The B.C. government has taken a first step in preserving old-growth and at-risk timber from being harvested due to environmental impact concerns. (File photo)

LETTER: Despite government announcement, old growth is not yet protected

Dear editor,

On Nov. 2, Katrine Conroy, BC Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, announced the government’s intention “to defer harvest of ancient, rare and priority large stands of old-growth within 2.6 million hectares of B.C.’s most at-risk old-growth forests.”

RELATED: B.C. pauses logging on up to 2.6M hectares of old-growth forest

However, at Fairy Creek, two days after this announcement, loggers were still felling ancient trees as fast as they can, and RCMP are still on-site in large numbers to enable this.

Wait, what? Well, the government didn’t halt logging right away; it only announced that it “plans” to defer logging. And because First Nations consent is required for any major land-use changes in B.C., the plan includes a 30-day consultation period where individual First Nations must decide if they want to accept these proposed deferrals in their traditional territories.

Talking about deferring is not the same as actually deferring it immediately. Common sense dictates that all old-growth logging be stopped during the 30-day consultation period with First Nations.

But we can’t un-cut trees that have already been felled, and a lot of old-growth can be cut in 30 days.

To be fair, the government did immediately halt BC Timber Sales licenses within the 2.6 million hectares referenced by Minister Conroy. This is a significant and unprecedented move that at least temporarily preserves about 500,000 previously unprotected hectares of old growth.

However, it’s still open season on any previously approved timber sales, which is why the old-growth is still falling, the forest defenders aren’t going home, and the people waving “Protect Old Growth” signs in the Comox Valley will continue to wave them.

From SOFT-CV (Save Our Forests Team – Comox Valley)