PHOTOS: Seniors block Belleville Street in old-growth solidarity protest

Clare Lowery, 92, was one of many seniors at a demonstration that shut down traffic on Belleville Street outside the legislature on Thursday afternoon. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)Clare Lowery, 92, was one of many seniors at a demonstration that shut down traffic on Belleville Street outside the legislature on Thursday afternoon. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Seniors at a demonstration that shut down traffic on Belleville Street outside the legislature on Thursday afternoon. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)Seniors at a demonstration that shut down traffic on Belleville Street outside the legislature on Thursday afternoon. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)
Seniors at a demonstration that shut down traffic on Belleville Street outside the legislature on Thursday afternoon. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)Seniors at a demonstration that shut down traffic on Belleville Street outside the legislature on Thursday afternoon. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)
Seniors at a demonstration that shut down traffic on Belleville Street outside the legislature on Thursday afternoon. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)Seniors at a demonstration that shut down traffic on Belleville Street outside the legislature on Thursday afternoon. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)
Seniors at a demonstration that shut down traffic on Belleville Street outside the legislature on Thursday afternoon. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)Seniors at a demonstration that shut down traffic on Belleville Street outside the legislature on Thursday afternoon. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)

More than 100 seniors blocked the stretch of Belleville Street outside the B.C. legislature on Thursday as they prepared to be arrested in solidarity with younger counterparts currently in old-growth forests.

After a land acknowledgement, demonstrators used police tape to close off Belleville at Government and Menzies streets. As the elderly citizens gathered to listen to speakers, some laid on the ground and were circled by white chalk, to symbolize the fallen old-growth giants.

The seniors said, after the recent old-growth deferral announcements, the province is misleading people about the current state of logging in Vancouver Island forests.

“They’re not stopping any of the road building or old-growth logging in connected, intact forests just outside the basin of the Fairy Creek watershed,” Jackie Larkin, 76, said to the crowd. “It’s like they say ‘we’ll protect your heart but we’re going to cut off the rest of the body.’”

READ: B.C. approves deferral of old-growth logging at Fairy Creek, Walbran valleys

“This struggle is nowhere near over,” Larkin continued. “John Horgan has broken his election promise to implement his – his not ours – old-growth report in its totality.”

The older folks called on Horgan’s government to defer logging in 1.3 hectares of non-protected old growth forests that was identified by scientists last month.

Susan Gage, a week shy of 75, said her generation took the environment for granted, to the detriment of what will be left behind for her grandchildren.

“This happened on my watch, it’s my age group that’s largely responsible for this, the way we’ve carelessly destroyed so much of the Earth,” she said. “The least I can do is strive and struggle to conserve what is left for our grandchildren. I want to make sure they can go Fairy Creek and marvel at those huge, ancient trees.”

READ: Scientists release maps of B.C. old growth forests, urge province to stop cutting

READ: Vancouver Island First Nations declaration not enough for old-growth protesters

Gage said governments don’t like to change and only will if the public keeps the pressure on them.

The protesters want the B.C. government to also provide funding to Indigenous communities that would allow them to pursue other economic opportunities outside of logging.

“We want to respect (the Nations’) sovereignty, their rights to the land and their rights their livelihood,” said Steve Gray.

He said seniors are passionate about the forests, but aren’t able to be alongside protesters embedded in the Island’s blockades. As a father and grandfather, he’s concerned about the future.

“We look at the climate crisis and what’s going on and we really feel it’s our responsibility to be involved, not to leave it to (youth) to do the heavy lifting, considering it’s our generation that has delivered this world to them,” Gray said.

Belleville Street reopened around 2 p.m. after demonstrators had dispersed.

READ: Behind the line at Fairy Creek: Inside B.C.’s old growth forest battleground


Do you have a story tip? Email: jake.romphf@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

BC legislatureFairy Creek watershedVictoria

Just Posted

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

Between June 1 and 7, 168 net unconditional sales were made for properties in the VREB region. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria home sales slightly behind last June’s pace

Benchmark value of single-family home in Greater Victoria tops $1 million

Police monitor protesters at a blockade in the Fairy Creek area of southwestern Vancouver Island on Wednesday, June 9. (Facebook photo)
8 old-growth logging protesters arrested in Fairy Creek watershed Friday

A total of 214 people have been arrested as of June 11

A temporary urgent and primary care centre will open in Esquimalt this week, offering residents more health care options in their own community. (Black Press Media file)
Esquimalt’s temporary urgent and primary care centre to open Monday

The Esquimalt Health Unit will house the temporary site, permanent location opening in December

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Most Read