The Huu-ay-aht First Nation have voiced their objections to a UBCM resolution to ban the logging of old-growth forests in British Columbia.
“As a First Nation on Vancouver Island, the Huu-ay-aht First Nations must object to a resolution made yesterday by the Union of BC Municipalities concerning the banning of old-growth logging on Vancouver Island,” a Huu-ay-aht press release reads.
The resolution to ban old-growth logging on Vancouver Island was brought forward by the District of Metchosin.
Port Alberni Coun. Chris Alemany voted for the resolution. Port Alberni sits on the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District along with the Huu-ay-aht First Nations. Huu-ay-aht lands are located south of the western end of the Alberni Inlet. Their main sett, Anacla, is located three kilometres from Bamfield.
“We need to shift our forest industry on the Island to a sustainable second growth industry. I see, especially on the South Island, our old growth is disappearing and once they disappear we will have to switch to a more sustainable process,” said Alemany.
“There is no future in cutting old growth and the benefits from the small amount remaining, as has been advocated by the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, are huge and varied and much greater than the limited, finite value of cutting them.”
Citing the Maa-nuth treaty signed by the Huu-ay-aht, Chief Councillor Robert Dennis stated that he was troubled by what his nation sees as the overreaching of local government.
“As First Nations, we are stewards of the forestry resources on our lands,” said Dennis.
“In Huu-ay-aht territory, our forestry is not only sustainable but guided by three sacred principles: iisaak (greater respect), Hisuk ma cawak (everything is one), and uuałuk (taking care of present and future generations).”
But Alemany doesn’t see the conflict.
“I think it’s their right and responsibility to be stewards of their land and I don’t think that the UBCM resolution takes that away in any way,” said Alemany.
“It’s meant more to influence the province as a whole.”
The lack of consultation also concerns the Huu-ay-aht.
“The Huu-ay-aht First Nations also holds a seat with the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District. As a result, we also fully-participate in the proceedings of UBCM. We are disappointed in the lack of consultation and full debate on the matter, as well as the means by which it was brought up and passed in short order,” the Huu-ay-aht stated.
Alemany said that he agreed that the UBCM could use better First Nation representation and cited a UBCM resolution regarding placing non-treaty First Nations at the same level as treaty nations and municipalities in terms of UBCM participation.