Sierra Club leader steps down

  • Dec. 17, 2010 2:00 p.m.

It started with a wild food potluck and a lot of environmental concerns, but after more than 10 years of activity the local chapter of the Sierra Club of BC is taking a break. Local leader Jacques Morin said the group started in 1999 with more than 50 signatures and a lot of motivation to address environmental issues on the islands. Forest management was a major concern at the time and group members trained to become more aware of forest practices and how to monitor and assess whether forest companies and governments were doing a good job in the woods. During this time, Mr. Morin spearheaded the fight to protect the Haida Gwaii goshawk, a species listed as endangered. Mr. Morin initiated two complaints to the Forest Practices Board and had some success, but he is still concerned about protecting foraging habitat for these elusive birds of prey. The group also organized hikes and outings each summer to places like Mt. Moresby, Government Creek and Yakoun Lake. Each year a cleanup of the streets in Queen Charlotte and on the highway to Skidegate was undertaken by Sierra Haida Gwaii volunteers too. The high profile Sustainable Living Fair in October 2009, sought to link the local with the global and get islanders’ input and solutions about climate change. The event, co-hosted by the Sierra Club group, was Mr. Morin’s vision. He said this at the time: “We often seek people from the outside to bring information here, but we found all the people we needed here to provide a successful learning experience,” he said. More recently, the Sierra chapter has been involved with many others on Enbridge Awareness work on the islands, which resulted in an all-islands stance against the pipeline. Mr. Morin, who also sat on the Sierra Club of BC board since 2000, is pursuing graduate studies and needed to step down. Other core members have also decided to take a break. Mr. Morin said his time with the group has been a great experience, allowing him to work with others to bring about sustainable change in the community. “It’s led me to meet a lot of amazing people,” he said. Not only will he be busy with other commitments, but he likes the direction the islands are heading in. “Things are in better hands than they were 10 years ago,” he said.