Covert logging of old-growth on northern Vancouver Island must be stopped
VICTORIA— Sierra Club BC is asking the BC government to put Lemare Lake Logging Ltd operations on hold because the company is keeping its logging plans under wraps, while clearcutting endangered old-growth on Northern Vancouver Island.
For five months, Lemare Lake Logging Ltd. has barred access to the public and Sierra Club BC to site plans for its current operations in East Creek on Vancouver Island. This directly contravenes the Forest and Range Practices Act.
Sierra Club BC is calling for action to avoid further destruction of irreplaceable ecological and cultural values until appropriate conservation planning has been undertaken and the company has changed its practices. A formal complaint has been filed with the BC Forest Practices Board.
East Creek is located adjacent to the Mquqᵂin – Brooks Peninsula Provincial Park, in traditional Kwakwaka’wakw territory, and forms part of the largest remaining contiguous ancient rainforest on northern Vancouver Island.
Sierra Club BC first requested Lemare’s site plans in early December, 2015. Since then, Lemare has evaded its legal obligation to provide the plans. Section 11 of the Forest and Range Practices Act requires logging companies to make their site plans publicly available “at any reasonable time” upon request at the company’s place of business.
“For months, Lemare has stalled and stonewalled in the face of Sierra Club BC’s repeated attempts to review its site plans,” said Mark Worthing, forest campaigner at Sierra Club BC. “They’ve cancelled appointments, provided extremely limited scheduling opportunities, refused to fax or email the plans, and flat out refused to provide plans when a concerned community member arrived at the office asking to see site plans.”
A recent Sierra Club mapping analysis showed East Creek on the northern island and the Walbran on the southern island among the most critical remaining intact areas and ecological steppingstones between the Great Bear Rainforest, Clayoquot Sound and Pacific Rim National Park.
“Rapidly harvesting old growth and exporting raw logs out of the province is bad economics.” said Arnold Bercov, President of the Public and Private Workers of Canada (PPWC). “Instead, more jobs and forest-based communities could be supported by sustainable harvesting of second growth forests and local processing and manufacturing.”
Sierra Club BC visited East Creek on a routine exploration of old growth valleys in the fall and discovered that the company is logging at an extremely rapid pace, literally blowing up old growth trees with blasting charges. Sierra Club BC documented evidently non-compliant logging practices, compromising salmon spawning habitat, water quality, marbled murrelet nesting trees and northern goshawk habitat.
Much of the blame for the lack of stewardship belongs with the provincial government. Over the past 15 years, a combination of legislative and regulatory changes and cutbacks in compliance and enforcement and other staff in the Ministry of Forests, Range and Natural Resource Operations has made it next to impossible to know the state of our forests and easier for logging companies who chose to withhold information from the public.
“Out of sight, out of mind seems to be government’s approach when it comes to logging of the last ancient giants on Vancouver Island,” said Jens Wieting, forest and climate campaigner with Sierra Club BC. “This is another example why Vancouver Island needs a new conservation plan for healthy rainforest and healthy communities, respecting First Nations rights, based on science, and addressing climate change.
“Solutions for healthy forests and healthy communities similar to those developed in the Great Bear Rainforest are needed along the entire B.C. coast, not just one part of it. East Creek and the Central Walbran are among the most important examples of intact, unprotected, productive coastal old growth south of the Great Bear Rainforest that need immediate action or will be lost forever.”
Sierra Club BC supports sustainable, second growth harvesting and local, value-added processing that creates a higher number of jobs per cubic metre, such that we can sustain healthy forest-based communities and local forestry jobs into the future.
A detailed chronology of efforts to view Lemare’s site plans is available on Sierra Club BC’s website.
Mark Worthing, Forests and Biodiversity Campaigner, Sierra Club BC, email@example.com
(please email and Mark will call back)
Jens Wieting, Forests and Climate Campaigner, Sierra Club BC, cell: 604-354-5312
Arnold Bercov, President, Public and Private Workers of Canada (PPWC), cell: 604-862-3800