Rights to forest access denied

Letter: Are our leaders asleep at the switch?

Editor:

Are our leaders asleep at the switch?

I live on Vancouver Island and was raised in a small logging town called Chemainus. In our youth, the entire community had access to, and used the lakes, rivers and mountains directly behind the town, the area known as Copper Canyon. Being from Chemainus had its advantages: we swam in the clear waters of the Chemainus River, we fished Reinhart Lake and, yes, we hunted the hills for grouse and deer.

In the last few months a noticeable change has taken place in Copper Canyon and, as I am told, in similar areas across the Island. The public is being denied access. The security guard who monitored access is no longer there to wave us through; instead, there is a locked gate.

When my brother and I tried to go hunting in the Canyon in September, we discovered we were locked out. We were angry. Timber companies don’t own the lakes, rivers and crown lands beyond those gates, and they were granted huge tax concessions, through reduced stumpage fees etc., to build the logging roads they now claim as theirs alone.

A similar lock-out in Sooke, which denied public access to a beach the community had used for generations, raised such a stink when the issue hit the Times Colonist, that the signs were removed and access reinstated.

What’s going on across the Island might be more forgivable if the companies that once created so many jobs, which supported workers and families, were still investing in our communities, but they aren’t. A machine called a feller-buncher now rips through the woods and gobbles up logs, which are trucked to the ocean, loaded onto freighers and shipped elsewhere for processing.

Another example of appropriation is the ENR which stands for Esquimalt and Nanaimo Railway. It was granted huge tracts to run passenger service from Victoria to Courtenay in perpetuity. I know, because I was a conductor on the line. Rail service is no longer being offered, but the lands granted to run the railway are still held by corporations, now Timber West and Timberlands.

There is no more passenger service, but these lands are still held privately. And the salt on the wound is that public access to our local forest land is being denied. How about restricting access to public roads to these companies, or at least charging a fee for their running trucks on public property.

Doug IrvingSaltair

 

 

Just Posted

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Waterfront Gallery ends 2019 with Christmas themed members show

Over 70 artists are on display for the Christmas exhibiton at Davis Road School

Paul Manly votes against first Liberal confidence vote ‘based on principle’

Manly was the only opposition party member outside the Conservative party to vote against Bill C-2

ILWU Local 508 organized toy drive to support families impacted by WFP strike

The toy drive raised over $2,500 in cash, over $1,000 in gift cards, and a big pile of toys

VIDEO: More air-passenger rights go into effect this weekend

The first set of passenger rights arrived in mid-July in Canada

Swoop airlines adds three destinations in 2020 – Victoria, Kamloops, San Diego

Low-fair subsidiary of WestJet Airlines brings new destinations in April 2020

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Transportation Safety Board finishes work at B.C. plane crash site, investigation continues

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Trudeau sets 2025 deadline to remove B.C. fish farms

Foes heartened by plan to transition aquaculture found in Fisheries minister mandate letter

Wagon wheels can now be any size! B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Indigenous mother wins $20,000 racial discrimination case against Vancouver police

Vancouver Police Board ordered to pay $20,000 and create Indigenous-sensitivity training

Sentencing for B.C. father who murdered two young daughters starts Monday

The bodies of Aubrey, 4, and Chloe, 6, were found in Oak Bay father’s apartment Dec. 25, 2017

B.C. vet talks tips for winter travel with pets

Going to see the vet the day before a trip is never a good idea

Most Read