Sierra Club BC calls for government leadership to resolve conflict over Walbran rainforest
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
VICTORIA—Sierra Club BC is extremely concerned about the ongoing absence of government leadership to resolve the conflict over logging in the Walbran valley.
As a result of the B.C. government’s inadequate response to the severity of the concerns expressed over old-growth logging in this valley, the conflict reached a new level last week.
Teal Jones sought and received an injunction (since narrowed by the court) and filed a civil suit targeting environmental activists who have been speaking up to protect endangered rainforest in the Walbran Valley. Teal Jones’ legal hardball tactics are outrageous and deliberate attempts to stifle public debate and limit people’s ability to access public land and engage in legitimate, law-abiding activity.
The company and the provincial government should take the protest and the concerns of thousands of citizens seriously and seek a solution, not legal confrontation.
There is overwhelming public support to fully protect the remaining contiguous old-growth rainforest in the Walbran, the only unprotected area with this level of intactness remaining on Southern Vancouver Island. There is also overwhelming evidence that the Walbran Valley represents a unique opportunity to protect a larger intact old-growth area on Vancouver Island, with very high species habitat and carbon values, in an area with fragile karst features that should be safeguarded.
“Ongoing inaction by the B.C. government regarding the Walbran Valley is putting outstanding ecological values at risk, while compromising our ability to resolve conflict over resource management in a collaborative manner,” said Sierra Club BC’s forest and biodiversity campaigner Mark Worthing.
“Government inaction undermines both environmental and economic interests. People of conscience feel they are not being heard and have been left with nowhere else to turn. It is time for the B.C. government to seek solutions and de-escalate the situation.”
Sierra Club BC is joining other environmental organizations and thousands of citizens who have called on the BC government to:
- Rescind the permit for cutblock 4424
- Seek lasting protection for the 485 hectare Central Walbran Ancient Forest in a manner that respects First Nations rights and interests; and,
- Assist Teal-Jones with discontinuing old-growth logging and transitioning to second-growth forestry.
Forests & Biodiversity Campaigner, Sierra Club BC
Featured image by Rachel Grigg