A petition encouraging the protection of B.C.’s ‘working forest’ that began in Campbell River is gaining momentum. Black Press File Photo

North Island petition encouraging protection of B.C.’s ‘working forest’ gaining momentum

Will be presented to government during a rally on Feb. 18

A forestry petition encouraging the protection of B.C.’s “working forest” is gaining momentum in Campbell River and the North Island.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the petition had more than 3,100 signatures, said Carl Sweet, one of its champions.

Sweet is an equipment salesman in Campbell River and while he doesn’t handle logs directly, he’s worried about forestry’s future in the province.

“If forestry goes away, nothing will replace it,” he said. “There has to be a balance.”

The petition was started by Sweet and a group of concerned forestry professionals with roots in Campbell River and the North Island.

“The forests of B.C. are a renewable resource and we ask that the remaining harvestable land base be protected as ‘The Working Forest,’ to be defined and dedicated to the purpose of harvesting and economic activities for the sustainable future of our families, our communities and the province,” the petition said.

Steve Venus, a local falling contractor, is also a champion of the petition.

“My grandfather is on the wall here. I’m third generation. I’m very, very proud of that,” he said at one of the group’s recent meetings at his business. “I have a little guy at home that runs around with one of those little plastic power saws and a hard hat. He’s going to be a faller too one day and that’ll be four generations and it’s sustainable so he should be able to.”

Due to restrictions on how petitions can be presented to the B.C. government, it is circulating as a hard-copy document and not online.

Sweet said there are a number of businesses with the petition including Inland, Brandt Tractor, Associated Tire, Dogwood Pet Mart, Duncan Bay General Store, Popsey’s Restaurant and Ideal Cafe.

It will be presented to Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development during a rally planned for Feb. 18 at Parliament in Victoria.

Organizers are hoping to fill the lawn with thousands of people on Budget Day.

For more information about the petition or the rally, check out BC Forestry Alliance on Facebook.

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