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 school district creates new comprehensive school health position

Ruchi McArthur will develop framework to improve wellness of students

B.C. police watchdog investigating high-speed crash in Victoria

Police watchdog called in after dramatic early morning crash at Bay and Douglas intersection

VIDEO: RCMP officer killed in the line of duty remembered ‘through the laughter of children’

Sarah Beckett Memorial Playground opens with ceremony in Langford

Westhills Stadium launches expanded stadium with ceremony, excitement

expanded stadium accommodates 6,000 spectators

NCAA basketball comes to UVic this fall

Eight-team tournament features top university women’s basketball teams Nov. 28-30

Trudeau to meet with U.K. and Japanese prime ministers ahead of G7 summit

French President Emmanuel Macron, this year’s G7 host, has little expectations of a unified front from the leaders

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

PHOTOS: Brazil military begins operations to fight Amazon fires

Amazon fires have become a global issue, escalating tensions between Brazil and European countries

Racist confrontation in Richmond parking lot caught on camera

Woman can be heard yelling racial slurs, swear words at woman in apparent parking dispute

Groups ready campaign to help young voters identify ‘fake news’ in election

The media literacy campaign to focus on identifying misinformation and suspicious sources online

Big rally in northern B.C. draws attention to continuing lumber crisis

Mayor Joan Atkinson says about 400 workers have been directly affected by the closure of the Canfor mill

Orangeville Northmen take Minto Cup at Langley Events Centre

Swept best-of-five series 3-0 over Victoria Shamrocks

Most Read