Council urged to rethink $25,000 grant to BC Forest Discovery Centre
Forests Forever exhibit is biased, sidesteps logging issues
Mayor and Councillors:
I note that the $25,000 annual grant to the BC Forest Discovery Centre is up for consideration at council’s Jan. 11, 2022, meeting.
As a concerned taxpayer, I urge council to reconsider providing this grant.
As I reported on Aug. 21, 2021, the Discovery Centre does a great job of preserving the history of logging, including through the display of old buildings, equipment and other memorabilia. And who doesn’t love the train ride?
However, the one-sided Forests Forever exhibit, funded by forest companies, reads more like an industry news release than a fair and balanced accounting of forest issues.
Case in point, the statement: “BC is a world leader in sustainable forestry. Our forests are carefully managed to ensure the social, economic and environmental benefits they provide are available for generations to come.”
That is an issue of debate, I’m sure you agree.
The Forests Forever video (https://bcforestdiscoverycentre.com/forests-forever/) posted on the Centre’s website describes the importance of forests for filtering water but says not a word about logging contributing to downstream flood risks…it speaks of forests providing habitat for animals but is silent on species at risk due to logging…it talks of quality jobs but ignores the export of raw logs and widespread closures of BC mills.
And what of the most controversial issue of all, logging of old-growth forests? The silence is deafening.
When I first spoke last summer with Alf Carter, president of the Centre’s board of directors, he agreed to discuss my concerns with the board.
I spoke with Mr. Carter again a few days ago, and he said the board had decided not to take action in the interests of remaining “neutral” and saw no need to “get involved in these serious issues.”
Of course, by portraying only one side of forestry, the board is anything but neutral.
Note that the Centre’s official mandate includes “educating the public about life, work and the environment in forest communities of coastal British Columbia.”
In the absence of fairness and balance on forestry issues, the board is not meeting its mandate.
As such, North Cowichan taxpayers should not be funding this organization until there is a commitment to provide alternative viewpoints on the forests debate.
Thank-you for your consideration.