The provincial government is largely noncommittal in its response to a request by Vancouver Island communities to halt the logging of Island old growth forests.

The provincial government is largely noncommittal in its response to a request by Vancouver Island communities to halt the logging of Island old growth forests.

Province not rushing to extinguish old growth chainsaws any time soon

Ministry cites north Island's dependency on logging in response to Vancouver Island communities asking for a halt to old growth harvest

If attitudes about old growth logging are changing in Vancouver Island forests, does the government hear?

The answer, apparently, is “sort of.”

In the wake of a recent resolution by Vancouver Island communities calling for a halt of old growth harvesting, followed last week by a similar — though conditional — resolution by the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, the provincial government did not make forests minister Steve Thomson available for comment to the 230,000 Vancouver Island homes and businesses served by Black Press.

Instead, it released an emailed statement that defended its record on forest policy while implying that such a significant policy change will not be forthcoming any time soon.

“While some communities on Vancouver Island have successfully diversified their local economies more into tourism, many – like Port McNeill and Campbell River are still heavily dependent on forestry,” the statement reads. “Through our policies we try to achieve the right balance between conservation and resource development.

“We have specifically protected about four million hectares of old growth forests. On the B.C. coast, 1.783 million hectares of the 3.18 million hectares of old growth forests on Crown land are protected.

”Old growth forests are protected from logging in parks, protected areas and old growth management areas. The intent of these areas is to conserve biodiversity and species associated with old growth forests. Of the 1.9 million hectares of Crown forest on Vancouver Island, 840,125 hectares are considered old-growth – but only 313,000 hectares are available for timber harvesting.”

The Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities voted in favour of halting harvesting in April, stating old growth has more “economic, social and environmental value as wildlife habitat, tourism resource, carbon sink and much more” if it is left standing.

On May 30, the B.C. Chamber of Commerce endorsed “support (for) the increased protection of old-growth forests in areas of the province where they have or can likely have a greater net economic value for communities if they are left standing.”

Both resolutions basically serve as position statements as each organization lobbies the provincial government to change its policies.

Forest industry leaders say 45 per cent of the timber cut on the Island and south coast is old growth. According to Truck Loggers Association executive director David Elstone halting that harvest would devastate the industry — which directly employs 38,000 people in the region — and damage the Island economy, particularly in the north.

Follow me on Twitter @JohnMcKinleyBP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

A decade into the 100-year blueprint for restoring the Bowker Creek watershed, Soren Henrich, director of the Friends of Bowker Creek Society, feels positive about the future of conservation and daylighting of the creek. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Ten years in, Greater Victoria’s 100-year Bowker Creek blueprint gets a boost

Victoria council passes several restoration recommendations

A resurfacing of the tennis court in Metchosin is being eyed for the community. However, funding opportunities still need to be solidified for the project. (Michelle Cabana/Black Press Media)
Renewed surface eyed for Metchosin tennis court

Funding source must first be solidified in order for project to happen

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Most Read