Common Sense Canadian
 

Tensions grow over plan to log Central Walbran Valley’s ancient forests

PostedDecember 23, 2015 by in BC
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Surrey-based Teal-Jones Group was in BC Supreme Court in Vancouver last week in an attempt to extend its injunction (court order) against the Wilderness Committee and other activists working to protect old-growth forests in the Walbran Valley.

Since November, independent activists have blocked several Teal-Jones logging operations in the Walbran. Teal-Jones asked the court to renew an injunction, which had expired on December 14th, aiming to restrict public access to the area for the next nine months.

Judge issues mixed decision

The judge chided Teal-Jones’ lawyers for not bringing this case to court in Victoria, where arguably more people with an interest in this issue – including some individuals named in the injunction – would be able to attend. The judge declined to expand the injunction to the scope that Teal-Jones had requested, but did grant an extension of the current injunction to January 4th. At that point, Teal-Jones will have to reapply to the BC Supreme Court in Victoria for the more expansive injunction it is seeking, in order to allow more interested parties to be in attendance.

The Wilderness Committee, which was named in the injunction, had previously challenged Teal-Jones in court, stating that they had nothing to do with organizing the blockades that were taking place in the Walbran Valley. They argued that the language was overly broad, as to prevent them from engaging in their lawful conservation and educational activities in the Central Walbran. The judge agreed to vary the injunction to allow lawful activities to continue in the area, so long as they did not interfere with Teal-Jones’ harvesting operations.

Government open door to rare old growth logging

While Teal-Jones has been logging in the Walbran Valley for years, its operations had been limited to the highly fragmented areas east of the Walbran River. However, tensions started ramping up when the BC government approved the first of eight proposed cut-blocks in the pristine and highly cherished area west of the river.

This is where one finds the famous Castle Grove, one of the most densely packed groves of old-growth red cedars on earth. This is all part of Teal-Jones’ Tree Farm License 46. It is one of the largest tracts of old-growth temperate rainforest on Southern Vancouver Island, containing massive trees and extremely rare and fragile limestone formations known as karst. This area west of the river is contiguous with Carmanah-Walbran Provincial Park, making it more ecologically valuable than the area east of the river, which has been heavily fragmented by forestry over the years.

Ancient forests provide vital habitat

Torrance Coste, Vancouver Island campaigner for the Wilderness Committee argues that intact ancient forests like these have more value standing than as timber. He writes:

Compared to second growth forests, old-growth provides better habitat for diverse endangered species, purifies drinking water more effectively, provides the resources integral to First Nations culture, and holds high economic potential in terms of tourism. Additionally, old growth absorbs and stores carbon and is therefore a critical tool in the fight against climate change.

However, 96% of the low-elevation old-growth forests have been logged on Southern Vancouver Island.

“Today, the Central Walbran represents some of the finest of that last 4% that we need to protect,” points out Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner TJ Watt.

One of the last of its kind

Jens Wieting, forest and climate campaigner with Sierra Club BC agrees: “In many parts of Vancouver Island and the South Coast there are few old-growth and other truly intact rainforest areas left and the risks of climate change impacts like drought, flooding and landslides are increasing. This means that we have to double our efforts to protect forests, improve forest management and reduce forest carbon loss,” he notes.

Business group calls for halt to old-growth logging

In nearby Port Renfrew—which bills itself as the “Tall Tree Capital of Canada”—the local Chamber of Commerce, representing 73 businesses in the region, has issued a statement calling on the BC government to prevent any further old-growth logging in the Walbran Valley.

“Big tree tourism has increased the total flow of dollars spent in Port Renfrew in our rental accommodations, restaurants, grocery stores, and businesses in general,” says Chamber president Dan Hager.“ Along with sport fishing, old-growth forest tourism has become a staple of our local economy.”

“Virtually unmatched” for tourism appeal

According to Ancient Forest Alliance executive director Ken Wu, the Walbran is “virtually unmatched for recreational and scenic grandeur in the world.”

“It’s just the perfect place to visit, and to riddle the whole area with clearcuts and giant stumps would be the lowest, worst use of a place like this,” Wu adds.

These diverse groups are calling on the BC government to revoke Teal-Jones’ cutting permit in the Central Walbran and incorporate this area into the adjacent Carmanah-Walbran Provincial Park.

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About the Author

Daniel Pierce

Daniel J. Pierce is a Vancouver-based filmmaker with a body of work that explores the dynamics of people coming together to build resilient communities and reconnect with the laws of nature. His first documentary, The Hollow Tree, premiered at DOXA and was acquired by CBC and Knowledge in 2012. Dan has been traveling to Cortes Island since January 2012 and is producing a documentary about the ongoing logging dispute with Island Timberlands, the modern forest movement in BC, and the transition to a more holistic forestry economy.

21 Comments


  1.  
    sherman

    logging old growth culling wolves dam the peace on and on from the leader of a party that couldn’t even win her own riding. This is such a sad stamen about democracy ,and a province that gets what there willing to put up with.The financial favours from corporations to clark make her b.c. s top corporate whore,selling out b.c. to anyone wiling to donate to her party




  2.  
    MsJustice

    U r all WONDERFUL!! Thank U. I am quite active in politics & unfortunately the Supreme Court is higher than the government. But the opposition parties should be on this & every level of government. I will communicate this to Elizabeth May & JT himself & see if he will take it seriously & respect the Treaty like he said he would at the Aboriginal Summit before Christmas. I am so glad I happened upon this post. Again I thank U all.




