B.C. approves First Nations' request to defer old-growth logging for two years

BC Premier John Horgan says a commitment to UNDRIP means his government will respect the call of Three First Nations in southern Vancouver Island to stop old-growth logging on their traditional territories until a forest management plan is developed.

VICTORIA — British Columbia has approved the request of three First Nations that want old-growth logging deferred for two years in their territories, including at the site of ongoing protests and arrests.

Premier John John Horgan says the province has taken a transformative step in respecting the nations' land-management rights as part of its commitment to align policies with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The move is also in line with the government's adoption last year of recommendations of an independent panel, starting with the deferral of nearly 200,000 hectares of old-growth forests.

Leaders of three First Nations on southwestern Vancouver Island issued a declaration calling for old-growth logging to be temporarily deferred in two areas, including at the site of ongoing protests and arrests.

The Huu-ay-aht, Ditidaht and Pacheedaht hereditary and elected chiefs said they gave notice to the province last weekend indicating they want old-growth logging deferred for two years in the Fairy Creek area near Port Renfrew, as well as the central Walbran area.

The RCMP's latest update has 194 arrests at Fairy Creek since police began enforcing an injunction issued by the court that would allow the logging firm Teal-Jones Group to resume its work.

Teal-Jones said Monday that it would abide by the nations' declaration and would engage with them as they developed their forest management plans.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 9, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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