By Amy Fendley
Under the historic Lions Gate Bridge in North Vancouver The Western Canada Wilderness Committee hosted the Stoltmann EcoFest ’98 last Saturday — but few people noticed.
"We had maybe 100 people show up," said Selena Blais, WCWC retail store manager and spokesperson.
Blais said the low turnout was more than disappointing and means a $2,500 loss to the WCWC.
A Stoltmann campaign pioneer since 1995, Blais said the support from people was disgusting and she can’t understand why more people didn’t take part in the event. She said the crowd at last year’s event, where it rained, far exceeded this year’s numbers.
"I don’t know what’s wrong with the people in Vancouver when it comes to important events like this," Blais said. "There’s a lot of people there and they should realize that there is going to be a need for big protected wild areas. We’re the only ones on this and we need more help."
A selection of bands, DJs and guest speakers were on hand to deliver music, information and ideas on environmental issues. The EcoForum speakers represented groups such as Greenpeace, Witness Program, The Friends of Clayoquot Sound, International Woodworkers of America (IWA) and WCWC.
Music was provided by Damn the Diva, Linda McRae, John Bottomley, Fara, Jungle, Jazzberry Ram, Threesixty, Little Gorphin Annie on the main stage, and DJ Czech, Social Devianz, DJ Michelle, Ben Jammin, Aaron Twist a.k.a. Chameleon on the solar-powered electronica stage.
Although the advertising campaign for EcoFest was mainly comprised of postering, organizers also ran ads in some local newspapers as well as on one of their sponsor radio stations.
One of the WCWC’s strategies for raising awareness about the Stoltmann has been a postcard mailed to homes from Vancouver to Mount Currie. The 75,000 postcards are designed to be returned by mail to Premier Glen Clark and Prime Minister Jean Chretien, letting them know whether people support the proposed Stoltmann National Park Reserve.
"We’re hoping that the postcard campaign will be successful," said Blais. "It’s got to be a huge public outcry. Most of the Whistler businesses were very supportive... bringing the boundary to Whistler was a good idea."
According to Blais, there is a political as well as logical reason why the WCWC has approached the federal government about the protection of the Stoltmann.
"Glen Clark is pro-industry, and that’s fine," said Blais. "But the mill workers in Squamish didn’t lose their jobs because the Stoltmann is becoming a park."