Early work on logging DL33 before it was halted by protestors several weeks ago

Ancient Douglas Fir grove on the chopping block today

Ancient Douglas Fir grove on the chopping block today
Early logging of DL33 before it was halted by protestors several weeks ago

One of the last remaining intact old-growth Douglas Fir groves on Vancouver Island is slated to be logged today, following an injunction last week against protestors who halted an earlier attempt to commence work. The forest, near Nanoose Bay, is known in logging parlance as DL33 and is home to red-listed Coastal Douglas Fir.

The issue is pitting environmentalists against the local First Nation, as the company doing the logging, Snaw-Naw-As Forest Services Ltd, is aboriginal-owned. But conservationists were shocked to learn at the BC Supreme Court this past Friday that the First Nation has already got a buyer lined up to purchase the logs – namely Timberwest.

A spokesperson for the Mid-Island Chapter of the Wilderness Committee slammed Timberwest’s involvement in a recent press release. “Timberwest is certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) – which says on its website that: SFI labels are recognized globally and provide a visual cue to help customers source responsibly managed forest products,” said the Wilderness Committee’s Annette Tanner.

“And we also note that Timberwest’s website states that: ‘Protection of biodiversity is a key element of sustainable forest management and TimberWest continually strives to improve efforts to sustain key habitat for plants and wildlife. This endeavor is not only part of delivering on our social and environmental license to operate, it meets the increasing market demand for products from timberlands that have been independently certified as having high standards of environmental management,'” said Tanner.

Having successfully obtained an injunction against the protestors who interrupted early work at DL33 several weeks ago, it is expected the logging will commence today.

The Wilderness Committee and its supporters are focusing their attention on the would-be buyer of these old-growth Douglas Fir logs in a last-ditch effort to save this rare forest. An offer from Timberwest to purchase the logs, obtained by the Wilderness Committee, was dated October 24, suggesting the purchase agreement was likely the catalyst for this logging to commence.

It remains to be seen whether this negative publicity for Timberwest has any effect on the planned work or whether cancelling their contract with the First Nation would prompt its logging company to reconsider the project.


About Damien Gillis

Damien Gillis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker with a focus on environmental and social justice issues - especially relating to water, energy, and saving Canada's wild salmon - working with many environmental organizations in BC and around the world. He is the co-founder, along with Rafe Mair, of The Common Sense Canadian, and a board member of both the BC Environmental Network and the Haig-Brown Institute.

14 thoughts on “Ancient Douglas Fir grove on the chopping block today

  1. Timberwest was purchased back in June by two pension funds…one held by mostly Federal Employees and other one held by provincial and municipal employees. Many hands have been soiled with this deal and it should not go ahead for many reasons. We have to instill ethical business practises within our society to better our society.

  2. When Ron T. criticizes the use of the term “Old Growth”, he needs to refer to Environment Canada’s technical report “Sensitive Ecosystems Inventory: East Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands 1993-1997 Volume 1”. A new category called “Older Forest”, (forest with an age classification greater than 100 years) was created here in the CDFmm, due to the lack of “Old Growth” that had not been disturbed by some human activity.
    DL 33 with its many old growth veterans (250 – 350 years old) may not be technically an “Old Growth Forest” but this rare and sensitive ecosystem with this high number of old growth veterans had a 100 year head start on becoming an “Old Growth Forest”.
    Many of the vets were in the way of the road-building, so have already fallen, so please come and count the rings for yourself.

  3. Just when winter begins, the trees that nurture and provide shelter to all the creatures surviving in that fractured ecosystem are going to go. How about we take down the owner/managers’ homes in this brutal time of year for weather. Do away with all the creature then there is nothing to stand in the way of the rest of the 1% being logged. Sounds like true blue capitalism, corporate values to me.

  4. The protesters in this argument remind me of George Bush repeatedly insisting there were weapons of mass destruction. In spite of all the evidence indicating this is 2nd growth timber they insist on labeling it old growth. Facts really ruin a good story dont they.

  5. If there is a market for this valuable wood, why not use it, then plant a new forest that will also one day again become an “old growth forest”. Let the Natives (who have been using the forest for thousands of years) and the forest companies continue to practice sustainable development.

