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

A for sale sign is shown in by new homes in Beckwith, Ont., just outside Ottawa, on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Thompson-Okanagan population grew despite COVID-19: report

The Chartered Professional Accountants of BC said there are 8,462 new residents in the region

Nine exhibits representing the commercial core of downtown Salmon Arm in 1910 are pictured here at R.J. Haney’s Heritage Village & Museum. (Facebook - R.J. Haney’s Heritage Village & Museum)
‘The Shuswap’s largest heritage site,’ R.J. Haney’s Village and Museum, opens to public

Haney’s restaurant, Sprig of Heather, and Children’s Discovery Centre are open as well

Graduating Grade 12 student Savannah Lamb has been awarded an approximate $40,000 scholarship from the Beedie Luminaries foundation. (Contributed)
Dedicated Salmon Arm student earns scholarship to pursue post-secondary education

Savannah Lamb is graduating from Salmon Arm Secondary with a $40,000 scholarship

Teslyn Bates, a Grade 11 student at Salmon Arm Secondary, was among four musicians from the Shuswap who won awards at the 2021 Virtual Performing Arts BC Festival held June 1-5. (Contributed)
Province takes note of young Shuswap musicians at June festival

Four local contestants receive awards at 2021 Virtual Performing Arts BC Festival

Shuswap Immigrant Services Society plans to hold a vigil on Friday, June 25 at 8 p.m. to honour the victims of what officials are calling a terrorist attack on five Muslims in London, Ont. (File photo)
Salmon Arm council holds minute of silence to honour victims of Ontario attack

Shuswap Immigrant Services Society plans vigil for Muslim family on June 25, 8 p.m. at McGuire Lake

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

Vernon-Monashee NDP MLA Harwinder Sandhu supported a motion in the B.C. legislature for Canada to create a national Indigenous History month Monday, June 13, 2021. (Contributed)
Canada needs a national Indigenous History Month, Vernon MLA agrees

Harwinder Sandhu supports motion to recognize June as month to advance reconciliation efforts with First Nations

(Facebook)
New trial date set for Penticton beach attacker’s triple assault charges

May trial was delayed after Crown witnesses failed to show up

Orange ribbons are tied to the fence outside Vernon’s Gateway Homeless Shelter on 33rd Street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
POLL: Low-key Canada Day in the works for Vernon

Councillor calling for Indigenous recognition for 2022

A conceptual design of Vernon’s new Active Living Centre, which will go to referendum Oct. 15, 2022. (Rendering)
Active living centre 2022 referendum planned in Vernon

City hoping to get Coldstream and Areas B and C back on board

Closure of the 2900 block of 30th Avenue will allow restaurants and other businesses to extend their patios onto the street. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Green light given to downtown Vernon road closure

Single block of 30th Avenue to close over summer months to boost business

A provided photo of the suspect. (Kelowna RCMP/Contributed)
Kelowna RCMP investigating after business robbed

An undisclosed amount of money and merchandise were taken from the business

Travel Penticton went to city council for support in increasing the tax on short-term stays to fund a convention bureau and affordable housing. (File photo)
Travel Penticton seeks to grow through increased hotel tax

The increased funds would go to creating a convention bureau and to affordable housing

Most Read