Protesters hoping to save old-growth forests want to get the right message out.
In the Comox Valley, they have been gathering to hoist signs with messages for Premier John Horgan about the need to save the remaining old-growth in places like Fairy Creek on Vancouver Island.
“John Horgan has said they’re doing something. He’s had four years now, and he’s still twiddling his thumbs,” said Jay Van Oostdam.
He is one of several people showing up regularly for demonstrations in different locations the last couple of years. Of late, they have been at the farmers’ market, which has been back at the Exhibition Grounds in recent weeks. They have petitions near the market entrance, while some hold signs along Headquarters Road.
“We know there’s a lot of people who come to the market,” he said.
In the speech from the throne in April, the provincial government talked about reforming forestry legislation for the 21st century and taking action on recommendations to protect old-growth stands.
Van Oostdam is skeptical of any talk from the premier, adding what the government is looking at are stands on mountaintops, in bogs or already in parks. He says the local demonstration organizers do not want to see the remaining old-growth in the province, estimated at two per cent, go the way of other old-growth that was logged in places like the Comox Valley. His other concerns include issues like water quality and how it can be affected by logging old-growth forests.
Others take a different view. There were reports of a recent counter-demonstration nearby in support of logging. However, Joanne McKechnie, one of the old-growth protesters, shows off her sign, “Yes to Jobs, Yes to Saving Old Growth,” to point out they are not opposed to logging and forestry jobs but only what is proposed for remaining old-growth stands.
“We’re trying to get the right message out,” she said. “I’m trying to show them we care.”