Re: ‘Logging legal near marsh’, Feb. 3 edition of The NEWS.
The Vancouver Island Wetlands Institute recently stated that natural wetlands comprise only 5.6 per cent in all of B.C. and only 1.7 per cent of East Vancouver Island. Further, “…it becomes poignantly clear that those wetlands remaining on Vancouver Island need protection.”
Of these few but disproportionately important wetlands in B.C., more than 70 per cent have already been lost to development and logging. Granted, we all need to live somewhere and we all use timber products but where and how we build and where and how logging occurs is of enormous importance. We as members of our communities and our elected leaders must address these two issues for the greater good.
Presently, the “business as usual” logging of what remains of the greater Hamilton Marsh forested wetlands is one more instance of local, national, and worldwide destruction of sensitive and environmentally valuable vanishing wetlands. Many in our local communities are outraged over the continued destruction of remaining nearby wetlands which provide “free” environmental services to the watersheds in which they lie.
Water in our area is already a major issue and we can measure the negative impacts of damage done to our watersheds over the years. While better than in times past, unfortunately, under the current “letter of the law” (ref: The Managed Forests on Private Lands Act), little real protection for wetlands and forested wetland ecosystems is provided. The current law appears to favour private logging companies’ “rights” over environmental realities and local/regional concerns.
Changing demographics, greater environmental awareness and the expectations of communities on Vancouver Island require something better than the “business as usual” approach of private timber companies. These companies are not ignorant of the concerns expressed, but are motivated by profit and not usually by the common good. One cannot deny reasonable profit, but to further damage rare and sensitive forested wetlands like the approximately 35 ha parcel containing a five-hectare marsh and a half dozen other wetland areas smacks of greed.