Sechelt elder arrested with Sunshine Coast logging protesters

Published in Windspeaker & Raven’s Eye newspapers | January 2013 | Circulation: 145,000

Court cases continue for 10 protesters after controversy over logging on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast escalated to an injunction and arrests on Dec. 7.

The protesters–including 79-year-old shÌsh·lh nation elder Xwu’p’a’lich (Barb Higgins), who was one of those arrested–argue that logging by the Sunshine Coast Community Forest (SCCF) threatens a thriving ecosystem, and they want an investigation into the SCCF’s forestry practices.

“This is the second time this coast has had such a brutal logging spree on it,” she told Raven’s Eye. “They’ve taken millions of dollars of logs out of B.C. You can’t go on doing that forever.

“When I first went up Mount Elphinstone, I couldn’t believe it. It’s like a spiritual experience when you walk in there. I don’t see how loggers could go in there and just drool at cutting down a tree like that. Our band gave them a contract to let them log in four areas. I don’t blame my band. When you look at this from the big picture, this is Sechelt land.”

Xwu’p’a’lich said she has found several rare medicinal plants in the area slated for logging, including ooaakslie (pronounced “oo-ack-sally”) and rattlesnake plantain, and she described the forest as thick with water-logged moss and old trees. Salmon spawning beds are also a concern to protesters.

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