WCWC director to speak at AWARE AGM 

One of the most controversial figures on the B.C. environmental front will be giving a one-hour presentation at the upcoming AWARE annual general meeting on Sunday, Jan. 19.

The name of Joe Foy comes up a lot in environmental discussions around the province, and not always in a flattering way. But although the director of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee (WCWC) is an unpopular and controversial one, he’s also well respected.

He has never shied away from direct confrontation with industry or government, and is not afraid to take his case to the people of B.C. or the world. WCWC campaigns have helped to preserve forest on Vancouver Island and on the central coast. His involvement in the campaign to preserve the Elaho and Sims valleys from logging has also met with some success, and he is heavily involved in the work to preserve the South Chilcotin Mountains in a provincial park.

At the same time, he has championed the cause of working class loggers, campaigning to keep mills open and stop out-of-province raw log exports – as long as those companies are leaving old growth forests and threatened species alone.

According to Foy, his one-hour presentation to AWARE will touch on various WCWC campaigns, including the South Chilcotin Mountains and the Elaho and Sims areas. He will also discuss a new campaign for the Squamish and Chilliwack forest districts to protect threatened species such as the marbled murrelet, spotted owl and mountain goats that includes a call to end old growth logging in these areas.

"The main thing I’m going to discuss is the nuts and bolts of a wilderness preservation campaign, why and how one goes about protecting wilderness," said Foy. "I’ll go through the various stages, and explain what the WCWC does, and how we go about it."

The WCWC has worked with AWARE on campaigns in the past, and Foy says the WCWC is committed to ensuring that AWARE remains successful.

"AWARE is situated right in the centre of the southern coast mountains, and is very important for the protection of North American biodiversity," said Foy.

"In the future, what I see happening is for the north, south to come together to create a greater ecosystem corridor. That is incredibly important for the protection of these species."

According to Foy, AWARE is in also in an important place because of its proximity to the Elaho and South Chilcotin Mountains, and borders on the extirpation line for the Grizzly Bear.

"It’s also an important place on the human landscape, with visitors from all over B.C., Canada and the world coming to enjoy the tremendous ecosystem that AWARE is a part of. With resource industries in decline, the one shining star in the province is the tourism industry, and Whistler is a big part of that. Anything that happens in Whistler gets a lot of attention, so AWARE is a pretty important organization."

Foy will speak from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Mt. Currie Room at the Delta Whistler Resort, Jan. 19. Admission is free and the public is encouraged to come hear Foy speak, then stay for AWARE’s annual general meeting.

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