The B.C. government is deferring the harvesting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek and the Central Walbran Valley for two years.
It comes following a request from the Huu-ay-aht, Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations to defer old-growth logging for two years in the areas of Vancouver Island while the nations prepare formal forestry plans.
This includes protecting about 2,000 hectares of forest from logging.
“We are doing things differently in British Columbia. This is not your grandparents’ forestry industry. It is your grandchildren’s forestry industry if we do this properly,” Horgan said.
Protests have been ongoing at Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew over the harvesting of old-growth forests. The province has stated it is looking to the First Nations for guidance on how to create forestry and old growth policy.
More than 185 protesters have been arrested in the area since RCMP began enforcing a court injunction in mid-May, allowing forestry company Teal-Jones to log the area.
Teal Jones will not be compensated in the short-term for the two-year deferral.
Horgan said he hopes the agreement will end the protests.
“I am hopeful that those that have taken to the roads on southern Vancouver Island will understand that this is not a process that can take place overnight,” Horgan said.
“I have been in majestic forests and I understand the importance of saving them. I also understand you can’t turn on a dime (in) an industry that has been central to B.C. for more than a century.”
In a declaration and demand for the deferral, the affected First Nations said they have been the last to benefit from what is taken out of the territory and the last to be asked what must be put back.
“Our three nations look forward to building a future based on respectful nation-to-nation relationships with other governments that are informed by Indigenous history, Indigenous knowledge, Indigenous rights and Indigenous priorities,” Pacheedaht First Nation Chief Councillor Jeff Jones said.
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