Property owners have the right to log their property. They have the right to raze entire ecosystems. In spite of decades of evidence showing the devastating effects of clear-cut logging, unfortunately it’s still legal for people to strip their property to the skin.
Most of the Saanich Peninsula is already bare. But there are still some beautiful forests on the Southern Gulf Islands.
I first understood the vulnerability of these important forest lands few months ago, when a private property owner began clear cutting on Saltspring Island.
After some digging, I found out that currently there seems to be very little that can be done about it. It’s a frustrating response to give to people concerned about the loss of habitat.
Then I began receiving calls from Tsawout First Nation members notifying me that their First Nation was clear cutting reserve lands on Saturna Island.
It’s a clear-cut response to poor resource management … stop clear cutting
I cannot support either of these logging operations. This situation deeply saddens me. It is frustrating that there is so little protection for these lands.
I understand private property rights. And, I am well aware of the economic burden First Nations face and the scarce resources they have to deal with their challenges.
It has been, and will continue to be, a focus of my work with the provincial government and First Nations leaders to address the systemic, legislated poverty and inequity. It’s one of the driving forces that inspired me to run for provincial office.
I am also committed to putting an end to poor resource management practices, no matter who is responsible.
In the end, it comes down to decision making.
There are so few of these critical ecosystems still intact. We are going to have to make different decisions than we have made in the past. That includes the province, First Nations and private property owners.
Finally, it is time to put in place ways to protect these places. The air we breathe and the water we drink, depend on it.