–Media release, Ancient Forest Alliance
Historic Leap Forward for Old-Growth Forest Conservation – BC Chamber of Commerce Passes Resolution Calling on the Province to Expand Old-Growth Forest Protections
The BC Chamber of Commerce passed a resolution at its annual general meeting in Kelowna on May 30, 2016, calling on the provincial government to increase protection for the province’s old-growth forests. The resolution calls on the province to: “Support the increased protection of old-growth forests in areas of the province where they have or can likely have a greater net economic value for communities if they are left standing for the next generation and beyond.”
See the resolution here.
The resolution, passed almost unanimously, is a historic shift in the politics of old-growth forests in the province, where in years past the protection of old-growth forests was often thought to be detrimental to the economy and rural communities by much of the business community. The BC Chamber of Commerce’s resolution is part of a growing momentum among various Chambers of Commerce, including the Port Renfrew, Sooke, and WestShore Chambers of Commerce, and various town councils including the Victoria, Metchosin, and Tofino councils and the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities (AVICC), representing 51 coastal cities, towns, and regional districts, all calling for the protection of old-growth forests in recent months. See this link for more information.
This shift in the business community in favour of protecting old-growth forests – inconceivable a decade ago in the province – may be fostered by several factors: A growth in old-growth forest tourism in the province; the rapid expansion of the “green business” sector (eco-tourism, clean tech, organic agriculture, etc.); the increasing economic dominance of second-growth forests for the logging industry while old-growth forests have become scarce; closer cooperation between the environmental movement and tourism businesses; and a general growth in environmental awareness among consumers and business owners alike.
The BC Chamber of Commerce is the largest and most broadly-based business organization in British Columbia. Representing more than 125 Chambers of Commerce and Boards of Trade, and 36,000 businesses of every size, sector and region of the province, the BC Chamber of Commerce considers itself as the primary voice of business in BC.
“The publicity about old-growth forests near Port Renfrew in recent years has brought in a flood of visitors from Europe, the USA, Canada, and diverse countries. This has especially been true since the protection of the Avatar Grove in 2012. Big tree tourism has increased the total flow of dollars spent in Port Renfrew, in our rental accommodations, restaurants, grocery stores, and businesses in general. It has also greatly increased the property values in town. Along with sport fishing, old-growth forest tourism has become a staple of our local economy,” states Dan Hager, president of the Port Renfrew Chamber of Commerce which sponsored the resolution. “Visitors from around the world are also coming to see old-growth forests throughout much of the province. Given that the monumental stands of old-growth trees are a scarce commodity today for tourism, it makes business sense to protect them across the province in areas where they will benefit local communities.”
“The BC Chamber of Commerce’s resolution calling on the province to increase protection of old-growth forests is a tectonic shift in the province’s land use politics – it would’ve been inconceivable a decade ago. Times are changing, and so is the economy. Thanks to communities like Port Renfrew and Tofino, the narrative is quickly shifting from the belief that protecting old-growth forests is detrimental to rural communities, to the realization that protecting nearby old-growth forests greatly enhances and secures the economic future of communities,” stated Ken Wu, executive director of the Ancient Forest Alliance.
“Tourists are coming to see old-growth forests in BC, not clearcuts or tree plantations. Next only to the redwoods of California, the old-growth forests of British Columbia are the grandest forests on planet Earth, with trees as wide as living rooms and as tall as downtown skyscrapers. But time is running out and we need the province to break from their status quo policy of old-growth forest liquidation and to instead develop a new plan to protect our remaining old-growth forests to support tourism, endangered species, clean water, wild salmon, climate stability, and First Nations cultures, while ensuring a sustainable second-growth forest industsry”, stated TJ Watt, Ancient Forest Alliance photographer and campaigner.
- Photos of some of BC’s largest old-growth trees
- Spectacular photos of the Walbran Valley
- A recent Youtube clip using drone footage over the Central Walbran
- “Before and after” maps and stats of the southern coast’s old-growth forests
- Original media release here
- BC Chamber of Commerce Passes Resolution Calling on the Province to Expand Old-Growth Forest Protections
- Group seeks to share information on forestry corruption, collusion
- Log Watch launches, and starts counting
- NDP critical of increasing carbon emissions under Clark’s leadership
- Local business owner launches website and billboard, calling for a stop to old growth logging
- BC Liberals and NDP agree on the success of the Great Bear Rainforest agreement
- Sooke entrepreneur seeks to raise funds for Walbran awareness billboard on Pat Bay Highway
- Supreme court rules in favour of logging company Teal-Jones
- LETTER: Update on clear-cut logging of old growth at Carmanah/Walbran