Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)

VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Logging in TFL 44 on Vancouver Island has halted following an incident between forestry contractors and activists. The incident comes one day after Huu-ay-aht First Nations announced they have purchased more interest in the tree farm licence through a partnership with Western Forest Products.

John Jack, a director with Huumiis Ventures. Ltd., (part of the TFL 44 limited partnership), said the encounter took place “somewhere in the Carmanah Walbran region” between protesters and a contractor.

“It wasn’t Western employees,” he said.

The Rainforest Flying Squad, which has been vocal in its protests against logging in Fairy Creek, posted on Instagram about “multiple acts of violence towards Indigenous people” at blockades in Pacheedaht and Ditidaht First Nations territories.

Western Forest Products posted a brief statement on social media stating that “safety is Western’s number one priority.” The company acknowledged that an incident took place between a contractor working for the TFL 44 limited partnership between Western and Huumiis Ventures Ltd., and confirmed TFL 44 LP had “paused” operations while an investigation takes place.

Jack said TFL 44 LP is calling for an independent investigation into the incident, which was caught on video. Workers can be seen swearing at activists, telling them to go back to Victoria and take their tents back to the city. One worker threatened a person recording the exchange, knocking a smartphone out of the person’s hand and onto the ground. Audio of a brief scuffle can be heard with someone saying “grab that phone.”

On May 6, Western Forest Products CEO Don Demens released a statement condemning the actions in the video.

“Safety is our highest priority at Western and that includes ensuring an environment free of violence and racism,” said the statement. “What I viewed in the video footage involving contractors on May 4, 2021 does not reflect who we are as a company. Any form of racism or violence is not tolerated at Western, including within the TFL 44 Limited Partnership.”

He added, “Western has a long and proud history of working to build strong relationships with First Nations and communities. The attitudes and actions of those involved in this incident contradicts our core values of safety, integrity and building mutually beneficial relationships, and will not be condoned.”

Jack has asked for a third party to investigate the incident. Harvesting in the area has been halted to show all parties that Huumiis Ventures is taking this incident seriously, he added. “We have heard the possibility of there being violence there and that’s part of the reason why we wanted things to be halted.”

He said the RCMP and WorksafeBC have both been notified of the incident and the contractor has been instructed to conduct its own investigation of the incident.

READ ALSO: Fairy Creek protesters add province to legal appeal to extend blockade

READ ALSO: Protesters defy court order, stage Easter weekend logging blockades near Cowichan Lake

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

forestryvancouverisland

Just Posted

Comox town hall. Black Press file photo
Comox looking at the future of transportation in the town

Council adopted the 2020 Transportation Master Plan Update

On Monday, June 14, 40 Knots Winery presented the We Can Shelter Project with a cheque for $5,000. Pictured, from left - We Can Shelter Society secretary Sue Finneron, We Can Shelter treasurer Ann Scott, 40 Knots Winery co-owner Brenda Hetman-Craig, and Charlene Davis, president of the We Can Shelter Society. Photo supplied
Comox Valley Winery makes major contribution to housing initiative

40 Knots Winery commits to purchasing a unit for We Can Shelter Society

Brooklyn Elementary was able to get its expanded garden ready this spring. Photo by Comox Valley Schools
Comox Valley school garden in full bloom after setback

Along with COVID delays, Brooklyn Elementary project had lumber stolen in 2020

CVSAR search the Puntledge River following a report of an abandoned kayak. Photo, CVSAR Facebook page
Comox Valley Search and Rescue spends four hours searching for no one

Overturned kayak a reminder for public to contact officials if they have to abandon a watercraft

Little Brown Bat, Cori Lausen image
Puntledge River bats being studied

Project will use ultrasonic data to collect information on species and habitat

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says re-opening B.C.’s border to the U.S. ‘is not in our best interest’ right now. (B.C. Government photo)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry (B.C. Government photo)
B.C. records 113 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, four deaths

Vaccination of young people rising quickly, near 75 per cent

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and U.S President Joe Biden shake hands during their meeting at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko, Pool)
Biden says meeting with Putin not a ‘kumbaya moment’

But U.S. president asserted Russian leader is interested in improved relations, averting a Cold War

Marine biologist Rick Harbo pulls a lid from the Ladysmith harbour, which he uses to monitor the presence of native and non-native species in the Ladysmith harbour. (Cole Schisler photo)
Unidentified sponge may be the latest marine species invading Island harbour

Marine biologist finding dozens of alien species in warm-water Ladysmith Harbour, none threatening

Island Health is bringing a vaccination clinic to Lake Cowichan starting June 23. (Submitted)
Island Health opening COVID-19 vaccine clinic to boost lagging Cowichan Lake numbers

Cowichan Valley West the only Island area under 60 per cent in adult first dose totals

For more than a year, Rene Doyharcabal and a small group of neighbours in Langley’s Brookswood neighbourhood have been going out every evening to show support for first responders by honking horns and banging pots and drums. Now, a neighbour has filed a noise complaint. (Langley Advance Times file)
Noise complaint filed against nightly show of support for health care workers in B.C. city

Langley Township contacted group to advise of complaint, but no immediate action is expected

Most Read