Each year, less than one per cent of the area designated for sustainable timber harvesting by B.C.’s independent chief forester is harvested. (B.C. government photo)

Each year, less than one per cent of the area designated for sustainable timber harvesting by B.C.’s independent chief forester is harvested. (B.C. government photo)

B.C. overhaul of logging policy continues to include old-growth harvest

Province seeks new ways to redistribute big logging tenures

The B.C. government laid out its plan Tuesday for the first overhaul of forest policy in 20 years, with a shift to Indigenous control of Crown resources, and two more years of consultation on extending temporary protection of old-growth forests to more areas of the province.

Old-growth areas deferred from logging last year will be added to, but they will be further deferrals, not bans on logging, as the province redistributes its vast public forest lands, Forests Minister Katrine Conroy said.

Conroy and Premier John Horgan released the government’s 20-point policy paper June 1, setting a target to increase the Indigenous share of timber cutting rights to 10 per cent of the total. Horgan emphasized that the province won’t move unilaterally to ban logging, because that would be another colonial-style imposition on Indigenous people’s land rights.

The policy framework was released as daily arrests continue at a set of logging protest roadblocks the premier’s Vancouver Island constituency, with police enforcing a court injunction granted to Surrey-based Teal Jones Group to harvest areas containing trees that are 250 years old or more. The protests have continued despite objections from the Pacheedaht Nation, which has demanded the protesters leave the territory.

Horgan said an independent report by foresters created deferral areas of 2,000 square kilometres, as big as most of Metro Vancouver, and further deferrals of logging are possible, but discussions with the Pacheedaht and other area Indigenous groups are confidential until they are complete.

“In a time of gang violence, where we are deploying more law enforcement to address the challenges of criminals, it’s very difficult to watch law enforcement being utilized to address the passions of people in old growth forests,” Horgan said. “It’s hard work, and it involves not going back to our colonial past and dictating to Indigenous communities what they can and cannot do.”

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau echoed the environmental groups staging the blockades, calling the NDP government’s plan “no action” on old growth preservation.

“Today Premier Horgan said it will be 2023 by the time a new old growth plan is introduced.” Furstenau said. “In the meantime, we will continue to lose irreplaceable ancient forests because of his broken promises and refusal to take meaningful action.”

RELATED: Arrests resume at Vancouver Island logging blockades

RELATED: Pacheedaht Nation rejects protest actions a second time


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsforestry

Just Posted

Flowers and candles were laid on the driveway of the Weber home, where Kerri Weber was found dead in November 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Langford man to stand trial for death of his wife last November

Ken Weber is charged with second-degree murder of his wife, Kerri Weber

GardenWorks nursery in Oak Bay at its home until August. (Black Press Media file photo)
GardenWorks puts down new roots in Oak Bay this summer

Nursery shifts down The Avenue to fill former fitness studio space

Police dog Hitch helped arrest a man who had reportedly threatened the security guards of a Victoria shopping centre with a knife on June 15. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Man with knife arrested after reportedly threatening Bay Centre security guards

The K9 unit’s police dog, Hitch, was deployed to assist with the arrest

Saanich Volunteer Services Society volunteers head out to deliver this week’s meals to local seniors. (Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
VIDEO: Weekly meal deliveries help brighten the day for Saanich seniors

Seniors are delivered nutritional meals by a group of volunteers every Wednesday

Police dog Obi assisted in an arrest Tuesday night after a man reportedly damaged a Victoria restaurant with a large steel beam. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Police dog called in after Victoria restaurant damaged with steel beam

Suspect reportedly entered restaurant and started damaging walls

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

An inmate in solitary confinement given lunch on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN/Lars Hagberg
22-hour cap on solitary confinement for youth in custody still too long: B.C. lawyer

Jennifer Metcalfe was horrified to hear a youth had spent a total of 78 straight days in isolation

The discovery of a missing woman’s body in Nanaimo earlier this month is now being treated as homicide, say Nanaimo RCMP. (File photo)
Discovery of woman’s body in downtown Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

Amy Watts was found dead near Albert Street and Victoria Crescent on June 3

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

Ocean debris is shown on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C. on April, 18, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

The Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society, which has been operating a treatment centre on land leased from the Nanoose First Nation for 35 years (pictured), has begun a fundraising campaign to open a new centre near Duncan. (Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society photo)
New residential school healing centre to be built near Duncan

$5-million Indigenous treatment centre will help survivors of residential schools heal

Two Lotto Max tickets sold on Vancouver Island were winners, though nobody won the $70-million jackpot in Tuesday’s draw. (BCLC image)
Vancouver Island lottery players win $1 million and $500,000 in Lotto Max draw

$1 million ticket sold in Campbell River, $500,000 ticket sold in Nanaimo

Most Read