UBCM Opposes Old-Growth Logging on Vancouver Island

Wilderness Committee Sept. 28, 2016

VICTORIA – Yesterday afternoon, mayors and councillors from across BC passed a motion to formally oppose old-growth logging on Vancouver Island.

The motion, championed by Metchosin Councillor Andy MacKinnon, was returned to the UBCM’s resolutions list after initially being removed. MacKinnon and other municipal leaders reversed the removal, and around 80 per cent of delegates from across the province voted in favour of the motion.

“This is an excellent first step, and I’m really pleased that municipal politicians across our province have chosen to support this resolution,” MacKinnon said. “Now it’s time for the provincial government to take action on this – our opportunities to protect the last tracts old-growth rainforest decrease by the day.”

The motion is applauded by the Wilderness Committee. The group urged the public to ask their municipal representatives to support the motion, and rallied outside the convention to highlight the public desire for old-growth protection.

“When we look for leadership on old-growth rainforests, it often comes from municipal governments and First Nations. This is the boldest statement yet,” said Torrance Coste, Vancouver Island Campaigner with the Wilderness Committee. “It’s time for the government and the Official Opposition to catch up and start respecting local voices on this.”

The motion was co-championed by Victoria City Councillor Ben Isitt, who also participates in Island Forest Futures, an initiative that advocates a transition to sustainable second-growth forestry on Vancouver Island. Isitt and MacKinnon both presented at a public event hosted by Island Forest Futures on Monday night in Victoria.

“Regional governments and First Nations are far better positioned to manage local forests,” Isitt said. “We need to  reject liquidation of the last stands of old-growth rainforest and embrace sustainable management and community tenure of second-growth stands for value-added jobs, biodiversity and drinking water protection.”

A similar motion was passed in May by the BC Chamber of Commerce, which coupled with the UBCM motion highlights community and business opposition to destructive old-growth logging in threatened areas like the Walbran Valley, East Creek and Mt. Elphinstone.

The UBCM will now urge the provincial government to take action to protect remaining old-growth.

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