Mr. Hans Granander, who was a signatory to the Central Coast Land & Resource Management Plan Table Recommendations that ultimately formed part of the Great Bear Rainforest Agreements, said in a letter to the Premier:
“The decision to cancel the Route 40 Discovery Coast Ferry is a betrayal of Central Coast communities. This decision completely ignores the compromises made by these communities that lead to the landmark Great Bear Rainforest Agreements and the associated commitments for enhanced human wellbeing in local communities.
The Great Bear Rainforest Agreements set aside an unprecedented amount of forest land for protection in order to meet provincial, national and international conservation goals and thereby ushered British Columbia to the forefront of environmental stewardship. Strict visual impact rules have also been imposed on forestry operations along the ferry route, thereby further reducing economic opportunities. In response to these concessions, Central Coast communities were told their future was not in logging, but in tourism.”
In addition, the Central Coast Regional District (“CCRD”) commented on the betrayal they feel in a letter written by Reg Moody, Chair, CCRD to the Premier dated 31 December (Reg is also a member of our campaign committee, and sits on the Heiltsuk Tribal Council):
“The landmark Great Bear Rainforest Agreement (Central and North Coast Land-use Resource Management Plan) established approximately 10 years ago severely restricts forestry operations in the region. Central Coast communities compromised their livelihoods as part of the “Agreement”, with the trade-off the Provincial Government would commit to working toward enhanced human wellbeing for affected communities. Communities were told the future was not in logging but in tourism. Lacking any industry beyond the remains of fishing and logging, communities have worked hard to diversify their economies with a fledgling but growing tourism sector. Re-defining themselves in an evolving economy has been a real struggle. Tourism is now the only significant economic development opportunity readily available since the agreement, and other than tourism no other demonstrable enhanced human wellbeing changes have occurred.
It is impossible to stress enough, the magnitude of the impact of losing Route 40 (particularly the direct Port Hardy to Bella Coola run). This is yet another major setback for communities, our families and future generations – one they are not likely to recover from this time. Central Coast communities have surely already sacrificed enough for the benefit of the whole province. Now is the time for the Province to truly listen and demonstrate enhanced human wellbeing changes by assisting the communities to ensure sustainability of their fledging tourism industry. This requires the BC Government to ensure tourism continues in the region and they maintain, at a minimum, a direct MV Queen of Chilliwack’s ferry service from Port Hardy to Bella Coola.”