Dozens participate in old-growth logging protest in Courtenay

Approximately 60 people participated in an old-growth logging protest outside Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard’s office on Thursday, Aug. 20. Photo supplied.
Participants acknowledge support from passing motorists during an old-growth logging protest outside Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard’s office on Thursday, Aug. 20. Photo supplied.
Approximately 60 people participated in an old-growth logging protest outside Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard’s office on Thursday, Aug. 20. Photo supplied.

Submitted by Rod Burns

Special to The Record

Approximately 60 people came together at Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Ray Leonard’s office Thursday, Aug. 20, placards and speeches at the ready.

Local vehicle traffic regularly tooted their horns in support of the rally participants.

Presenters and participants made it clear that they were not against the logging industry workers. Indeed, they support individuals and communities to stay healthy with sustainable, eco-system based management options. They recognize that over the next 10 years, the broader forest industry will be transitioning into falling and processing trees significantly different from those harvested over the past 120 years. The new trees will average 60–80 years, not the multi-hundred year average for the original natural old-growth forests.

Echoed many times was the belief that the current government is listening only to the five main forest companies. The government is totally disregarding concerns presented by different scientific bodies.

The number one message from most participants and their placards addressed their concerns for the ongoing conflict over the relentless continuation of logging B.C.’s old-growth forests. Less than three per cent of the timber harvesting land base (THLB) now contains multi-hundred-year-old ecosystems. Concern was expressed that the greatest percentage of the THLB is trees less than 60 years of age and as a result B.C. has just about lost the diversity of the original natural forest.

The closing message focused on how the people three years ago were hopeful, then within months extreme disappointment appeared and has turned to distrust for the current NDP government. The group was reminded of the now broken promise to end old-growth logging, made by Premier John Horgan and Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development Doug Donaldson.

The group was updated on the civil blockade of Teal-Jones Logging of ultra old-growth at Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew.

Thanks was also given to two hunger strikers, who put their lives on the line in Nanaimo in early August.

A very passionate presenter was given support for his comments suggesting the need for increased civic actions.

Writing letters, leaving phone comments or internet messages are being responded to by recorded messages and form letter email replies.

Similar actions are being planned across British Columbia in September. The government’s Old Growth Strategy Review Report, first planned for release in June, has been delayed to sometime in the fall.

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