Councillor Rensby meets with provincial leaders

Discussing impacts of old growth deferral announcement

Many believe that the old growth deferral announcement will result in significant job loss in the forestry industry. (File photo/Lakes District News)

Many believe that the old growth deferral announcement will result in significant job loss in the forestry industry. (File photo/Lakes District News)

Village of Burns Lake Councillor Charlie Rensby made a trip to Victoria to voice his concerns over the deferrals of old growth logging with provincial members of legislation assembly (MLAs).

Rensby told Lakes District News that the goals of the trip were to meet with MLAs and government workers to try and gain information and to push community based forestry, to attend question periods when opposition MLAs asked the minister questions for Rensby, and to meet and plan with other people in the Stand Up B.C. forestry movement.

Rensby, who was accompanied by a delegation of forestry community members on the trip, hasn’t been shy about voicing his displeasure with the government’s recent announcement of old growth deferrals.

“There’s numerous sides of this legislation that upset me for different reasons. There’s the hypocrisy of it all, the ignorance. This will directly affect our ability to rehabilitate our forests, protect our homes from fires, feed our families, further reconciliation, diversify our economy, build infrastructure, all of which this legislation is intended to help,” he said.

“There’s the fact that we have been talking to the government and all of its panels for years about what we need to do with our forests, but in the end they didn’t listen to one bit of it and pushed this through. It feels like a stab in the back.”

According to Rensby, as a result of the discussions, B.C. Liberal MLAs are were much in favour of community based forest management, because almost all of them represent rural small communities. “They understand that communities want more than anyone to get the balance between economy and environment right, and they also look at examples of reconciliation through forestry like Chinook Community Forest,” said Rensby.

Opposition MLAs asked questions for Rensby along with others in the gallery, but Rensby says that the minister decided not to answer any of the questions and instead accused the conversation of being fear mongering.

After the trip, Rensby made a post to the local community via Facebook, to explain how his meetings went. In the post, he seemed cautiously optimistic about the future. “From my conversations with our forestry allies in the south we see a path forward to fight this. With the bills being passed our fight has certainly gotten harder but there is still a path nevertheless. This won’t be a fast fix, it’s going to take a lot of time, effort, and money to keep our communities in the forefront of the provincial consciousness ,” he said in the post.

According to Rensby, a rally is scheduled for Dec. 11 in Prince George to protest the deferrals, with plans to return to Victoria in the new year.

READ MORE: Impacts of old growth deferral on Burns Lake

READ MORE: Areas of exclusion for old growth deferral

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Eddie Huband
Multimedia Reporter
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