What was initially supposed to be a series of presentations put on by the Sierra Club of BC and the Wilderness Committee at the Community Centre on Monday night instead became a support rally for foresry workers in the region outside the locked doors with signs on them that announced the event had been cancelled. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

What was initially supposed to be a series of presentations put on by the Sierra Club of BC and the Wilderness Committee at the Community Centre on Monday night instead became a support rally for foresry workers in the region outside the locked doors with signs on them that announced the event had been cancelled. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Sierra Club presentation becomes pro-forestry rally after Campbell River event cancelled

Organization says it’s disappointed that their booking at Community Centre was cancelled by the city

The Sierra Club of BC and the Wilderness Committee were scheduled to host a presentation entitled “Forests: A Climate for Change” at the Campbell River Community Centre on Monday night, but the event was cancelled at the last minute based on recommendations from the RCMP and the City of Campbell River over concerns including “a high risk of emotionally charged behaviours and security and public safety reasons,” the organization announced on its Facebook event page.

“We’re really sorry to folks who had planned to attend and especially to anyone already on their way to the event,” the post reads. “We are in communication with the city about rescheduling a public meeting in the future.”

The event was initially planned to be “an evening of presentations on the climate crisis, the state of old-growth and second-growth forests on Vancouver Island and how these two relate to each other, followed by a discussion about how we can build a just and sustainable future together,” according to the group, but when word got out about the presentation, it became a rallying point for those in the forestry industry, many of whom are currently out on strike or dealing with other downturns in the industry, such as recent curtailment announcements.

In response to the clear opposition being voiced by many in the community, it was announced earlier in the day that the format of the event would be changed.

“Due to recent logging curtailments, the ongoing Western Forest Products strike, and the economic realities facing forest industry workers, we are changing our plans for this evenings’ event,” the group announced. “We are dropping our planned presentations and instead will provide space for an open community discussion about these complex issues,” adding “Our goal has never been to antagonize forest industry workers. Our organizations do not seek to end forestry on the west coast. Yes, we advocate for the protection of rare and endangered forests, but we want to see a healthy and sustainable forest industry that benefits people in forest communities. We have a lot to learn about this, and this is our intention when we host public events on the North Island.

“We look forward to having a respectful conversation with those in attendance. There has never been a more important time to come together and find common values than now.”

But the 200 or so people who turned up to have that discussion were met with signage on the doors that the event had been canceled and instead rallied outside the facility in support of forestry in the region.

Leigh Baker and his partner Lacee Myatt were two of those community members who came out in support of the industry.

Baker works as a contractor under Mosaic Forest Management, and says he showed up to hear from “the other side of the argument,” intending on quietly attending the presentation.

“I just wanted to understand where they were coming from,” he says. “I wasn’t even planning on saying anything, but this is my livelihood. This is what feeds my family. I just went to hear why they want that to slow down.”

He says when he arrived to find the doors locked, he was “a bit disappointed, but I have to say it was also pretty heartwarming to see how many people showed up in support,” Baker says. He also says he didn’t see the “security issue” that was cited.

“I didn’t see one disgruntled face. It was just a bunch of loggers there supporting each other, having discussions. There was no hostility,” Baker says.

“Nobody wanted a conflict,” Myatt agrees. “Everybody just wants to understand what’s going on.”

Mark Worthing of the Sierra Club says they, too, would like to understand what’s going on. Worthing says the organization was told at 5 p.m. that their booking had been canceled by the city and “we weren’t really even given a clear explanation.”

“This is what’s frustrating, because it feels like we’ve kind of been hung out to dry by the City of Campbell River,” Worthing says. “It makes it look like we weren’t excited to talk to everyone, which we absolutely were. We dropped all our presentations in order to have this open discussion instead, and then they just canceled our booking.”

They’re still hoping to hold the event, however, and Worthing says he hopes that those who showed up to the impromptu rally in the parking lot come back for it again once it’s re-booked.

“I think it’s outrageous that the city has shut down public discourse like this,” Worthing says. “This is an important dialogue that needs to happen in the public right now around forestry work, the forest sector, conservation, climate change – all the important issues we were looking to talk about.

