VIDEO: Old growth forest counter-rallies converge on the streets of Island city

Carl Sweet (left) speaks with Rod Burns before the march from Logger Mike to MLA Michele Babchuk’s office in Campbell River. The men were from two different sides of the issue of old growth logging in B.C. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River MirrorCarl Sweet (left) speaks with Rod Burns before the march from Logger Mike to MLA Michele Babchuk’s office in Campbell River. The men were from two different sides of the issue of old growth logging in B.C. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror
A strong showing from people who support the forest industry co-opted a protest against logging old growth trees on Vancouver Island that was planned for downtown Campbell River June 10. Photo by Marc Kitteringham/Campbell River Mirror
Rod Burns brings up the rear of the pro-Old Growth side of the demonstration. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River MirrorRod Burns brings up the rear of the pro-Old Growth side of the demonstration. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror
The event started as an old growth protection march. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River MirrorThe event started as an old growth protection march. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror
The two sides met at the MLA’s office in downtown Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River MirrorThe two sides met at the MLA’s office in downtown Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror
The two sides were intermingled in front of MLA Michele Babchuk’s office in downtown Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River MirrorThe two sides were intermingled in front of MLA Michele Babchuk’s office in downtown Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror
City of Campbell River councillors Ron Kerr and Kermit Dahl demonstrate for the pro-industry side. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River MirrorCity of Campbell River councillors Ron Kerr and Kermit Dahl demonstrate for the pro-industry side. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror
City of Campbell River councillors Charlie Cornfield, Colleen Evans, Ron Kerr, Kermit Dahl and Sean Smyth demonstrate for the pro-industry side of the old growth logging debate. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River MirrorCity of Campbell River councillors Charlie Cornfield, Colleen Evans, Ron Kerr, Kermit Dahl and Sean Smyth demonstrate for the pro-industry side of the old growth logging debate. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror
City of Campbell River councillors Charlie Cornfield, Colleen Evans, Ron Kerr, Kermit Dahl and Sean Smyth stand in support of industry in front of a group of environmentalist protesters in downtown Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River MirrorCity of Campbell River councillors Charlie Cornfield, Colleen Evans, Ron Kerr, Kermit Dahl and Sean Smyth stand in support of industry in front of a group of environmentalist protesters in downtown Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror
City of Campbell River councillors Charlie Cornfield, Colleen Evans, Ron Kerr, Kermit Dahl and Sean Smyth showed their support for the forestry industry in front of the MLA’s office in downtown Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River MirrorCity of Campbell River councillors Charlie Cornfield, Colleen Evans, Ron Kerr, Kermit Dahl and Sean Smyth showed their support for the forestry industry in front of the MLA’s office in downtown Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham / Campbell River Mirror

Both sides of the old growth logging issue came to a head in Campbell River on Thursday morning.

What was originally going to be a small demonstration against logging old growth in solidarity with the campers at Fairy Creek, expanded as a counter-protest of pro-forest industry supporters who came out in numbers.

While both sides were adamant in their convictions, the majority acknowledged that there needed to be a middle ground struck between the two camps.

RELATED: Arrests continue to mount despite paused old growth logging on southern Vancouver Island

“We’re not deforestation, we practice forestry,” said Carl Sweet, who had come out in support of the industry.

Sweet was speaking with Rod Burns, who supported stopping old growth logging. Burns explained his side, saying: “We’re not against logging, we’re against current forestry practices.”

“You have a sign that says ‘Forestry Feeds My Family,’” he continued. “Well forestry feeds ALL families.”

Both convoys made their way from the Logger Mike statue in Spirit Square to MLA Michele Babchuk’s office. Babchuk was not present in Campbell River at the time. A sizeable contingent from the forestry side of the debate brought two logging trucks, along with a large number of demonstrators to counter protest.

City councillors Charlie Cornfield, Kermit Dahl, Ron Kerr, Sean Smyth and Colleen Evans were present, with City of Campbell River-branded placards proclaiming their support for the industry.

