Calling on the provincial government to invest in sustainable logging practises
A protest today in downtown Port Alberni focused on raw log exports, with forest workers and environmentalists joining forces.
They want the province to end raw log exports, and focus on sustainable second-growth forest.
They wind thier way through the streets of Port Alberni.
Many of these protestors used to work in mills on Vancouver Island.
NDP MLA Scott Fraser has attended rallies in the past.
“This is not the first rally that I’ve dealt with bad forest policy that the government has brought in, including raw log export.
It’s been a constant concern for the residents of port alberni, and the workers here too.”
Raw logs are a small, but growing portion of B.C.’s trade to Asia.
With many mills closing over the past decade, it’s a sensitive issue.
Most of the ships leaving Port Alberni are loaded with raw logs, not processed lumber.
Torrance Coste is with the Wilderness Committee.
“We need government leadership.
Our government needs to represent us.
We elect them to take care of the environment and to take care of our communities.
And right now they are just taking care of a handful of logging companies.
And that needs to change.”
These union members, environmentalists and politicans want change.
Arnie Bercov is with the Public and Private Workers of Canada Union.
He says with the loss of thousands of industry jobs over the past twenty years, the union is calling on the province to change existing forest policies.
“When you look at the island, there is nothing but mill closures.
And we’re exporting up to 60 percent of the second growth logs that are cut on this island.”
“These are basically public resources, our trees.
So they need to managed to maximize the public benefit.
We’re one of the worst jurisdictions in the world as far as adding value to our trees.
What I mean by value is jobs.”
As many as six million cubic metres of raw logs will be exported this year, enough to build 100,000 homes.
But these protesters say government will could stop the flow and keep jobs on the island.