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

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Geordie Fife exits the dunk tank during 2017’s Discovery House Father’s Day festivities at Skaha Lake Park. The fundraiser helps raise awareness of the work done at the house and break down the stigma associated with addiction. (Western News File)
Discovery House Father’s Day fundraiser goes digital

The addiction recovery program will be rolling out videos ahead of the fundraiser

The proposed design of the five-storey building on Front Street. (City of Penticton)
Five-storey building proposed for Penticton’s Front Street

It will be the second time the proposal will head to council

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from St. Eugene’s residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

RCMP thanked the public for assistance in finding Benjamin Archie, last seen in Princeton. (RCMP)
Missing Chilliwack man found safe and sound

The 80-year-old had walked away from his home in Chilliwack

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

Most Read