With chants of “water is our right” from the 70- to 80-strong crowd in front of Port Alberni’s city hall, former Hupacasath chief councillor Judith Sayers sent a message to the government that logging in watersheds is not OK.
Sayers was just one of the local First Nations, Port Alberni residents, and environmental activists who spoke at a rally outside of city hall on Argyle Street at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 7. They had gathered to protest the logging of the China Creek Watershed by Island Timberlands. The protest was organized by a grassroots group calling itself Citizens for a Local Economy and received support from drivers who honked their horns as they drove by.
“We are all here because we care about our water,” Sayers said, “and getting together and talking about this sends that message.”
Torrence Coste, Vancouver Island Campaigner for the Wilderness Committee, told protesters that “too much of the forest here [on Vancouver Island] has been ripped off, liquidated and degraded permanently at the expense of ecosystems, local communities and local First Nations… huge swaths of land are controlled not by the people who live there, not by the people who require these environments to be healthy and clean but by companies like Island Timberlands.”
Sayers also called out city council for not showing up to the rally
“This is an election year for the city council, let’s make it an election issue.”
Protesters threatened direct action up at the logging site on McLaughlin Ridge if they did not hear back from city council within a week.
“If we need to go lie down in front of the logging trucks, let’s do that,” said Sayers.