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LETTER to MLA Anderson: no time for lengthy old growth consultations

From reader Sandra Hartline

Re: Forest, reconciliation and more work to be done, June 24

I find this report concerning.

Ms. Anderson states, “The forest industry needs to be updated, and Indigenous communities who have been ignored since before Canada became a nation need to have their voices heard. This is critical reconciliation work and it is exactly the work we are doing.”

Unfortunately, there’s an overarching issue here, which is vital to our collective well being.

Of course the NDP needs to listen to all voices and of course Indigenous First Nations need to be heard. But B.C.’s rarest forest ecosystems are fast disappearing and if the government doesn’t act immediately to ban logging in key old growth ancient forests, they will be lost forever. Consultation with First Nations could take time, even years, and time is what we don’t have.

It is heartening to read that Nelson ecologist Rachel Holt has been named to the province’s new Old Growth Technical Advisory Panel, but even forestry minister Katrine Conroy admits that the panel is an advisory body only, and will not make any decisions about where and when logging will take place. Will the government in essence fiddle while Rome burns?

Ancient forests are vital for many reasons, including habitat, protecting water systems, storing carbon and biodiversity. As Ms. Holt herself has said, “We are losing biodiversity and we’re losing a phenomenal carbon store. We don’t have time to plant trees and wait 100 years.”

Sandra Hartline

Nelson