Group representing 73 businesses calls on B.C. to halt logging of ancient trees

PORT RENFREW, B.C. -- Communities along the West Coast of Vancouver Island say the provincial government needs to step in to save the ancient, massive trees that grow in the Walbran Valley.

See Full Article

Business leaders in Port Renfrew, B.C., a community that once thrived on forestry, are calling for a ban on logging the trees -- some of which started life around the time of the Magna Carta in 1215.

Tofino's council also passed a resolution asking provincial politicians to protect the forests from commercial logging.

Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce president Dan Hager said tourists who come to see the majestic trees have created a multimillion-dollar economy along the coast and the highest value would come from stopping the logging.

"The bottom line is it's great for business," he said in an interview on Monday.

Hager said many Canadian cities lay claim to having a world's largest attraction that has been built to bring tourists, but communities near the Walbran Valley have the trees to draw tourists.

A provincial government fact sheet released earlier this year said one company has an approved cutting permit to log one cutblock covering 3.2 hectares east of Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park. The park covers more than 16,000 hectares of forest on the west side of Vancouver Island.

The park was created in 1990, an end result of massive protests over the loss of the ancient trees.

Hager, who grew up on the Prairies, said people can't fathom how incredible the trees are to see -- some of them have a circumference of up to five metres and dwarf all who stand next to them for a photo.

"Because these trees are spectacular," he said. "There's almost no place in the country where trees like this are accessible to the population."

Hager said most people who come to Port Renfrew, a tiny community on the southwestern end of Vancouver Island, are there to fish or see trees, including many people from Germany, Holland and France.

Tofino was at the epicentre of protests to protect Clayoquot Sound in the 1980s and 1990s, and with that background Mayor Josie Osborne said councillors passed a resolution last week to protect the Walbran Valley and other old-growth forests on Vancouver Island.

"Tofino is one of the places in British Columbia that really can see the benefit of having protested the government's plans for logging in an area and we've benefited from that."

The Port Renfrew chamber, which represents 73 local businesses, released a statement calling on the B.C. government to immediately ban logging in the unprotected portion of the valley.

It said the most heavily visited areas of the Walbran by tourists are outside the park's protected areas.

Forests Minister Steve Thomson said in an interview the area that is proposed to be logged is in a special resource-management zone and has several restricted areas that need to be respected by the logging firm Teal Cedar Products Ltd.

"We're of the view that this is part of the timber-harvesting land base and logging can proceed recognizing those restrictions."

Thomson said he has asked his ministry to facilitate a meeting between the company and local environmental groups to determine how to address additional concerns about logging.

"This area went through a very, very significant process. Agreements were made in terms of finding the balance between protection and economic activity," he said, adding that 17 per cent of B.C.'s land base is in protected areas.

Osborne said Tofino councillors worded their resolution for the government carefully, excluding First Nations' cultural uses of the forest. But industrial-scale, old-growth logging is a thing of the past, she said.

"It's a non-renewable resource."

The group Ancient Forest Alliance has lobbied heavily for the Walbran's protection and said the valley has the most extensive, densely packed groves of old-growth western red cedars in the country, some of which are the largest such trees on record.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Why Trump will find it hard to make American economy greater

    Economic CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- President Donald Trump's economic plans are nothing if not ambitious: Annual growth of 4 per cent -- or more. A diminished trade gap. The creation of 25 million jobs over 10 years, including the return of good-paying factory positions. Source
  • Lawsuit: Donald Trump businesses violate U.S. Constitution

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- A lawsuit Monday alleged that U.S. President Donald Trump is violating the Constitution by allowing his business to accept payments from foreign governments. Trump is violating the so-called emoluments clause in the Constitution that prohibits him from receiving money from diplomats for stays at his hotels or foreign governments for leases of office space in his buildings, according to the suit filed by a legal watchdog group. Source
  • Brookfield moves to simplify North American property arm

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- The largest shareholder of Brookfield Canada Office Properties (TSX:BOX.UN) is offering to buy the rest of the real estate trust's equity for $30.10 cash per unit, a 14.8 per cent premium to Friday's closing price in Toronto. Source
  • Trump pledges border tax, less red tape and trade renegotiations on first weekday in office

    Economic CBC News
    The new U.S. president doubled down on some of his campaign promises on Monday, including punitive tax hikes for U.S. companies that ship jobs overseas and sharp reductions in corporate taxes, red tape and regulations. Source
  • Statistics Canada says wholesale sales gained 0.2 per cent in November

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- Statistics Canada said Monday that wholesale sales gained 0.2 per cent in November to total $56.9 billion, as a drop in the auto sector limited overall gains for the month. The second consecutive monthly increase fell short of the 0.5 per cent for the month that had been expected by economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters; however, the October figures were revised 0.2 per cent higher than previously reported. Source
  • McDonald's sales rise globally, but dip in U.S.

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- McDonald's global sales rose 2.7 per cent at established locations as growth overseas offset a drop in the U.S. The world's biggest burger chain attributed the decline at home to a tough comparison from the year-ago quarter, when it launched its all-day breakfast menu. Source
  • McDonald's sales dip in U.S., underscoring comeback challenges

    Economic CTV News
    NEW YORK -- McDonald's is trying stage a comeback, but still has plenty of work to do in its flagship U.S. market. The world's biggest burger chain said U.S. sales dipped 1.3 per cent at established locations for the final three months of 2016. Source
  • United Airlines computer glitch cancelled and delayed flights

    Economic CTV News
    CHICAGO -- United Airlines says six flights were cancelled and 200 more were delayed because of a computer problem that forced a ground stop for all domestic flights that lasted about 2 1/2 hours Sunday. Source
  • Kuwait state oil company says onshore leak contained

    Economic CTV News
    KUWAIT CITY -- Kuwait's national oil company says it has contained an oil leak at one of its southwestern oil fields. Monday's statement by the Kuwait Oil Co. did not identify the onshore oil field affected by the leak, which began Sunday. Source
  • Stockpiling only cash in TFSA may hurt investors long term: experts

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Financial planner Jason Heath's mind boggles when he thinks about the high percentage of Canadians stockpiling what he calls "dead money" into tax-free savings accounts. "There's a lot of average Canadians out there that have been led to believe that parking a few thousand dollars in a TFSA in cash, or a near-cash equivalent investment paying one per cent, is somehow a good idea," says Heath, managing director of Objective Financial Partners in Toronto. Source