Protesters opposing the logging of ancient trees on Vancouver Island accuse a logging company and the RCMP of dishonest tactics at the site of long-standing blockades near Port Renfrew.
Protest group The Rainforest Flying Squad claims that the tow trucks have illegally removed more than 40 vehicles from the area and were impounded, at a cost of $ 2,500 to return.
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The group is now taking the Teal-Jones logging company to court over the issue.
“Of course, if these vehicles block the roads, then they have the right to tow and try to get damages,” attorney Noah Ross told Global News.
“But the vehicles my clients are proceeding to court for were not blocking the roads and I assume we are in court because of that disagreement.”
The protesters say that in addition to being illegal, the towing and seizure fees charged are punitive.
“$ 2,500 is a lot of money for anyone to pay, and honestly, the car is probably not even worth that much,” said a protester who identified himself as Bozosapien.
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Teal-Jones defended the fees to Global News, saying that removing vehicles from the Fairy Creek blockade site was not the same as towing a car in the city.
“The cost of recovering vehicles reflects the expense of towing vehicles out of a remote area, storage and security, and the damage done to Teal-Jones,” the company said in a statement.
It comes as a BC Supreme Court judge hears arguments about whether or not a court order should be issued against protesters trying to stop Teal-Jones from cutting down their logging license in the area.
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The company has requested a one-year extension to the injunction, which currently expires on September 26.
On Thursday, Judge Douglas Thompson said he would consider new options to address the future of the injunction and expressed concern about the conflict between police and protesters at the site since Mounties began enforcing the order in May.
“Maybe the one thing everyone agrees on right now is that what is being done is not working,” said Thompson, who ordered the attorneys to come to court Friday prepared to discuss the structure of the the court order.
Around 1,000 people have been arrested at the site so far.
– with Canadian Press files
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