Peachland residents gathered on Friday afternoon (March 19) along Highway 97 to bring awareness to the negative impact of clearcut logging.
Forest March BC is now in its third year of organizing marches to call on the provincial government to reform B.C.’s forestry legislation. The organization has also said that its goal is to “unite communities across B.C. to push for equitable, nature-based, and community first approaches to forestry management”.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, many of this year’s marches and activities moved virtually and were replaced with art installations and other informational activities instead.
But in Peachland, several residents still came out as a show of solidarity with other communities and to show people that the effect of clearcut logging in this particular community affects flooding as well as the water source.
“Peachland’s freshwater supply is under threat by numerous industrial activities including clear-cut logging in the watershed,” Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance (PWPA) communications chair Alex Morrison said.
“With spring floods on Okanagan Lake becoming a regular event as a result of these logging practices, PWPA is demonstrating to our provincial government that they are failing Peachland and other similar communities across B.C.”
PWPA director Taryn Skalbania said 27 communities throughout the province gathered, in one way or another, to raise awareness about the issue.
“We’re telling our government we don’t like the way that our forests are being managed,” she said.
As logging continues, Skalbania said that water quality, flood control, and wildlife biodiversity are all suffering as a result.
“And it’s different in each community. Peachland’s all about water quality. We had to put a $24 million water treatment plant in partially due to clearcut logging and it’s also about flooding.”
“Floods don’t happen on Okanagan Lake, they happen in the watershed. They happen because of excess runoff due to too much logging and deforestation in the high altitudes,” she said.
Skalbania added that while trees are a renewable source, they take time to grow back and the industry doesn’t give them enough time to do just that.
“Who’s going to wait a thousand years for that seedling to grow again?”