Premier John Horgan says the province has taken a transformative step in respecting the nations’ land-management rights as part of its commitment to align policies with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The move is also in line with the government’s adoption last year of recommendations of an independent panel, starting with the deferral of logging in nearly 200,000 hectares of old-growth forests.
Leaders of three First Nations on southwestern Vancouver Island issued a declaration calling for old-growth logging to be temporarily deferred in two areas, including at the site of ongoing protests and arrests.
The Huu-ay-aht, Ditidaht and Pacheedaht hereditary and elected chiefs said they gave notice to the province last weekend indicating they wanted a two-year moratorium on old-growth logging in the Fairy Creek area near Port Renfrew, and in the central Walbran area.
In a statement issued June 7, the First Nations said they were “committed to developing and implementing world-class integrated resource management plans” that draw on the teachings of ancestors, the wisdom of elders and input from citizens and valued partners.
The RCMP’s latest update had 194 arrests at Fairy Creek since police began enforcing an injunction issued by the court that would allow the logging firm Teal-Jones Group to resume its work.
Teal-Jones said Monday that it would abide by the nations’ declaration and would engage with them as they developed their forest management plans.