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Squamish environmentalists protest Fairy Creek logging

Premier John Horgan's deferral of logging is insufficient: local activists

About a dozen Squamish locals raised placards in solidarity with the Fairy Creek forest protests at noon on June 10.

The proposed logging of the old-growth forest in Fairy Creek, Central Walbran, an area in  Vancouver Island, has sparked widespread opposition from environmental advocates.

Throughout the past several weeks, at least 185 protesters were arrested in the Fairy Creek area.

In Squamish, an independently organized local event was timed to coincide with Stand Earth's day of action for old-growth forests.

One of the co-organizers, Nick Gottlieb, said that while Premier John Horgan had just announced a deferral of logging the previous day, it fell far short of what activists have been asking for.

"Those deferrals actually didn't even defer all the old-growth logging in the Walbran or Fairy Creek. They only deferred a small portion of that," said Gottlieb.

"It's a good step forward but it's also two orders, maybe even three orders of magnitude smaller than the deferrals called for by last year's old-growth strategic review report. So we're standing in solidarity with the people in Fairy Creek, but we're also calling for the Horgan government to implement the policy that their own report called for and that they've committed to multiple times over the last year."

He said that the protesters are demanding that the provincial government make the deferrals that the review called for. They are also asking the province to come up with a sustainable plan moving forward.

The report calls for immediate deferral of development in old forests where ecosystems are at very high and near-term risk of irreversible biodiversity loss.

"Deferrals that happened yesterday are a positive step, but they're a really small one, and...they don't signal that this government is taking meaningful system-wide action on old growth," said Gottlieb.

Also on June 10, Squamish Nation announced it had formally given notice to the province to defer old-growth logging for two years on the Nation’s 690,000 hectares. This will allow the Nation to develop long-term sustainability plans, a release from the Nation stated.  "78,000 hectares of the Nation’s old-growth forest are at risk unless the province immediately halts new clear cuts," the statement reads.