The Comox Valley Regional District board received a resolution from Area B director Arzeena Hamir regarding the protection of old-growth forests in B.C. The idea was to forward the resolution to the Union of B.C. municipalities, but the City of Nanaimo has already forwarded a similar resolution to the 2021 UBCM convention.
Hamir was spurred by the Comox Valley Youth Climate Council (CYCC), which is deeply concerned about logging that is planned for at-risk areas such as Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew.
The CYCC asked the regional district to call on the province to defer logging of ancient forests — as recommended by the Old-Growth Strategic Review — until all 14 recommendations of a panel report have been implemented.
“I think it falls in line with our lenses and our pillars around climate action, and around supporting our community connections,” Hamir said at the April 13 board meeting.
Area C director Edwin Grieve said a similar motion was not supported at a past UBCM convention because delegates said it was too localized, and should instead be an AVICC (Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities) issue. He met with then-Forests Minister Steve Thomson, who spoke about managing the resource.
“It’s ludicrous because it’s not a resource,” Grieve said. “We used to have pockets of old-growth forest in the Comox Valley. Now I think the last remaining of these giants are down at Kitty Coleman Park. It doesn’t seem to matter which provincial government is in office. They seem to roll over on these issues all the time, and their eyes glaze over. I guess the money is just too great…It should be a total moratorium.”
Courtenay director Doug Hillian, noting such complexities as land tenure and Indigenous rights, suggests direct communication with the province would be an effective approach to the issue.
The board approved Hamir’s motion to send a letter that outlines their concerns to Premier John Horgan.
There have been numerous demonstrations against old-growth logging in recent weeks around the province, culminating March 19 during Forest March BC.