~Amandalina Letterio, Kelowna Capital News
Two Kelowna men are raising awareness about old-growth forests across the province. If you drove west on Harvey Avenue on Wednesday (April 14), you probably noticed them.
Waseem Daniel-Hakaroo and Jake Cooke perched themselves atop the pedestrian bridge near the Landmark District with a big banner, waving at drivers below.
“These ancient forests are essential for ecosystems and biodiversity on the Island,” Daniel-Hakaroo explained. “It’s about protecting the old-growth from being logged.”
Daniel-Hakaroo said he’s concerned about British Columbia’s forests and forestry management, so he and Cooke took to one of the most visible locations on Kelowna’s busiest road to support protests currently occurring on Vancouver Island.
Activists at Fairy Creek have been blocking access to an old-growth forest slated to be logged by the Teal-Jones Group since the summer of 2020.
“We are not part of that group or organization, but we wanted to show our support for the group and spread awareness for the things that are happening that are potentially putting our own lives at risk along with the limited ecosystems that are at risk on the Island,” Cooke said.
While Cooke acknowledges that logging has to happen, he believes there’s a balance.
“These old-growth forests are an extremely limited resource compared to the rest of the forests in B.C. There are specific plant types and animals that live in these forests that don’t have another place to live,” he said.
On April 6, the B.C. Supreme Court served the Fairy Creek activists an injunction to remove their blockades. The court noted that the RCMP would have to enforce the injunction to ensure it’s respected.
Daniel-Hakaroo and Cooke said they want people to familiarize themselves with the topic by visiting www.ConservationNorth.org.
“The overall goal is for the government to implement complete protection for all the remaining old-growth forest in that area,” explains Cooke.
“We’re nothing without our nature; everything we have is because of our environment around us. To take away such a crucial part of that, especially this section of the forest, is heart-breaking. It’s a special place,” says Daniel-Hakaroo.