B.C. cities join push to halt Vancouver Island old-growth logging

UBCM delegates vote to protect remaining ancient forests on Crown land

Delegates voting Wednesday morning at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Victoria.

Delegates voting Wednesday morning at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Victoria.

B.C. municipal leaders have thrown their weight behind a call to halt the logging of Vancouver Island’s remaining publicly owned old-growth forests.

The resolution passed by a significant margin Wednesday at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.

Metchosin Coun. Andy MacKinnon said the aim is to transition to a logging economy based solely on second-growth rather than the continued cutting of remaining old-growth.

“The current model of liquidating the last stands of old growth on this island is not serving anyone well,” Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt said. “There’s less jobs. There’s less protection for drinking watersheds. There’s less biological diversity. And there’s major threats to the tourism sector.”

SEE ALSO: Vancouver Island growing away from old growth logging?

Vancouver Island has 840,000 hectares of old-growth forest out of 1.9 million hectares of Crown forest, according to government statistics, and only only 313,000 hectares are available for timber harvesting.

Most of the old-growth is shielded in existing parks and protected areas, including the fully protected and specially managed areas of the Clayoquot Sound International Biosphere reserve.

Campbell River Coun. Charlie Cornfield was among the UBCM delegates who opposed the resolution.

“We come from a forest-dependent community,” Cornfield said. “Most on Vancouver Island still are, although some may not realize it.”

He said it was a review of old-growth logging plans would be wise, but called it a regional issue that should not be championed at the provincial level by UBCM.

“The rainforests of this island are an asset of provincial and global significance,” Isitt responded.

He said B.C. politicans would unite behind any equivalent threat to the Rocky Mountains, Great Bear Rainforest, Fraser River or Okanagan Lake “because of their importance to the economy, the ecology and the identity of this province.”

He also noted the B.C. Chamber of Commerce also supported the call for the old-growth ban.

North Cowichan Coun. Al Siebring said UBCM delegates should stick to issues that are under municipal jurisdiction such as provision of roads, water and sewer and fire protection.

“We wonder why so many of the resolutions we send to senior levels of government get blown off,” Siebring said. “It’s because we’re not sticking to our knitting.”

He said topics like old-growth logging and the Site C dam project – on which delegates voted to call for a construction halt and a new review by regulators – don’t fit the municipal mandate.

“If you want to set those kinds of policies, get your butt elected to the legislature.”

Other resolutions that passed Wednesday included:

– A call from the Cowichan Valley Regional District for a ban on businesses providing single-use plastic shopping bags;

– A resolution urging B.C. to regulate AirBNB-type online accommodation sellers to ensure a level playing field with conventional operators in the sector;

– A call for the province to reverse its recent policy of downloading the costs of DNA analysis for policing to municipalities;

– A request that any future federal or provincial tax on marijuana be shared with municipalities;

– That B.C. push the RCMP to reinstate the use of auxilliary constables for community events.

PHOTO ABOVE:A 70-metre-high Douglas fir dubbed Big Lonely Doug by activists is estimated to be nearly 850 years old. It’s about 15 kilometres northwest of Port Renfrew.

Just Posted

Port Hardy council has agreed to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of the discovery of the remains of 215 children being found on the grounds of a former residential school. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Council votes to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of mass grave sites being found

Coun. Treena Smith made the motion for the chamber to not host Canada Day celebrations this year

Port Hardy Fire Rescue responded to an early morning fire around 3:50 a.m. on Sunday, June 13. Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street. Anyone with information is asked to contact the RCMP at 250-949-6335. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue photo)
Firefighters respond to early morning fire near visitor centre in Port Hardy

Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street

North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. Photo contributed
COMMENTARY: MLA Michele Babchuk talks the future of forestry

‘These forests are important to every single one of us, myself included’

Dr. Prean Armogam hands over a cheque for $10,000 to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society president Rosaline Glynn. The money will be going towards a new roof for the Port Hardy seniors centre. This is the second donation Dr. Armogam has made to the society, giving them $5,000 a little over a year ago. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Doctor donates $10k to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society for new roof

This was the second donation Armogam has given to the society

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Websit back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials watching U.K.’s Delta variant struggles, ‘may need to slow’ restart plan

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read