RCMP is enforcing the injunction against the Fairy Creek blockade that has prevented access to the Fairy Creek Watershed area since August 2020.
The blockade has been the focal point of a wider discussion on old-growth logging in the province. Blockaders, who formed into a group they call the Rainforest Flying Squad, say they are protecting the last intact stand of old-growth in the province.
Licence holder Teal-Cedar Projects, a member of the Teal Jones Group, was granted the injunction April 1 by the B.C. Supreme Court, where Justice Frits Verhoeven ruled that the protesters’ argument was with the government, not Teal Jones, and therefore their blockade was illegal.
Protesters will be allowed to remain in a designated area “to allow for peaceful, lawful and safe protest and be visible to employees of Teal-Cedar Products, their contractors, the police and media,” the RCMP said in a statement Monday morning.
But any persons who breach the injunction order will be arrested, according to the release.
RCMP said they took the intervening weeks to plan how to enforce the injunction in such a remote area. Fairy Creek is near Port Renfrew, approximately two hours outside of Victoria on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
“We also took into consideration the unpredictable nature of what we could face in the remote area, and so we are deploying additional police resources with specialized skills to provide support,” the RCMP wrote.
As of May 17, they have established a temporary checkpoint to control access down the McClure Forest Service Road, which leads into the Fairy Creek Watershed.
Hereditary and elected chiefs from the Pacheedaht and Ditidaht First Nations will be allowed in, RCMP said.
Meanwhile, the Rainforest Flying Squad has appealed the injunction, arguing the court erred by determining consideration of the logging permit outweighed “public interest in preserving the few remaining old-growth forests in British Columbia.”
They added the B.C. government as a third party, hoping that will allow them to raise a claim about charter rights and to involve government commitments Rainforest Flying Squad claims are being neglected.
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