On August 20th, approximately 60 people came together at MLA – Ronna-Ray Leonard‘s, MLA office in Courtenay B.C., placards and speeches at the ready. Local vehicle traffic, regularly tooted their horns in support of the rally participants. The RCMP were also in attendance, however discreetly.
Not Against Loggers
Presenters and participants made it clear that they were NOT Against the Logging Industry workers. Indeed they supported individuals, and communities to stay healthy with sustainable, eco-system based management options. They recognized that over the next 10 years, the broader forest industry will be transitioning into falling and processing trees significantly different from those harvested over the past 120 years. The new trees will average 60 – 80 years, not the multi-hundred year average for the original natural old growth forests.
NDP Government only listening to Big 5
Echoed many times was the belief that the current government is listening only to the 5 Big Forest Companies. The government is totally disregarding concerns presented by different scientific bodies.
The number one message from most participants and their placards addressed their concerns for the on-going conflict over the relentless continuation of logging B.C.’s Old Growth Forests. Less than 3% of the Timber Harvest Land Base, now contains multi-hundred year old ecosystems. Concern was expressed that the greatest percentage of the Timber Harvest Land Base are trees less than 60 years of age and as a result BC has just about lost the diversity of the original natural forest.
The closing message spoken loudly focused on how the people 3 years ago were hopeful, then within months extreme disappointment appeared and has turned to distrust for the current NDP government. The group was reminded of the now broken promise to end Old Growth Logging, made by the Premier Horgan and Forest Minister Donaldson. The group was updated on the Civil Blockade of Teal-Jones Logging of ultra old growth at Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. Thanks was also given to two Hunger Strikers, who put their lives on the line in Nanaimo in early August. A very passionate presenter (Torrance Coste of the Wilderness Committee) was given support for his comments suggesting the need for increased civic actions. Writing letters, leaving phone comments or internet messages are being responded to by recorded messages and form letter email replies.
More Actions Coming
There are an increasing number of similar actions being planned across British Columbia in September. The Governments Old Growth Strategy Review Report, first planned for release in June, has been delayed to sometime in the Fall.