Letter to the editor.

Perspectives on protesters and old growth requires clarification

Those opposed to logging at Fairy Creek don’t want forest industry shut down

In a letter published Oct. 14 (Be careful what you wish for) M. Gravelle makes several statements I think can be viewed from a different perspective.

Do people opposed to logging at Fairy Creek want to ‘shut down’ the forest industry?

No. Most want to preserve one of the few remaining intact old growth forests in B.C., and see the forest industry continue in a sustainable, responsible way on the 73 per cent of the province that has already been logged.

Do more sustainable forest practices necessarily lead to increased government debt and economic decline?

No. Forestry will remain an important part of B.C.’s economy, but for the province to prosper it also has to successfully establish itself in the ‘new economies’, especially those that have to do with transitioning to a sustainable future.

Will tourism continue to be an important part of B.C.’s economy?

Yes. About 161,500 people are employed in the tourist industry – up 4.3 per cent from 2017 – and more than 19,000 tourism businesses operate in British Columbia. That compares to about 100,000 direct and indirect jobs created by the forest industry. As Gravelle points out, more environmentally sustainable ways of getting tourists to and from their destinations have to be found.

Is the affordable housing shortage in B.C. caused by or likely to be worsened by measures that would protect B.C.’s remaining old-growth forests?

No. Poverty and affordable housing are complex issues, which have worsened in the past decades throughout Canada, not just B.C. As for the suggestion that preserving old growth forests will result in increased costs for imported building materials, B.C. exports enough raw logs annually to build tens of thousands of homes.

Can logging old-growth forests be considered part of a ‘renewable industry’?

No. It takes at least 250 years for Coastal forests to be considered ‘old growth’ – more time than industrial logging has been at work in B.C. Once these forests are gone, they will never return, nor will the habitat diversity they support.

Craig Spence,

Chemainus

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