Activists ask North Cowichan municipal council to pause tree harvesting


WATCH: More than 80 North Cowichan residents made a plea in front of their municipal hall Wednesday. They’re asking their municipal council to pause plans to log the trees that fell this past winter on a community-owned piece of land. But as Kendall Hanson reports, the mayor says it’s too late.
Those concerned about North Cowichan’s plan for its municipal forest demonstrated Wednesday afternoon.

They shared songs, poems and speeches.

“Let’s go out there and let’s do a non-invasive, an eco-forestry method, a sustainable method,” said Chris Istace, a North Cowichan resident.

The municipality is planning to remove the trees that fell during this past December’s windstorm.

The blowdown is on 6,000 hectares of municipally-owned land on six different mountains.

North Cowichan’s mayor says the municipality is acting on the advice of its Forest Advisory Committee.

“And they said you got to get the blow down out of there because it’s a forest fire hazard and because it’s a beetle infestation hazard that could create some major problems for the rest of the forest if you don’t get those blown down trees out of there,” said Al Siebring, North Cowichan’s mayor.

Those protesting at North’s Cowichan’s municipal hall on Wednesday are calling for a pause on the plans.

They want the harvesting done with smaller machinery that will have a smaller impact on the forest.

“Carefully they could take out a number of trees. How many trees is debatable,” said Icel Dobell, a North Cowichan resident and organizer of WhereDoWeStand.

“There are so many perspectives on how you salvage but only one perspective has been put forward and there’s been no public discussion.”

North Cowichan’s mayor says there will be consultations next year as the municipality decides on its conventional logging plans going forward but he says the decision to deal with blow down has already been made.

These concerned citizens say companies can bid on the job until this Friday. They’re still hoping public pressure will stop all trees from being removed this year.

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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