The Ancient Forests of Cortes Island #2: The Carrington Bay Children's Forest
All photos by TJ Watt of the Ancient Forest Alliance.
There is very little common ground between Island Timberlands’ logging methods and how the community would like forestry to be done on Cortes—but as this is private managed forestland, there’s not a whole lot they can legally do about it. And, as long as the province is benefitting from these operations through their investment wing, the BC Investment Management Corporation (BCIMC)—which manages all of the public sector pension funds—there will continue to be a disturbing incentive for them to maintain the status quo, regardless of what communities may want.
According to Ken Wu of the Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA), "Ultimately, if these lands are going to be protected, they need to be purchased." But despite the fact that Brookfield Asset Management purchased their coastal timber holdings for bottom dollar, they are now insisting on highly inflated prices. (We will discuss a concrete example of this in two weeks when we explore the Whaletown Commons.) How on earth are humble Cortesians supposed to purchase these forestlands for such astronomical prices?
One option is to engage a Land Trust organization. BC has two provincial land trusts to choose from: Nature Trust and The Land Conservancy. And then there are some smaller, more localized land trusts, such as the Islands Trust. These groups raise tens of millions of dollars each year for the preservation of special areas that happen to fall on private land. But once the lands are purchased, how does a community ensure that those lands remain protected in perpetuity?