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Zoe Miles comes to Toronto to save B.C.'s 'Avatar Woods'

KJ Mullins, Digital Journal, August 13, 2010

Zoe Miles comes to Toronto to save B.C.'s 'Avatar Woods'
Zoe Miles speaking to a crowd of support during an Avatar flash mob in downtown Toronto to help protect BC's endangered ancient forests.

This protest by Cortes Island activist Zoe Miles and MTV's Buried Life in downtown Toronto had an Avatar theme, and their focus was on saving the old-growth forests of BC with a particular emphasis on the old-growth Douglas fir stands of Cortes Island (which they dubbed the "Avatar Woods", not to be confused with the "Avatar Grove" near Port Renfrew). We thank them for doing this! - Ancient Forest Alliance

When Zoe Miles came home from university this summer she found that the forest in her hometown of Cortes Island had been brought and tagged for logging. The land was brought by a company in Toronto.

Today Zoe and members of the MTV docu-show The Buried Life stood outside of Brookfield Place on Toronto's Bay Street asking to be heard.

Bay Street's Brookfield Place was the location of about 100 young people dressed in blue this morning protesting the plans of Brookfield Asset Management to log a part of Cortes Island.

The blue group envisioned the movie Avatar for their protest. Why? Because the forest on Cortes Island has been dubbed the real Avatar Woods. With 99.5 percent of the Douglas Fir old growth already cut, there is little left for the environment, they claim.

Miles, with the help of MTV, came to Toronto to talk with Brookfield Asset Management's Senior Managing Partner and Chief Financial Officer Bruce Flatt. Miles was unable to discuss her desires with Flatt today but her voice was heard to those who walked by the busy building Friday.

"I think of this forest as a best friend," Miles told those protesting for Avatar Woods Friday morning through a megaphone. The crowds shouted to those inside the glass building to "save our forest" and "to listen to us."

Miles was kept out of the building by building security. Unable to speak to Bruce Flatt she told the crowd that she wanted to have a friendly conversation with him to ask him to allow her to buy the land.

"I want to ask Bruce Flatt to stop cutting old growth forest in B.C."

Miles said that she is uncomfortable being the center of attention but her commitment to the forest over-rides her fears.

When asked about local MPs in her area, Miles said there is support but didn't expand on which government officials were behind the movement. Asked about her funds to pay for the area of forest that she wants to buy, Miles admitted that she only had $4 in the bank at this time but said there was support. She did say that she is willing to pay fair market dollar for the 2,700 acres for the Avatar Woods.

With no response from Brookfield, the group announced that they would be moving to Toronto Island to continue getting their voice heard.

The security team that guarded the doors to Brookfield Place said there was no comment from within.

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