Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo

Citizens march in Courtenay in name of old-growth rainforests

The Comox Valley is one of the B.C. communities engaged in mobilization efforts to put a stop to old-growth logging, and to reform forestry in the province.

A group gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House lawn, from where they marched to 5th and Cliffe. The idea was to bring attention to the one to two per cent of old-growth rainforest that remains in B.C. All of it is located on Vancouver Island.

Members of the same group had gathered the previous Friday outside the office of Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard, in conjunction with another event near Port Renfrew — the site of many sit-ins and blockades to save old-growth forests in Fairy Creek and Bugaboo Creek.

Logging company Teal Jones filed an injunction application heard last week in BC Supreme Court. It was adjourned until March 25, granting the blockade legal team more time to assemble materials.

“Teal Jones and its offshoot Teal Cedar had sought the injunction to remove the Ferry Creek blockades at various entry points to its tree farm licence until Sept. 4,” Megan Ardyche said at Friday’s gathering. “I guess what that tells us is that Teal Jones thinks it will only take them a couple of months to clear-cut a 1,000-year-old ecosystem.”

“These guys at Ferry Creek have been busy for six months holding down the fort, and I’m honoured to know some of them,” Cheryl Newton said.

Jeff Butterworth of the Comox Valley has been making regular trips to join the fight in Ferry Creek, about a three-hour drive from the Valley.

“It was a lonely place the last couple of days, because lots of people were in Victoria at the court hearing,” Butterworth said. “It is very, very likely the injunction will be granted in three weeks. It will be heartbreaking to be on site and see the machinery move in, and see these forests start to fall.”

He implored people to make the trip and join the blockade, even for a day.

“If hundreds of people don’t show up, those trees are going to fall, guaranteed,” Butterworth said. “So if you want to save those forests, get some warm rain gear, and get ready to show up.”

Ardyche implored the public to repeatedly call and write letters to Leonard, Premier John Horgan and Forests Minister Katrine Conroy — as opposed to just gathering on the streets.

The Comox Valley will unite with Victoria, Powell River, Nanaimo and other communities March 19 in support of reforming B.C.’s forestry legislation. The province-wide action, dubbed Forest March BC, is the movement responsible for co-ordinating the effort. It has organized three prior province-wide actions.

forestmarchbc.com

fairycreekblockade.com

 

Cheryl Newton

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo

Demonstrators gathered Friday, March 5 at the Courtenay Court House, demanding protection of old-growth forests. Scott Stanfield photo