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Old-growth logging protesters in Nanaimo arrested after blocking highway

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A protest by Save Old Growth in Victoria on Jan. 10 at the corner of Douglas and Burnside Roads, where they blocked all southbound traffic. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Three members of an anti-logging group were arrested by RCMP Monday after they blocked traffic in Nanaimo.

Another three were arrested at a similar protest in Vancouver.

The blockade by Save Old Growth, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion, took place on the off-ramp of the Trans-Canada Highway at Comox Street and Terminal Avenue, near the Saysutshun (Newcastle Island) Ferry Terminal.

Last week, 12 people were arrested in similar protests — seven in Victoria, three in Burnaby and two in Nanaimo.

The group warns it plans to continue to block off-ramps multiple times a week in Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Revelstoke and possibly other locations, with the frequency and scale of actions escalating over time, until all old-growth logging is stopped in B.C.

During the 2020 provincial election, the B.C. NDP promised to implement proposals made by the Old Growth Strategic Review Panel, which called for a major shift in how old-growth forests were being managed.

In early November, the provincial government announced that an expert panel had mapped 26,000 square kilometres of old-growth forests at risk of permanent biodiversity loss.

It asked about 200 First Nations in B.C. to decide within 30 days whether they supported deferrals in those areas or if the plan required further ­discussion.

The Forests Ministry said on Dec. 16 the government had received responses from 161 nations, with nearly three-quarters indicating they need more time to review technical information or to incorporate local Indigenous knowledge into the proposed deferral plans before making a decision.

ceharnett@timescolonist.com

parrais@timescolonist.com