Protesters gather at Victoria courthouse as injunction on old-growth logging heard
Activists gathered outside the provincial courthouse in Victoria on Thursday, protesting an injunction that would end months of blockades against logging activity near Port Renfrew: March 4, 2021 (CTV News)
VICTORIA -- Activists gathered outside the provincial courthouse in Victoria on Thursday, protesting an injunction application that would end months of blockades against logging activity near Port Renfrew.
Forestry company Teal-Jones filed an application for the injunction to remove blockades from two sites in the area until at least Sept 4.
The injunction application was being heard in Vancouver but protesters in Victoria gathered in solidarity with a similar protest group at the Vancouver courthouse.
The blockaders were granted a three-week reprieve Thursday after the judge allowed more time for the activists' lawyers to assemble materials for their defence. The extension is in place until March 26.
In a release Thursday, protesters said that their lawyers were working on a strategy that argues that the damage caused to the ecosystem and sacred Pacheedat places by logging in the area outweighs the economic damages that Teal-Jones would incur.
"We need laws that protect the last old-growth forests, biodiversity and endangered species not the use of the law to prosecute people standing up for them," reads the release.
Protesters have been blocking access roads to the Fairy Creek area near Port Renfrew, where Teal-Jones holds tree farm licence.
Much of the region is old-growth forest and activists say if the injunction is granted, “civil disobedience may be the only defence of this precious forest ecosystem.”
Last week, more than 100 demonstrators gathered at the constituency office of Premier John Horgan to call for an end to logging in the area.
“Faith Creek, to me and my uncles and grandfather, was and is a spiritual place where we used to go and pray and meditate,” said Pacheedaht First Nation elder Bill Jones. “The creeks there, Renfrew Creek and Fairy Creek, are cleansing creeks, so they are spiritually important to the Pacheedaht First Nation.”
On Feb. 22, a group calling themselves “forest defenders” also protested at Horgan’s office, demanding an end to logging in the Fairy Creek area.