(Victoria) Three years after the provincial governmenteffectively privatized 28,000 of forest lands west of Victoria the problem camehome to roost for MLA Ida Chong. Student activists released half a dozenchickens into Chong’s constituency office as part of a community rallyprotesting the minister’s failure to address the problem her governmentcreated.
“Ida Chong helped create a huge problem three yearsago and she hasn’t done a thing to resolve it,” said UVic Student EdwardPullman. “Today, we brought a problem home to roost in her office toremind her that this community has not forgotten her mistakes.”
Community members have been further frustrated by theGovernment’s refusal to help parties that have proposed solutions. TheUniversity of British Columbia (UBC) recently stated its intention to purchaseall 28,000 ha of the forest lands. Theproposal would require the Province to extend UBC’s borrowing limit and providesome financial assistance for the purchase, but the Liberals have refused help.
“Unions, environmentalists, community groups, FirstNations leaders, and local politicians are all working together to preserve theformer TFL land,” said Gordon O’Connor of the Dogwood Initiative.”The only group not coming to the table right now is the Province.”
The Capital Regional District (CRD) recently committedto purchasing 2,300 ha of the former TFL land between Sooke and JordanRiver. This historic purchase took someof the most high value land off the market and made the UBC proposal even morefeasible. Sources inside the universityconfirm that the university is still interested in the remaining 25,700 ha andare waiting for assistance from the province.