Province OKs logging of old-growth forest on Vancouver Island

A once-massive old-growth tree near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island

Plus, homeless Victorians paid $20 and cities convene

On Friday, the B.C. government approved a permit for Teal-Jones Group, a forestry company, to begin logging an area of old-growth forest on Vancouver Island. Not everyone’s happy. “This type of old-growth forest is simply too rare to destroy, and the fact that the government isn’t responding to this crisis is shameful,” said Torrance Coste of the Wilderness Committee in a release. It could be the beginning of a bigger conflict: “We don’t want this to go to a blockade,” Coste said. “The provincial government has the ability to avoid that, and it’s time for them to step up—they need to rescind this permit and start engaging with the company, local First Nations and the public on alternatives.” The Wilderness Committee claims that less than 10 per cent of Vancouver Island’s old-growth rainforest remains at lower elevations.

Listener’s fee
In a move to entice its homeless population to come out to a city meeting, the City of Victoria paid homeless residents $20 per person for a simple task: show up. Of the more than 500 people who attended to discuss issues around shelter last week—funding existing shelters as well as creating new spaces—roughly 365 were homeless (costing the city about $7,300). While some criticized the paltry sum spent, Mayor Lisa Helps said it’s no different than paying consultants who, generally speaking, charge much higher fees. (via Global News)
Urban affair
On Wednesday, the Union of BC Municipalities—expect Christy Clark, mayors and other civic leaders—convenes for its annual all-things-urban meet-up. Topics on the table for 2015: funding for infrastructure and (no surprise) public transit, pipelines, environmental assessments, responding to hazardous spills, homelessness and of course affordable housing. We’ll have the story later this week, after the three-day convention at the Vancouver Convention Centre kicks off.