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B.C. deferring old-growth forestry in Fairy Creek and the Central Walbran for 2 years

Click to play video: 'B.C. will defer old-growth forestry in Fairy Creek and Central Walbran Valley for 2 years' B.C. will defer old-growth forestry in Fairy Creek and Central Walbran Valley for 2 years
Premier John Horgan announces the B.C. government will defer the harvesting of old-growth trees in the Fairy Creek watershed and the Central Walbran Valley for two years – Jun 9, 2021

The B.C. government is deferring the harvesting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek and the Central Walbran Valley for two years.

It comes following a request from the Huu-ay-aht, Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations to defer old-growth logging for two years in the areas of Vancouver Island while the nations prepare formal forestry plans.

This includes protecting about 2,000 hectares of forest from logging.

“We are doing things differently in British Columbia. This is not your grandparents’ forestry industry. It is your grandchildren’s forestry industry if we do this properly,” Horgan said.

Click to play video: 'Reaction to B.C. premier’s announcement to halt old-growth logging on Vancouver Island' Reaction to B.C. premier’s announcement to halt old-growth logging on Vancouver Island
Reaction to B.C. premier’s announcement to halt old-growth logging on Vancouver Island – Jun 9, 2021

Read more: First Nations tell B.C. to defer old growth logging on territories including Fairy Creek

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Protests have been ongoing at Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew over the harvesting of old-growth forests. The province has stated it is looking to the First Nations for guidance on how to create forestry and old growth policy.

More than 185 protesters have been arrested in the area since RCMP began enforcing a court injunction in mid-May, allowing forestry company Teal-Jones to log the area.

Teal Jones will not be compensated in the short-term for the two-year deferral.

Horgan said he hopes the agreement will end the protests.

Click to play video: 'First Nations call for deferral on old growth logging in Fairy Creek' First Nations call for deferral on old growth logging in Fairy Creek
First Nations call for deferral on old growth logging in Fairy Creek – Jun 7, 2021

“I am hopeful that those that have taken to the roads on southern Vancouver Island will understand that this is not a process that can take place overnight,” Horgan said.

“I have been in majestic forests and I understand the importance of saving them. I also understand you can’t turn on a dime (in) an industry that has been central to B.C. for more than a century.”

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In a declaration and demand for the deferral, the affected First Nations said they have been the last to benefit from what is taken out of the territory and the last to be asked what must be put back.

“Our three nations look forward to building a future based on respectful nation-to-nation relationships with other governments that are informed by Indigenous history, Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous rights and Indigenous priorities,” Pacheedaht First Nation Chief Councillor Jeff Jones said.

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