Island business owners rally to protest Texada clear-cuts

March 26, 2017

In the end — as is probably the case in most communities, especially small ones– almost everyone on Salt Spring Island was on one side or the other when it came to the threat of the Texada company’s clear-cut of ten percent of the island’s trees.

The following article focusses on business owners who were opposed to the clear-cut. It should be noted that a fair number of those who operate businesses on the island come from left-leaning hippy roots and none of the businesses are huge corporations.

That said, here is the piece I wrote about it:

Gulf Islands Driftwood

Wednesday, March 1, 2000

Island business owners rally to protest Texada clear-cuts

by Tanya Lester

When it comes to who’s who in the protesters against clear-cutting camp, the Salt Spring dress code of jeans, rain gear and gumboots has apparently blurred economic backgrounds and confused at least one logger.

“Welfare bums” was a label hurled at Salt Spring Soapworks owners Linda Quiring and Bill Goddu as they stood next to attorney Brian Lercher and an island doctor last Monday among protesters camped on Mount Tuam.

The group was occupying Crown land that Texada Land Corporation (TLC) was using without an access permit.

Quiring said their response was, “Hey, hey, we got jobs.”

She added that she doesn’t know anyone who is in support of the clear-cutting, and she has been talking about it “constantly” to people she knows.

Her passion for the trees stems from the two decades she has spent hiking on the island. It has become a family tradition for the 27-year-middle-class resident, whose grandson was taken on his first hike at just two weeks old.

“Those woods are our backyards,” she said. “We don’t want to see our way of life disappear.”

Quiring said she felt sick to her stomach when she witnessed ting he clear-cutting beside the protesters’ camp last week.

She fears a “stump village” is developing and has seen remains of trees being harvested that are only six-to-eight inches in diameter.

“People ask me, ‘What’s the big deal?`'”, she said. “Texada’s always logged. But the former owners would cut a few trees, clean up and re-plant. Nothing like this ( the present clear-cutting) has even happened on Salt Spring.”

Quiring has been up to the Mount Tuam area that has been clear-cut by TLC near the Buddhist monastery. “It looks like a nuclear war zone,” she said.

The hiking enthusiast has also seen that the area clear-cut by Murray Cyprus a dozen years ago has never grown back and has seen earth erosion there.

Quiring’s business sense also causes her concern for the island’s tourist industry.

Lercher has the same concern and is opposed to any clear-cutting on the island. He fears Salt Spring will end up looking like a huge parking lot in a suburb if legislation is not put in place to protect the island’s natural beauty.

The attorney believes the Islands Trust mandate should be examined to determine if the Trust could enact anti-clear-cutting laws. Then, a plebiscite should be called to find out how many islanders support legislation that would alter logging practices.

Lercher said whichever level of government is responsible for legislation changes concerning the environment should be lobbied.

Agricultural businessman Jim Proctor also has concern for a demise in the island’s beauty and points out that TLC property is right along the Fulford-Ganges Road route that most visitors travel on when they come to the island.

Proctor said TLC’s “headlong rush” logging cannot be excused by the fact that they are private property owners of the land.

There is a difference between not wanting laws to infringe on private property when you own a one-to-10-acre lot as compared to owning 10 per cent of Salt Spring land, he said.

Proctor said TLC property size puts it in the realm of being a public policy issue and that provincial government legislation should change to protect public interest.

An area that size could provide jobs for generations if sustainable logging practices were adhered to, he said. There is also the question of environmental erosion and biodiversity, besides the beauty of the area.

Many people, including Proctor, Goddu and Quiring have been donating food and supplies in support of those camping on the Crown land road. “It’s been cold up there,” said Quiring. “I see women sort of like myself camping overnight. They have said thank you to me for bringing up the food but I say thank youto them for what they are doing.”

Hal Stone has been doing his part to oppose what he calls the TLC “scalping ceremony” by volunteering four hours a week at the land acquisition information office now set up above Barb’s Buns.

He has also been writing letters to politicians, including Sheila Copps, federal minister of Canadian heritage, whose portfolio includes national parks.

Stone explained that Copps’ response to his letter was unsatisfactory to him. It took the position that because TLC land is in the process of being clear-cut, it is no longer pristine and it is only the pristine Canadian wilderness that the minister is interested in conserving, he said.

In general, Stone is frustrated by what he sees as TLC subterfuge and government inaction on all levels concerning the issue.

“We’ve got three levels of government and none of them seems to know what they are doing,” said Stone.

“I’m not a tree hugger,” he said. “I’m just against the big guy tromping on the little guy.”

–END–

Tanya’s books are Confessions of a Tea Leaf Reader and Friends I Never Knew (both available from amazon.com or the author) as well as Dreams and Tricksters; and Women Rights/Writes. All of her books are in some library systems.

To read more of the wide variety of posts on this blog, go to writingsmall.wordpress.com and tealeaf56.wordpress.com

Tanya does tea leaf reading and tarot and is also a reiki master and fulltime house sitter. To learn more, go to her web site at teareading.wordpress.com or her pages on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Goggle. To contact her directly, email her at tealeaf.56@gmail.com or call her cell phone at 250-538-0086.

 

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