While tensions did not boil over into violence, many demonstrators from either side argued and debated their points in the street in front of Babchuk’s office. The old growth protectors took up the space in front of Babchuk’s office, while the counter protesters stood in the street in front of the building. The two logging trucks were parked in front of the office for some time, but moved on to allow traffic to flow.

However, not everyone was in agreement. Charlie Forrester came out in support of logging, said that “in my opinion, environmentalists have no place at the table.”

“Until they stop all this with the harassment, intimidation and threats of violence, they have no place at the table,” he added.

Richard Hagensen, from the old growth defence side, said, “It’s really important to say that we’re not against logging. We’re against old growth logging. There’s lots of second growth and third growth that can be logged. It will involve building more sawmills… to process that lumber here.

“We’re in the hands of a small handful of large logging companies that are basically ruling the roost and in charge of most of the logging in B.C. Things have to change.”

Hagensen, a representative of the Campbell River Council of Canadians chapter, left a letter at Babchuk’s office calling on the government to defer logging in all high productivity, rare and intact old growth forest.

After roughly an hour, the two protests ended and people dispersed.

RELATED: Pro-forestry supporters move in on anti-old-growth logging rally



marc.kitteringham@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Campbell RiverforestryNewsprotest

Just Posted

Chemainus Indigenous Peoples Weekend organizer Connie Crocker. (Photo submitted)
Chemainus Indigenous Peoples Weekend online June 19-21

Event’s been in the planning stages since February without knowing COVID implications

Rick Ruppenthal of Saltair will host a 12-hour talk-a-thon Friday, June 18 over Facebook live. (Photo submitted)
Talk-a-thon to focus on men’s mental health issues

Saltair man spearheading a campaign to generate more conversation during fundraiser

Julie Nygaard’s By Moonlight Raven Flight is one of the photo-artist works in her show Through My Eyes – A Visual Journey, which will be featured at Rainforest Arts through August. (Photo submitted)
Photographer-painter Nygaard featured at Rainforest Arts

Real images enhanced through digital means to create compelling art

Filming of The Baker’s Son in Chemainus. (File photo by Don Bodger)
Bread-making brilliance and mediocrity the recipe for movie ingredients

Willow Street on the map as a prominent location in The Baker’s Son

The return of Community Policing will be a welcome addition by residents. (File photo by Don Bodger)
Return of Community Policing in the works

Volunteers being sought and coordinators to be announced soon

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Flowers and candles were laid on the driveway of the Weber home, where Kerri Weber was found dead in November 2020. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria man to stand trial for death of his wife last November

Ken Weber is charged with second-degree murder of his wife, Kerri Weber

The discovery of a missing woman’s body in Nanaimo earlier this month is now being treated as homicide, say Nanaimo RCMP. (File photo)
Discovery of woman’s body in downtown Nanaimo now being investigated as a homicide

Amy Watts was found dead near Albert Street and Victoria Crescent on June 3

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

Ocean debris is shown on Long Beach in Tofino, B.C. on April, 18, 2012. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Shoreline cleanup finds COVID-related trash increased during height of the pandemic

Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup reports litter from single-use food packaging nearly doubled

Doctor David Vallejo and his fiancee Doctor Mavelin Bonilla hold photos of themselves working, as they kiss at their home in Quito, Ecuador, Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Doctor Vallejo and Doctor Bonilla suspended their wedding in order to tend to COVID-19 patients and in the process Vallejo got sick himself with the disease, ending up in an ICU for several days. (AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa)
Love, sacrifice and surviving COVID-19: one couple’s story

COVID hits Ecuadorian doctors who delayed wedding to treat sick

The Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society, which has been operating a treatment centre on land leased from the Nanoose First Nation for 35 years (pictured), has begun a fundraising campaign to open a new centre near Duncan. (Tsow-Tun Le Lum Society photo)
New residential school healing centre to be built near Duncan

$5-million Indigenous treatment centre will help survivors of residential schools heal

Most Read