Enviros Lay Down Hesquiat Ultimatum
Remember Clayoquot Sound? British Columbia Vancouver Island? Whatever side you were on get ready.
Who would have ever thought this could be re-visited. The Clayoquot Sound area is a UN Biosphere Reserve. At a time when British Columbia is counting logging losses in the billions this is unbelievable.
Published Date: 2008/7/24 0:10:00 Article ID : 4685 Audience : Default --> Version 1.00 Published Date: 2008/7/24 0:10:00 Reads : 39 -->
By Keven Drews
TOFINO —Environmentalists are giving two locally owned logging companies an ultimatum: cease logging plans in the intact watershed at Hesquiat Point Creek for two years by July 28 or face action.
Maryjka Mychajlowycz, a forest campaigner with the Friends of Clayoquot Sound, said she couldn’t elaborate on what action environmentalists would take, but in an interview with a Vancouver newspaper she said it could mean a return to the blockades of the early 1990s.
The FOCS already have already scheduled a rally against industrial threats in Clayoquot Sound for 12 p.m. Aug. 2 on Tofino’s Village Green.
“The intact valleys are our line in the sand,” said Mychajlowycz. “That’s our bottom line.”
Hesquiat Point Creek is located on the east side of Hesquiat Harbour, just north of Maquinna Provincial Park.
The two companies involved in the logging are MaMook Natural Resources Ltd., owned by local First Nations, and Coulson Forest Products, of Port Alberni.
Both companies operate in a joint venture.
The Westcoaster.ca called Ken Matthews, forestry manager for Coulson, as well as representatives of the Hesquiaht and Ahousaht First Nations but received no response by publication.
Mychajlowycz said the companies have already built one road into Hesquiat Point Creek, have stopped the construction of another road and have plans for a third.
She said logging has also finished in three nearby blocks in the Escalante area and is now taking place on both sides of Hesquiat Harbour.
She said the Hesquiat Point Creek is important because it is a smaller part of a larger intact forest.
“We are asking for a two-year cessation of any immediate plans,” she said.
Mychajlowycz said the two years would give environmental groups, First Nations and the province the chance to develop a “conservation solution” and secure funding resources for ecologically friendly economic opportunities.
Stephanie Goodwin, a Greenpeace spokesperson, said six environmental organizations, also including Forest Ethics, the Sierra Club, Western Canada Wilderness Committee and the Natural Resources Defense Council, are concerned about the plans.
She said media reports on Wednesday were unexpected because there was an “embargo” on the issue while environmental groups tried to reach a solution with MaMook and Coulson.
“This adds extra pressure to it,” she said.
Goodwin said Greenpeace has tried unsuccessful to meet with Coulson for the past nine months and now feels like it has few other options.
She said every logging company has respected the pristine areas of Clayoquot Sound for the past 15 years.
“This logging of pristine areas directly undermines that.”
If environmentalist and logging companies can’t agree on a solution, Goodwin said the provincial government can always step up to the plate.