Student uses billboard to blast forestry practices

Jamie Simpson is using this billboard on Barrington Street in Halifax to speak out
against the NDP government's forestry practices. (INGRID BULMER / Staff)

A Dalhousie University law student who doesn’t like Nova Scotia’s forestry practices is advertising his displeasure.

Jamie Simpson, who previously worked at the Ecology Action Centre for three years, is behind a Barrington Street billboard that calls the NDP forestry policy “shameful.”

Simpson also has similar websites — clearcutns.com  and indiegogo.com/AcadianForest  — in which he seeks donations that will help him to keep the billboard up.

The sign costs about $2,300 a month. Simpson collected money from like-minded friends before he paid for the first month. So far, he’s collected $1,100 to pay for a second.

He’s upset that some proposed forestry policies, which he found promising, appear to have been set aside. He referred to recommendations to stop whole-tree harvesting and reduce clearcutting to half of the harvest, neither of which look like they will be implemented.

He believes the provincial government is under too much pressure to keep paper mills open.

“Keeping the forestry practices (and) regulations as lax as they can has been part of that strategy,” he said. “The government has talked the good talk but we haven’t seen any action to actually improve forestry practices.”

Simpson, who does forestry work in addition to his studies, dislikes whole-tree harvesting, which sees the entire tree taken from the forest, because the topsoil is left bare. In other forestry practices, the stripped branches are left behind to protect the soil and provide nutrients by decomposition, he said.

The idea to advertise via a billboard arose when Simpson began communicating his frustration with the situation to friends.

“That message got forwarded on to other people,” he said. “People around the province started sending me money to put up this billboard.

“A lot of people out there are frustrated.”

He hopes to keep his advertising campaign going as long as the donations allow it, or if things change in regard to forestry policies.

Donations can be sent to him through his web sites.



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