(Fairy Creek Yellow Cedar photo courtesy of Ancient Forest Alliance)

The BC government announced Wednesday afternoon that it is honouring the request of the Pacheedaht, Ditidaht and Huu-ay-aht First Nations for deferring old-growth harvesting in the Fairy Creek watershed and central Walbran areas.

The deferrals follow a notice made by the Island First Nations, who issued the Hišuk ma c̕awak Declaration on June 7th, and the BC government’s plans to “modernize the forestry sector” on June 2nd.

The deferrals are intended to protect all old growth in the Fairy Creek watershed and the central Walbran area for two years while the First Nations title holders develop resource-stewardship plans.

Asked whether this will affect the old-growth logging protests and Premier Horgan said he was hopeful that the protestors will understand the process it takes to defer old growth logging.

“I’m hopeful that those who have taken to the roads of southern Vancouver Island will understand that this process is not one that can happen overnight,” said Premier Horgan.

“I understand the importance of preserving these areas but I also understand that you can’t turn on a dime when you’re talking about an industry that has been the foundation of BC’s economy.”

See also: Despite objections and injunctions, blockades to protect the Old Growth at Fairy Creek remain (VIDEO)

Premier Horgan acknowledged the economic loss of the forestry sector associated with the deferrals and said that it would bear a “modest job loss.”

“There will be costs to moving in this direction but those are going to be dollars well spent,” said Horgan.

“We’re changing the way we do business on the land.”

As of Wednesday, June 8th, the RCMP had arrested 194 individuals for breaching the injunction set forth by the BC Supreme Court on April 1st in favour of the Teal-Jones Group, who were in charge of logging the Fairy Creek watershed area.

Protestors have had blockades set up at the road leading to the cutblock since August 2020 and filed a notice to appeal the court-ordered injunction in early May.

See the map of the old-growth deferral area below:

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