s response to new old-growth report a ‘diversion’

Port Renfrew blockade continues as protesters want Fairy Creek Watershed included in deferral areas

Protesters in Port Renfrew are “devastated” that the Fairy Creek Watershed was not included in B.C. government’s list of old-growth deferral areas announced last week.

On Sept. 11, after the release of ‘A New Future for Old Forests’ prepared by foresters Al Gorely and Garry Merkel, Forest Minister Doug Donaldson announced that nine forest areas in B.C. will be protected from logging, pending consultation with local Indigenous communities.

Three of these areas– H’Kusam, McKelvie Creek and Clayoquot Sound– are on Vancouver Island.

READ MORE: B.C. suspends some old-growth logging, consults communities

Protesters at the Fairy Creek blockade called the move a “diversion.”

“They’ve included areas that are mostly protected, ” said Saul Arbess, a spokesperson for the protest group at Fairy Creek Watershed.

Despite the recommendation for an immediate response to “ecosystems at very high risk,” Arbess said nothing was done about other areas on Vancouver Island that are under immediate threat, or where active logging is taking place.

In a statement, the protesters highlighted other areas on Southern Vancouver Island under immediate threat where active logging is taking place, including Caycuse, Edinburgh Mountain, Central Walbran, Nahmint Valley.

“All of these areas deserve, and must receive, permanent protection from logging.”

The group also pointed out other intact watersheds on Vancouver Island that are at at imminent risk from new logging and road building such as the West Kauwinch River, and the Zeballos Lake watersheds.

“Fairy Creek has spectacular yellow cedar stands, a highly endangered and underrepresented species in B.C.’s forest inventory. The report calls for further protection of these species, yet the headwaters of Fairy Creek, and several adjacent old growth forests remain slated to be logged. Surely, the last intact watershed in the immense San Juan River drainage deserves a permanently protected designation.”

The group said that the “blockades of the accesses into Fairy Creek will remain in place” until the government defers Fairy Creek and the other contiguous old growth forests from further incursions and permanently protects them from logging.

The Fairy Creek blockade was launched on Aug.10, by a group of ‘forest defenders,’ to prevent Teal Jones Group’s construction crews from building a road to the watershed.

READ MORE :Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

In an e-mail, Donaldson had told Black Press that approximately 50% of Fairy Creek watershed is protected under a Marbled Murrelet Wildlife Habitat Area.

“Our government knows there is more work to do when it comes to protecting old growth forests. That’s why we launched the independent review and engagement into how B.C. manages old growth forests,” said Donaldson.

Following the release of the report last week, the forest minister had also issued a statement suggesting a departure from a”patchwork approach”of management of old-growth forests in B.C.

“We need to do better and find a path forward that preserves old-growth forests, while supporting forest workers,” he said.

forestryvancouverisland

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

Just Posted

VIDEO: Ojibwe man marks completion of five-day ‘healing walk’ from Hope to Saanich

Claremont Secondary students join celebration in Cordova Bay

MISSING: Saanich police search for 18-year-old last seen Sept. 9

Robyn Coker-Steel has short purple hair, frequents downtown Victoria

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Saanich police encourage safe driving habits as rain leads to pooling on roadways

Slow down, inspect vehicle ahead of driving in wet autumn weather

Three years for serial bank robber who hit Sidney branch

Lucas Bradwell was wanted for robberies in Sidney, Abbotsford and Vancouver

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

POLL: Do you agree with the decision to call a provincial election for Oct. 24?

British Columbians will put their social distancing skills to the test when… Continue reading

Vancouver Island Tour de Rock riders roll into Parksville Qualicum Beach

Saturday’s schedule includes Port Alberni, Ucluelet and Tofino, followed by Nanaimo on Sunday

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Trudeau ‘disappointed’ by RCMP treatment of Sikh officers over mask issue

World Sikh Organization of Canada said taking Sikh officers off the front lines constitutes discrimination

Liberals reach deal with NDP on COVID-19 aid bill, likely averting election

NDP and the Liberals have reached an agreement on COVID-19 sick-leave

Most Read