Forestry workers rally at B.C. legislature on budget day

WatchThe rally saw workers from across Vancouver Island deliver an 8000 signature petition asking the BC Government to protect the harvestable land base.

Ron Tucker, co-owner of Nimpkish Logging in Port McNeill who attended Tuesday’s forestry rally in Victoria, had this to say about the protest.

“The protest is completely about protecting our working forest,” Tucker said.

Tucker joined hundreds of others at the B.C. legislature who are directly and indirectly employed in forestry, an industry that contributed nearly $13 billion to the BC economy in 2017, according to the Council of Forest Industries.

Craig Willett, who sells and services logging trucks, in Campbell River also attended the protest.

“Our family has been involved in this industry for 42 years and I would never, ever miss an opportunity like this to advocate for our customers and our forest base,” Willett said.

By early afternoon Tuesday, dozens of trucks were rolling into downtown Victoria and the message to the government was clear, any reduction in the allowable cut will hurt the industry even more. Right now, 30 per cent of the land base is harvested.

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“It continues to be eroded and what people don’t understand in B.C. is if the land base we work on continues to get smaller and smaller, we won’t have enough volume and second-growth to have a continuous cycle which is what we’re working towards when we talk about sustainable forests,” said Bill Nelson, owner of Holbrook Dyson Logging based in Campbell River and Vice President of the BC Truck Loggers Association.

“We just want things to be fair and be able to have a job and support our families,” said Trevor Boscoe, a forestry worker from Campbell River.

Environmental groups are concerned about BC’s remaining old-growth trees and the province’s Old Growth Strategic Review is set to make recommendations this spring which the loggers at the rally are worried will lead to more reductions.

“The loss of B.C.’s last old-growth forests is threatening plants and animals, land rights of Indigenous peoples, carbon storage, and environmental services like clean air and clean water. Species that depend on old-growth forests cannot survive in young, even-aged forests,” states Sierra Club BC.

“Some of it is actually starting to die so we log it and get the value out of it and then plant new forests to replace it that are healthy, carbon eating trees that are better for the environment even than the old-growth, added Tucker.

“For every tree harvested, industry plants three as required by law,” said Dan Banansky, of Western Canada Timber Products. “This is simple math everyone. It equates to reforestation, no deforestation.”

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

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