A British Columbia forestry company appeared in court Tuesday to request a one-year extension of an injunction against ongoing protests over the cutting down of old trees in a remote area of southern Vancouver Island.
An attorney for Teal Cedar Products Ltd. told a British Columbia Supreme Court judge that anti-logging protests are becoming more sophisticated, organized and dangerous and that “lawlessness” will ensue if the extension is not granted until September 2022.
“It is up to this court to restore law and order to South Vancouver Island,” said Dean Dalke. “If there is no court order, the blockades will be there.”
Nearly 1,000 people have been arrested in the Fairy Creek area, north of Port Renfrew, since May when the RCMP began enforcing an earlier court order from the British Columbia Supreme Court against blockades erected in various areas near the sites. felling.
Dalke said the blockades are hampering the company’s legal rights to harvest timber and alleged that the protesters’ actions pose dangers to employees and the RCMP.
He said the number of protesters in the area ranges from 100 to 500 people, as a bus service brings supporters to the area on weekends.
Dalke said the protest is organized through the use of social media, adding that a helicopter drops supplies at people who camped deep in the forest.
He said protesters have set spikes on roads, chained themselves to gates, sometimes dug themselves in trenches or clung to trees in an effort to thwart police who are enforcing the court order.
“These are clearly designed to thwart the enforcement of the RCMP,” Dalke said. “This is what the RCMP has faced since May 18, and it has been getting worse.”
The Teal Cedar court order is one of several civil court requests being heard this week in Nanaimo.
The RCMP has asked the court to extend search and access powers in the warrant area, and several citizens representing the protesters, known as the Rainforest Flying Squad, are asking the court to determine that the Mounties’ enforcement actions have been illegal.
Teal Cedar Products is petitioning the British Columbia court for a one-year extension of the injunction in Fairy Creek. #OldGrowth #FairyCreek
This Canadian Press report was first published on September 14, 2021.