VIDEO: Victoria residents demonstrate to demand protection of B.C. old growth

Demonstrations start at noon at three Greater Victoria sites

Cries of “action” filled the air Thursday outside the premier’s office in Langford.

While John Horgan was not at the office, Bruce Fogg executive assistant to the premier, said he would relay the message and that Horgan is aware of the “complex” issue.

The Jacklin Road was one of 17 government offices across the province – three in Greater Victoria – subject to demonstrations. The residents called for improved forest management and protection of B.C.’s endangered old-growth forests.

Concerned local residents are demonstrating today outside of 17 offices of government demanding protection of B.C.’s old-growth forests. The demonstrations are part of a province-wide day of action coordinated by Sierra Club BC.

“B.C.’s forests are in a state of emergency that cannot be ignored any longer,” said Sierra Club BC’s Galen Armstrong. “This government was elected on a promise to use conservation solutions applied in the Great Bear Rainforest across BC, yet they have failed to act. The longer we delay the less old growth will be left, with negative consequences for communities, endangered species, ecosystems and our climate. Once these trees are gone, they will never come back.”

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mall group of protesters outside MLA Rob Fleming’s office as part of a province-wide day of action to protect B.C.’s old growth. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)

In Victoria, dozens of people gathered outside MLA Carole James office on Fort Street, while a smaller group protested on Hillside Avenue outside MLA Rob Fleming’s office.

One such protester was Lyrica Sherwood, who carried a small cedar seedling in a pouch attached to her chest.

“I’m here because old growth forests are sacred to me personally but also because they’re so important for the lungs of the planet and habitats for so many different species, and for biodiversity,” she said. “They take hundreds of years to grow, their whole ecosystem takes centuries, they are literally irreplaceable…We need to protect it.”

Elisabeth Hazell, Sierra Club BC’s manager of donor engagement, says climate change is such a huge problem that its difficult for people to wrap their heads’ around – but saving B.C.’s old-growth trees is a tangible step.

“As British Columbians we have a global responsibility to take care of our forests,” Hazell said. “These trees are amazing machines that pull carbon right out of the atmosphere. It took 10,000 years for this ecosystem to develop and we’re losing our old growth on Vancouver Island…too fast.

It’s really important that we prioritize this if we’re going to do anything meaningful about climate change.”

Protesters around B.C. are calling on the province to halt old-growth logging in “critical intact old-growth hotspots,” according to a news release. They will also call for science-based protection of endangered old-growth forests.

Demonstrations were held in Oliver, Campbell River, Sidney, Duncan, Courtenay-Comox, Parksville, Nanaimo, Langford, Langley, Nelson, Prince George, Sechelt, Surrey, Vancouver and in Victoria at MLA Carole James’ office on Fort Street, MLA Rob Fleming’s on Hillside Avenue and Premier John Horgan’s office on Jacklin Road in Langford.

– with files from Swikar Oli, Nicole Crescenzi, Nina Grossman



c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca

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