At the northern end of Clayoquot Sound, the big rain events this past winter devastated the territory of Hesquiaht First Nations. The rain events hit Hesquiaht territory hard due to the history of industrial logging in Clayoquot Sound. Since the 1950’s Hesquiaht Harbour has been taken advantage of by numerous logging companies including Interfor, Mamook, Isaak, Western Forest Products, and MacMillan Bloedel. The mass deforestation that has occurred in Hesquiaht territory has effectively destabilized our, once forested, mountain slopes.
On November 3rd, when 94 millimetres of rain fell within 24 hours, we witnessed a total of 9 landslides into 3 salmon bearing streams, and 2 lakes around Hesquiaht Harbour. From the time the landslides happened until today there has been no assistance from the federal or provincial governments for the restoration of our critical salmon bearing streams. We contacted the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the provincial Ministry of Forests and Natural Resources, the federal Member of Parliament, Gord Johns, and the provincial Member of the Legislative Assembly, Scott Fraser. We heard repeatedly that there is no process to report or deal with a landslide that impacts critical wild salmon habitat.
Since industrial logging began in Hesquiaht territory these levels of government have accumulated wealth from logging, licensing, and stumpage fees. Yet who is left to clean up this mess after our trees have been taken and our streams destroyed by industrial logging? “I don’t know Hesquiaht, you deal with it,” is not an acceptable answer.