One week until Fairy Creek deferral expires; B.C. Greens call for action

June 01, 2023

VICTORIA B.C. – B.C. Green candidate for Langford-Juan de Fuca Camille Currie is raising serious concerns about the fate of Fairy Creek in advance of the expiry of a deferral on logging introduced in 2021. Fairy Creek, the last unlogged old-growth valley on southern Vancouver Island (outside of parks), is located in Langford-Juan de Fuca where Currie’s by-election is taking place. The deferral expires one week from today on June 8th.

In 2021, the deferral of old-growth logging at Fairy Creek on Vancouver Island was celebrated by the B.C. NDP despite their perpetual inaction to protect old-growth forests. The B.C. NDP promised implementation of the recommendations of the Old Growth Strategic Review by 2023, but they have made little progress, with 55% of B.C.’s at-risk old growth still open for logging.

“We need to see that the government is taking old-growth protection seriously,” said Currie. “The new set of forest protection measures announced in February only provide vague timelines and no immediate protection measures. The B.C. NDP continues to cherry-pick data that appears to show they are making progress, when in reality, much of B.C.’s most at-risk areas of old-growth are still open for logging. It is our responsibility as British Columbians to protect these vital ecosystems today and for future generations, but the government continues to place short-term value on a non-renewable resource over the health of the environment and the future of our province. Coupled with the impending expiry of Fairy Creek’s deferral, we should be deeply concerned about the B.C. NDP’s government’s mismanagement of this ancient forest and others.”

“We need cohesive management that includes conservation financing,” said party leader Sonia Furstenau. “First Nations are being made to choose between revenue from logging on their territory, or no logging and no benefit. This is a very difficult and unfair position to be put in by the B.C. NDP. Instead of more deferrals that are not actually protecting forests, the government needs to give First Nations and forestry companies an incentive to leave old-growth alone, so that everybody wins.”

Deferrals are supposed to give the government time to work with First Nations to make plans for sustainable forest management, a key recommendation from the Old Growth Strategic Review. In one week, the 2021 deferral will expire and Fairy Creek will be open for logging again, without a plan for the future of the forest. 

“Instead of deferring logging year after year, we need to see commitment to sustainable forest practices that will preserve these ecosystems for years to come,” Currie added. “Old-growth forests are a vital carbon sink and an irreplaceable habitat for many endangered species, such as the Spotted Owl. As the climate crisis worsens, we need transparency from the government around what measures they are taking to protect the forests, if any.”

“The B.C. NDP needs to take action to rebuild public trust when it comes to old-growth,” added Adam Olsen, MLA for Saanich North and the Islands. “Fairy Creek was the largest act of civil disobedience in Canadian history, right in the former-Premier’s own backyard. It’s appalling. The B.C. NDP have shown where their priorities are. They pay lip service to protecting the environment while they destroy irreplaceable old growth and ramp up fracking to feed their nascent LNG dreams. We will keep holding them accountable for breaking their promises.”

“The government doesn’t seem to understand that these forests are not replaceable,” said Furstenau. “Once cut, they will never grow back to the same size and efficiency. Many endangered species will go extinct when their habitat disappears. If that happens, it will be an immeasurable loss to British Columbia, to Canada and to the world. We don’t want to see a British Columbia without old-growth forests and with the climate crisis worsening every day – we can’t afford to.”

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