PHOTOS: Seniors block B.C. legislature streetfront in old-growth solidarity protest

Clare Lowery, 92, was one of many seniors at a demonstration that shut down traffic on Belleville Street outside the legislature on Thursday afternoon. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)Clare Lowery, 92, was one of many seniors at a demonstration that shut down traffic on Belleville Street outside the legislature on Thursday afternoon. (Jake Romphf/News Staff)
Seniors at a demonstration that shut down traffic on Belleville Street outside the legislature on Thursday afternoon. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)Seniors at a demonstration that shut down traffic on Belleville Street outside the legislature on Thursday afternoon. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)
Seniors at a demonstration that shut down traffic on Belleville Street outside the legislature on Thursday afternoon. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)Seniors at a demonstration that shut down traffic on Belleville Street outside the legislature on Thursday afternoon. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)
Seniors at a demonstration that shut down traffic on Belleville Street outside the legislature on Thursday afternoon. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)Seniors at a demonstration that shut down traffic on Belleville Street outside the legislature on Thursday afternoon. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)
Seniors at a demonstration that shut down traffic on Belleville Street outside the legislature on Thursday afternoon. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)Seniors at a demonstration that shut down traffic on Belleville Street outside the legislature on Thursday afternoon. (Jake Romphf/ News Staff)

More than 100 seniors blocked the street in front of the B.C. legislature on Thursday as they prepared to be arrested in solidarity with younger counterparts currently in old-growth forests.

After a land acknowledgement, demonstrators used police tape to close off Belleville Street at Government and Menzies streets. As the elderly citizens gathered to listen to speakers, some laid on the ground and were circled by white chalk, to symbolize the fallen old-growth giants.

The seniors said, after the recent old-growth deferral announcements, the province is misleading people about the current state of logging in Vancouver Island forests.

“They’re not stopping any of the road building or old-growth logging in connected, intact forests just outside the basin of the Fairy Creek watershed,” Jackie Larkin, 76, said to the crowd. “It’s like they say ‘we’ll protect your heart but we’re going to cut off the rest of the body.’”

READ: B.C. approves deferral of old-growth logging at Fairy Creek, Walbran valleys

“This struggle is nowhere near over,” Larkin continued. “John Horgan has broken his election promise to implement his – his not ours – old-growth report in its totality.”

The older folks called on Horgan’s government to defer logging in 1.3 hectares of non-protected old growth forests that was identified by scientists last month.

Susan Gage, a week shy of 75, said her generation took the environment for granted, to the detriment of what will be left behind for her grandchildren.

“This happened on my watch, it’s my age group that’s largely responsible for this, the way we’ve carelessly destroyed so much of the Earth,” she said. “The least I can do is strive and struggle to conserve what is left for our grandchildren. I want to make sure they can go Fairy Creek and marvel at those huge, ancient trees.”

READ: Scientists release maps of B.C. old growth forests, urge province to stop cutting

READ: Vancouver Island First Nations declaration not enough for old-growth protesters

Gage said governments don’t like to change and only will if the public keeps the pressure on them.

The protesters want the B.C. government to also provide funding to Indigenous communities that would allow them to pursue other economic opportunities outside of logging.

“We want to respect (the Nations’) sovereignty, their rights to the land and their rights their livelihood,” said Steve Gray.

He said seniors are passionate about the forests, but aren’t able to be alongside protesters embedded in the Island’s blockades. As a father and grandfather, he’s concerned about the future.

“We look at the climate crisis and what’s going on and we really feel it’s our responsibility to be involved, not to leave it to (youth) to do the heavy lifting, considering it’s our generation that has delivered this world to them,” Gray said.

Belleville Street reopened around 2 p.m. after demonstrators had dispersed.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

READ: Behind the line at Fairy Creek: Inside B.C.’s old growth forest battleground


Do you have a story tip? Email: jake.romphf@blackpress.ca.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

BC legislatureFairy Creek watershedVictoria

Just Posted

Area A Director Ali Grieve (right), Village of Fruitvale Mayor Steve Morissette (front), and Village of Montrose Mayor Mike Walsh (left) held a congratulatory ceremony for Beaver Valley students who are part of the Class of 2021 graduates of J. L. Crowe Secondary at Beaver Creek Park on Thursday. Photo: Jim Bailey
Beaver Valley Grads of 2021

Beaver Valley mayors, RDKB Area A director celebrate their 2021 graduates with gift ceremony

Adrian Moyls is the Selkirk College Class of 2021 valedictorian and graduate of the School of Health and Human Services. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College valedictorian proves mettle in accomplishment

Adrian Moyls is a graduate of the School of Health and Human Services

A volunteer delivers food to families as part of a West Kootenay EcoSociety program. Photo: Submitted
Farms to Friends delivers 2,500th bag of food to families in need

The program services communities in the Nelson, Trail and Castlegar areas

Selkirk College has begun its search in earnest for a leader to replace president Angus Graeme who is set to retire from his position in May 2022. Photo: Submitted
Selkirk College seeks community input for president search

Current president Angus Graeme retires next year

A report shows nine West Kootenay communities are have more low-income persons than the provincial average. File photo
Study casts new light on poverty in the West Kootenay

Nine communities in region have more low-income residents than provincial average

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read