  6. Tragedy of the commons, and the ongoing legacy of colonial aparteid. SFI is basically self-certification, these guys are Timberwankers.

  7. After reading this I wrote a letter to Timberwest .
    The response:
    TimberWest is very supportive of the rights of First Nations to participate in the forest sector and is proud to have a cooperative business relationship with the Nanoose, and other First Nations on Vancouver Island.

    The province made the decision to grant a woodlot license to the Nanoose First Nation, it was a democratic process, and we respect the authority of the Crown. TimberWest was not party to this process, however we support the Crown’s decision and First Nation’s right to participate in BC’s forest sector.

    TimberWest is simply purchasing logs which are being supplied to domestic mills on Vancouver Island. The purchase volume is 15,000m3 and it is all second growth. Purchasing logs is a normal part of TimberWest’s business. We regularly purchase logs from First Nation’s, other private forest landowners, and from government tenure holders.

    TimberWest’s Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certification commitments are not in question. The Forest Practices Board investigation conclusion that the Nanoose First Nation meet or exceed all legislative requirements in their harvest planning confirms that.

  8. What we need to do is learn how to vote properly as a nation. Like Rafe says… how do we get the slightest chance of changing anything? Get out and vote!
    This country has proved though, that it can’t vote its way out of a paper bag. Shame on Canadians and British Columbians who continue to vote in the idiots who allow this to continue. I guess the real problem is though… no matter how you vote, the government always gets in. Is there anyone out there who cares?

    There is 1% old growth left on Vancouver Island… why is it so hard for the government just to say “Sorry… we’re keeping the last 1% intact… no more old growth logging… its done… you’ve got it all now move away from the logs. Come back in 800 years.”

    Makes me sick…

    We have a new music video, 5ive Sisters, on the subject you can watch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tp1s7tAVxbs

    Thanks for the work you do Damien! Cheers.

  9. There are no ethics, morals, nor common sense, when it comes to business in BC. We haven’t forgot about Gordon Campbell and Harper, have we? They are the epitome of disgusting greed.

    What kind of idiots would cut down a rain forest? Must be to get rid of the Spirit Bear and the unique small wolves. The rain forests are vital, so we stupid humans can breathe. Must be the same type of idiots, who are cutting down the last Boreal Forest in North America, up where the dirty tar sands are.

    There is no doubt the human species, are the most stupid animals on earth. So by all means, let’s keep cutting down our forests. Poisoning our air, lakes, rivers, streams, lands and our clean underground water, by pipeline bursts and fracking for gas. Off shore rig explosions, tanker spills. load our oceans up with, even more acid, from burning fossil fuels. Who cares if the dirty oil tankers, kill off our beautiful Orca and Humpback Whales, and all the marine life in the Douglas Channel?
    Let’s get the hole in the Ozone layer, as huge as we can. We should be able to step up, floods, droughts, tornado’s, hurricanes, by burning more the dirty tar sands oil. All in the name of greed.

  10. Is this the future in BC? The government gives contentious red-listed forests to the First Nations, and the large forest companies who have already logged all the valuable timber on their own TFLs and privately owned lands, and whose hands are tied on their own lands by their lip service to biodiversity and sustainability, buy this “hot” wood. How cynical and how sad.

  11. Logging has not started today as expected? Not sure why but the forest and it’s creatures have been left in silence for the moment. Maybe miracles do happen? Pls write to govt and Timberwest and letters to editors -thank you

  12. Timberwest is owned by bcIMC, at least the major part.

    bcIMC is commited to taking “A Precautionary Approach to Environmental Management”, and Timberwest is a signitory to the SFI.

    Clearing older second growth and mature forest with SEI polygons in a globally at risk and over exploited CDF biogeoclimatic zone ecoystem is a clear breach of these agreements and if the logging proceeds, appropriate action should be taken to make Timberwest Accountable for what would ammount to potentially fraudulent statements and claims.

    TImberwest must back away from this logging that is quasi-legal on more than one count.

  13. Timberwest was purchased back in June by two pension funds…one held by mostly Federal Employees and other one held by provincial and municipal employees. Many hands have been soiled with this deal and it should not go ahead for many reasons. We have to instill ethical business practises within our society to better our society.

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