Rivers Day in Qualicum Beach was more than a celebration of the importance of B.C. rivers this year. It was also a call to action to protect them.
The Western Canada Wilderness Committee’s mid-Island chapter is celebrating the federal and provincial government’s recognition of International and National Forest Week by launching a petition to incrase the protected areas on East Vancouver Island at Sunday’s annual B.C. Rivers Day celebration at the Little Qualicum River.
“The east coast of Vancouver Island is the front door to international and local visitors traveling to see the world famous Cathedral Grove,” said Annette Tanner, the group’s spokesperson. “We are in incredible danger of losing one fifth of Vancouver Island to logging and development, as little protected areas exist here in the E&N lands, due to the federal government’s giving away of one fifth of the Island to build the railroad for Confederation in the late 1800s.”
Tanner said the petition is calling on the federal nad provincial governments to immediately assist the East Vancouver Island municipal and regional governments in increasing the present two per cent protected areas on the E&N lands to match the 13 per cent protected areas in the rest of the province.
“Ecosystems such as the Coastal Douglas-fir forests along east Vancouver Island are already identified by government as being on the brink of extinction,” Tanner said. “Creating, protecting and restoring wildlife corridors requires immediate action.”
Petitions are available online at www.wildernesscommittee.org.
Also speaking at the event was Qualicum Beach Mayor Teunis Westbroek, who praised the committee for all their hard work to protect local rivers.