New roads recently constructed by Teal-Jones reaching the ridge line of the Fairy Creek watershed, the last unlogged, intact valley on southern Vancouver Island. Photo courtesy, T J Watt.

Southern Vancouver Island’s old-growth protest enters fourth week counting three blockades

Provincial government's silence 'ominous' and 'worrisome' say Port Renfrew protesters

  • Aug. 31, 2020 12:00 a.m.

An ongoing protest against old-growth logging in Port Renfrew has moved into its fourth week and now boast three blockades.

A group of “forest defenders” launched action on Aug. 10, to prevent Teal Jones Group’s construction crews from building a road to the Fairy Creek Watershed, which the call the last intact unlogged old-growth of Southern Vancouver Island’s San Juan River system.

READ MORE: Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

READ MORE: Protesters showcase massive old yellow cedar as Port Renfrew area forest blockade continues

On Aug. 16 the second blockade was established east of the Fairy Creek watershed. The following week, on Aug. 23, a third blockade was set up on a logging road on Edinburgh mountain – home to the famed old-growth Douglas-fir tree, ‘Big Lonely Doug.’

Protesters have still received no response from provincial authorities or Teal Jones.

“The province’s silence is ominous,” said Dr. Saul Arbess, the spokesperson for the growing group on-site, members of which have come from all over Vancouver Island.

“In the past when protests of such scale took place in the province, there’s always been a response from the government, but it’s worrisome that neither government nor the company has responded,” said Arbess.

Protesters had called on B.C. Premier John Horgan’s office to establish an immediate and permanent protection of Fairy Creek Valley. They had also asked the province to release the recommendations of the Old Growth Forest Review Panel submitted to the Forest Minister, Doug Donaldson’s office.

“There’s something going on, it’s like the logging company has been tipped off and they’ve been told ‘don’t worry your interest is not going to be affected’,” he said.

Arbess also called BC’s NDP government “worse than the Liberals” in their failure to heed ongoing calls for old-growth protection.

Neither Teal Jones nor the government have responded to Black Press Media requests for interviews.

Campbell River Mirror