“We actively seek out the perspective of the forestry sector to try to find conservation solutions, so something went awry here, and we’d very much like to know what it was,” Worthing continues. “We don’t see anyone else hosting dialogues like this, which is why we put them on. We can’t afford not to talk about this stuff, and it needs to involve the voices of the forest sector.”

RELATED: Canfor adds Christmas closure to B.C. forestry curtailments

RELATED: Mosaic Forest Management announces forestry shutdown



miked@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

This property, at 1980 Fairfield Place, is adjoined to Gonzales Hill Park and is the centre of community opposition and a B.C. Supreme Court case as owners are looking to build a single-family home on the lot. Jake Romphf/News Staff
Home construction near Victoria’s Gonzales Hill Park spurs legal battle

Gonzales Hill Preservation Society worried about impacts to the park’s wildlife, rare fauna, views

A man with a history of sexual offences was arrested after he followed and aggressively tried to talk to two young woman on the weekend. Black Press File Photo
Man convicted of sexual offences arrested after teens followed in Victoria

Women hid in a Quadra Village convenience store as man aggressively tried to get in

Traffic heading south on Highway 17 and looking to turn left onto Beacon Avenue wait for the light to turn Tuesday morning. A report finds the intersection is experiencing “failing levels of service” for certain movements during the morning peak hours as well as the afternoon peak hours. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Major Sidney intersection already deficient predicted to get worse

New report also finds area’s pedestrian and cycling infrastructure in need of improvement

Best of the City 2019 (Sergej Krivenko photo)
Voting opens for Victoria’s annual Best of the City

Annual awards mark 27th year in Greater Victoria

Demonstrators at the legislature on April 14 called on the province to decriminalize drug possession and provide widespread access to regulated safe supply across B.C. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Rally calls for decriminalization, safe supply as overdose emergency turns 5

From 2016 to the end of February, 7,072 British Columbians died due to overdose

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you have a plan in place in the event of a tsunami?

Tsunamis have claimed the lives of more than 250,000 people between 1998… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of April 13

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

A sea lion swims past the window of an empty viewing area Vancouver Aquarium is pictured Thursday, September 10, 2020. The Vancouver Aquarium has had to close its doors to the public due to the lack of visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
U.S.-based theme park company buys Vancouver Aquarium

Aquarium had to shut its doors in September due to COVID pandemic

Legendary broadcaster Bernie Pascall is among in the Class of 2021 to be inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. (PQB News file photo)
Island broadcasting legend Bernie Pascall named to Canadian Football Hall of Fame

Pascall named by Football Reporters of Canada as inductee in the 2021 class in the media category

A man wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
COVID-19 spike in B.C. could overwhelm B.C. hospitals: modelling group

There are 397 people are in hospital due to the virus, surpassing a previous high of 374 seen in December

A deep cut on a humpback whale is shown in this recent handout photo in the Vancouver area. A conservation organization is warning boaters to be extra careful to prevent further harm to an injured humpback whale swimming in the Vancouver area. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Ocean Wise, Vanessa Prigollini *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Boaters urged to use caution around hurt humpback off Vancouver

Ocean Wise says watchers first noticed the wound 3 days ago and believe it was caused by a vessel strike

Ron Rauch and his wife Audrey are photographed at their home in Victoria, Friday, March 5, 2021. Their daughter Lisa Rauch died on Christmas Day 2019 when a tactical officer with the Victoria Police Department shot her in the back of the head with plastic bullets after barricading herself in a room that was on fire. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. families push for changes as special committee examines provincial Police Act

Solicitor General Mike Farnworth acknowledged the need to update the legislation last year

Major-General Dany Fortin, left, looks on as Minister of Public Services and Procurement Anita Anand provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic, in Ottawa, Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020. The Public Health Agency of Canada has set aside up to $5 billion to pay for COVID-19 vaccines. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada negotiating contracts to secure COVID-19 booster shots for next year: Anand

Most of Canada’s current vaccine suppliers are already testing new versions against variants

Most Read