  3.  
    nonconfidencevote

    gee.
    And Teal Jones is a financial contributor to the Liberal party.
    What a surprise.
    No conflict there.

    Thats quite a legacy Christy.
    Sell paradise for less than 30 grand so that your grandkids can stare at photos on an Ipad of “the way it was” before it was a barren wasteland..
    Prison is too good for these people.




  4.  
    elga konietzny

    i am not so good at it but if someone could start a nationwide petition,,that could help,,also we have a chance with Elisabeth May,,or something like this,,she is our new government for the
    environment




  5.  
    sandra

    Save old growth now and forever. Killling these ancestors is a crime and they must be stopped at all cost.




  6.  
    susannah garrett

    Thank you so much for helping raise awareness around the threat to this irreplaceable and awe inspiring ancient forest. I have spent many many weekends building boardwalks here to bring people to this beautiful sacred place. May the Liberal government respect the people of port Renfrew and say no ASAP to more logging of old growth. Teal Jones is not even an island based company and it exports its products to outside the province. Eco tourism brings more sustainable income to the locals and First Nations of Vancouver Island. Furthermore ancient forests absorb more carbon from the atmosphere than second growth forest, and they are home to many endangered species. Future generations will thank us for preserving this unique and precious watershed.




  7.  
    David Talbot

    Having seen the Walbran and realizing that there isn’t much left for my Grandchildren to see, please us know how soon they will start cutting and when are you going to start mobilizing people for action.




  8.  
    Patti

    I know it’s a provincial area but since Clark is a lost cause, is there any chance Trudeau would get involved! I believe he does care. Please send him this email. Thanks, pm




  9.  
    Rosemary Baxter

    The legacyof Christy Clark and her Liberal governmental will be the environmental destruction of all that makes British Columbia a special place – areas critically necessary to sustain biological diversity. Right now we’re looking at the destruction of the Peace River Valley, the breadbasket of BC, AND, what’s left of our Island old-growth forests, not to mention what the proposed LNG plants will do! We can’t afford to have this happen… can we not get rid of this government? Now?




  10.  
    Claire Frodsham

    As well as pursuing all legal options to prevent the abomination of the destruction of these sacred, ancient forests, BC activists might consider taking to the trees at the point the loggers are moving in like they did in the UK. Don’t let this stinking greedy British company destroy any more of Canada’s beautiful natural heritage. Return the land to the First Nations people’s, the true guardians and custodians. Stop this white man’s destruction In the name of greed. By the way I am a White Brit and I think we’ve done quite enough damage! Time to stop.




  11.  
    gabriela grabowsky

    hey I just wrote you about our situation and pressed post comment but it seems to have vanished…are you being hacked?




  12.  
    Lancelot

    Leave the Central zeal ran Valley’s ancient forests alone!
    Love Love Love
    It’s All You Really Need…




  13.  
    Carol

    Christy Clarke is selling out to the highest bidder again. She only cares about cash in her pocket, nothing about the environment or people of the province. Allowing this to happen is a shame. What can we do to stop it and her?




  14.  
    Joanne Light

    “”A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”–Also Leopold

    This lust for money is protected in the hands of the ignorant and short-sighted, like Christy Clark.




  15.  

    Leave this beautiful old trees in peace. I have seen them, they are like a temple! Magnificent!




  16.  
    rhodell

    This has gone on for too long. The simple solution is to ban headrigs and limit the size of debarkers.




  17.  
    peter hammond

    Stop the elimination of our native forests. Please.




  18.  

    We know that Christy Clark’s BC Liberals have given Teal-Jones the green light to put a ring of clearcuts throughout the Walbran Valley. They call these cutblocks “Special Management Zones”! In 2014 alone, Teal-Jones forked out $22,800 in “donations” to the BC Liberals for the favour. You can find these details and more at Election Canada’s Financial Reports and
    Political Contributions System, online at http://contributions.electionsbc.gov.bc.ca/pcs/.
    Please support the campaign to end this ecological carnage. It’s not about jobs, this is about wholesale expulsion of resources for very little local return on investment. A bad deal all around for Canadians.
    Find out more on facebook at Walbran Central: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1501416473460196/
    Thanks for the great report and video, Daniel!




  19.  
    Robert van Dorsten

    I think it is criminal to log out magical places like this. Kudos to all the kind folks who are going out of their way to help protect them.
    Im interested to go out there in the new year.I have a class ‘A’ DL and would be happy to put it to use getting people in and out of the area,if that would help. I currently work for Wilson’s Transportation.
    Perhaps something could be worked out with them to get a school bus or coach, to get a lot of people in and out for an adventure in theses areas. Id volunteer my time,(with in reason) to be a driver for the cause. Also is there a map one can download to find the roads in? I do have a good ‘back country’ map book is that is all that is required, and a couple of Jeeps.
    Please get back to me if this could spark some ideas such as the logistics to get some bodies back there to help out . (at your leisure its busy times right now). All the best!!





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