Protesters sent a message to Victoria outside Premier John Horgan’s community office on June 6 calling for the protection of Old Growths (Swikar Oli/ News staff)

Premier’s office one of 17 rallies across B.C. calling for protection of old-growth forest

Protestor questions Horgan’s commitment to mitigate ‘climate degradation’

Dozens of constituents showed up outside the community office of Premier John Horgan Thursday afternoon as part of province-wide protest against the logging of old-growth on the Island.

Steve Gray of the BC-Yukon KAIROS Rolling Justice Bus spoke on the need to transition old-growth logging jobs to second-growth and other sectors.

“We say loggers need to transition away from logging old growth forests now. We say the government should lend them a hand,” he said.

ALSO READ: B.C. residents visit MLAs’ offices to urge action on old growth

“Re-tool our mills to handle second growth. Lend them a hand.”

Gray questioned the Horgan’s commitment to mitigate “climate degradation,” citing the premier’s support for the Site C hydroelectric dam and $6 billion in tax exemptions for the liquified natural gas industry.

Bruce Fogg, executive assistant to the premier, said he would relay the message to Horgan, who was aware of the issue.

ALSO READ: International call for action to save B.C.’s old-growth rainforests

“I will certainly take back [to Horgan] information that he’s already aware of, that you folks have some very strong opinions on this very complex issue,” he said before the crowd drowned out his voice.

In her speech, Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner Andrea Inness urged action and offered steps to protect B.C. forests.

This included halting the logging of old-growth ‘hotspots’ with the “greatest” conservation and recreation value; creating a “comprehensive, science-based” plan to protect endangered old-growth across the province; implementing a natural lands acquisition fund to buy and protect old-growth on private lands; introducing sustainable development and economic diversification of First Nations communities tied to the creation of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas like tribal parks; and supporting an “expedited transition to a sustainable, value-added, second-growth forest industry.”

ALSO READ: Victoria residents demonstrate to demand protection of B.C. old growth

Inness noted the government is inviting feedback from the public on ways to improve the Forest and Range Practices Act until July 15, which can be submitted on the B.C. government website.

Today, 79 per cent of “the original productive old-growth forests on Vancouver Island have been logged, including 90 per cent of the valley bottoms where the largest trees grow,” according to the B.C. Green Party.

WATCH: Victoria residents demonstrate to demand protection of B.C. old growth



swikar.oli@goldstreamgazette.com

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