British Columbia

Sierra Club B.C., Insights West poll finds majority of British Columbians concerned about old-growth logging

The study to gauge public opinion on provincial forestry practices has found 78 per cent of British Columbians are concerned about old-growth logging.

COVID-19, poverty and declining salmon stocks the top social and environmental concerns for B.C. residents

The term old growth in B.C. means trees that are generally 250 years or older on the coast and 140 years or older in the Interior, according to the B.C. Forests Ministry. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

A poll conducted by Sierra Club B.C. and Insights West to gauge public opinion around provincial forestry practices has found 78 per cent of British Columbians are concerned about old-growth logging.

It also found 74 per cent support the doubling of protected land in the province.

The publication of the results come as blockades and arrests continue on southern Vancouver Island where protesters are trying to stop old-growth logging in the Fairy Creek and Walbran Valley areas on southern Vancouver Island. 

As of Thursday evening, 165 people had been arrested since enforcement of a British Columbia court injunction began in May, according to the RCMP.

According to the poll, 85 per cent of British Columbians feel it is important that the B.C. NDP keeps promises made to protect old growth, while 16 per cent said the government has done a "very good" or "good job in keeping this promise. 

Earlier this week, Premier John Horgan and Forests Minister Katrine Conroy announced a plan to modernize forest policy and protect old growth but said the plan will take time to fully implement.

Conroy also promised more deferrals to temporarily protect some old-growth trees from being cut would be announced this summer.

The Sierra Club B.C. and Insights West poll also ranked the social and environmental issues B.C. residents said they were either "very concerned" about or "somewhat concerned" about, with COVID-19, poverty and declining salmon stock topping the list: 

  • COVID-19, 86 per cent.
  • Poverty, 86 per cent.
  • Declining salmon stock, 86 per cent.
  • Endangered species/ecosystem, 84 per cent.
  • Opioid crisis, 81 per cent.
  • Logging of old growth forests, 78 per cent. 
  • Single-use plastics, 77 per cent.
  • Climate change, 76 per cent.
  • Impact of logging on climate change, 76 per cent.
  • Systemic racism, 73 per cent.
  • Raw log exports, 68 per cent.

Poll results were gathered in an online study conducted May 12 to May 15, using a sample of 831 residents from across B.C.

It is not possible to accurately calculate a margin of error for online surveys. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

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