Photograph courtesy of Rain Forest Flying Squad Facebook page
The RCMP is now restricting access to the Fairy Creek watershed near Port Renfrew as it prepares to enforce a court order to end the blockade of logging road construction.
The RCMP says a control zone has been created to limit access to the area for the time needed to allow Teal-Cedar Products to resume operations.
A checkpoint has been set up at the McClure Forest Service Road and access into the Fairy Creek watershed will be restricted.
The RCMP says a designated space for protesters and other observers will be set up within the injunction area but outside of the access control zone.
According to police, the location will allow for peaceful and safe protests and be will be visible.
On April 1, 2021, the BC Supreme Court approved an application by Teal Cedar to have the blockades established by anti-old growth logging protesters removed.
The first blockade of logging road construction into Fairy Creek was set up by the Rainforest Flying Squad in August.
The RCMP released a list of procedures for the checkpoint:
- Vehicles attempting to enter the access control area will be stopped, occupants will be provided a copy of the injunction order and, unless they meet below noted criteria, will not be permitted into the area.
- Occupants requesting entry will be required to state their purpose and provide identification. Permission to enter must come from the RCMP Operations Commander or delegate.
The people permitted into the area would generally include:
- All Hereditary and Elected Chiefs of the Pacheedaht and/or Ditidaht Nations;
- Elected and other Government Officials;
- Journalists from recognized media outlets. These persons will be accompanied by representatives from BC RCMP Communication Services. Reasonable efforts will be made to provide recognized media outlets access to the enforcement area;
- Lawyers recognized as practicing members of the Law Society of British Columbia, having a valid Law Society card with identification number;
- Medical Doctors registered with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia, having a valid Registrant card with identification number;
- Other persons as approved by the RCMP Operations Commander or delegate.
- Any person permitted into the access control area must be accompanied by a police officer unless authorized to enter alone by the RCMP Operations Commander or delegate.
The RCMP warns that people committing acts that breach the injunction order, or are believed to have breached that order, as well as people refusing to leave the access control area, will be arrested.
The Rain Forest Flying Squad has been making preparations for police enforcement of the injunction and has called for supporters to join them at the blockades.
Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau has urged the NDP in the past to avoid confrontation and find a way to ensure the last intact valley of rain forest on southern Vancouver Island is protected.
She says Premier John Horgan had promised in the election campaign that he would implement all recommendations of the old-growth review panel.
She says the experts that conducted the review were clear about the need “to consider biodiversity, ecosystem health, water protection, other values including tourism and recreation.”
However, Furstenau has stated the province operates “with one value, and that is the extraction of timber for its value.”