Protest stops logging near Tlaa Gaa Aawtlaas

After a blockade organized by Old Massett Village Council, local loggers agreed to stop work on two controversial cutblocks near Tlaa Gaa Aawtlaas / New Town.

Dozens of Old Massett residents and supporters blockaded the road to the planned cutblocks on Dec. 21.

The next day, Randy and Travis O’Brien of O’Brien & Fuerst Logging met with Old Massett Chief Councillor Duffy Edgars and Trevor Russ, vice-president of the Council of the Haida Nation.

“They stood down — they weren’t going to cut it because the Haidas didn’t want it cut,” Edgars said.

Put up for auction by BC Timber Sales in March 2016, the nearest of the two cutblocks is 550 metres from the southeast corner of the Tlaa Gaa Aawtlaas reserve, which is home to the Blue Jacket neighbourhood known as New Town. The other cutblock is 1.5 km to the east.

Speaking before the Old Massett council meeting on Monday — the first since the holiday break — Edgars said the council hadn’t decided yet whether to oppose logging in one or both of the cutblocks.

Another issue is whether the areas might simply be logged by another company if O’Brien & Fuerst cancels its bid for the timber sale.

“That’s what we’re afraid of,” Edgars said.

O’Brien & Fuerst and Old Massett councillors will have a follow-up meeting this week, and Edgars said he hopes to meet soon with officials from BC Timber Sales.

Despite the dark and frosty mornings, Edgars noted that everyone on the line wanted to stay out over the Dec. 23-24 weekend.

“I told everybody they can go home because it was pretty cold out, and I think we achieved what we set out to do.”

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