For those following the logging in the Carmanah-Walbran old growth forest, here is a press release from the Wilderness Committee.
Environmentalist disappointed with new Walbran Valley injunction
Wilderness Committee concerned court order terms are too broad, discourage lawful activity
VICTORIA – Logging company Teal Jones obtained a new injunction against protesters in the Walbran Valley in a BC Supreme Court hearing yesterday. The injunction came into effect at midnight last night and will expire on March 31st, rather than in September as the company had requested.
The injunction now includes 50-metre “bubble zones,” which limit public access in areas around logging activity, equipment and work crews. The Wilderness Committee feels that this is meant to discourage members of the public from witnessing the logging of these ancient forests, taking photographs and engaging in other lawful activities.
“Teal Jones knows that it’s on the wrong side of public opinion by cutting down thousand-year-old trees,” said Torrance Coste, Vancouver Island Campaigner for the Wilderness Committee. “This injunction might scare people away from going to the Walbran Valley to see the ancient forest, and it could chill public discussion about the logging and civil disobedience that has been occurring in the area.”
The Wilderness Committee – represented in court by Ecojustice – didn’t attempt to have the injunction rejected but sought to limit its length and scope.
The Wilderness Committee only participates in lawful activities, which aren’t prohibited under the injunction. The organization plans to increase its work to protect the Walbran.
“We’ll continue to monitor the Valley, take photographs and bring people in to see this world-class ecosystem up close,” Coste explained. “Teal Jones’ own lawyers told the court there is nothing wrong with citizens being in the Walbran in accordance with the injunction, so we encourage people to get up there, conduct themselves lawfully and witness what’s happening.”
Teal Jones began logging in the area in November 2015, and received its first of four injunctions on November 24th. Yesterday was the company’s second failed attempt to extend the injunction to mid-September.
“As recent reports show, changes the BC government made to forestry laws largely hand control of BC’s forests to logging companies,” said Devon Page, Executive Director of Ecojustice. “If the government doesn’t fulfill its obligation to steward our forests, the public must, and this case is about us defending the right of the public to do just that.”
Since learning of Teal Jones’ plans to target the Central Walbran in May 2015, the Wilderness Committee has visited the valley regularly to document the rare ancient forest and monitor logging activity, and has launched a public awareness campaign for the protection of the Walbran.
“This court battle has only come about because of the complete lack of leadership from our provincial government,” said Coste. “We need a legislated solution to this crisis and the Minister of Forests simply can’t continue to disregard the destruction of BC’s old-growth forests.”
So far, Premier Christy Clark, Forest Minister Steve Thomson and Environment Minister Mary Polak have ignored over 7,000 letters from citizens asking them to protect the Walbran.
The Central Walbran Valley is in the unceded territory of the Pacheedaht First Nation.
- Original release from the Wilderness Committee
- Order of Madam Justice Power dated January 4, 2016 (PDF)
- 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