Supporters of old-growth logging protesters gathered in front of the Courtenay Court House at lunchtime Friday to deliver a message to the provincial government.
They were responding to arrests of blockade members trying to stop logging of old-growth logging in the Fairy Creek watershed. Police had been enforcing an injunction during the week. Teal-Cedar, part of the Teal Jones Group, was granted the injunction in B.C. Supreme Court in April.
“Things are heating up in the War in the Woods 2.0,” said Megan Ardyche of Save Our Forest Team — Comox Valley (SOFT)
In front of a crowd of about 50 people, speakers at the rally included local organizers from SOFT as well as others who have gone to help at the blockage. Many of the speeches touched on familiar points, such as wanting to protect the remaining old-growth stands on Vancouver Island and in the province.
Some said people are being arrested at sites at Caycuse River that are not included in the injunction. Others who went south to help the blockade said the police prevented them from getting in, even while they were still five kilometres from camp.
Pat Tapper, who has gone a few times, said the people at the blockade need support from others and encouraged anyone with the time to go to the scene.
“They’re just struggling. They’re just suffering,” she said. “We need to help them.”
After the speakers, Gillian Anderson, one of the local organizers, led the crowd on a march to MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard’s office, amid the bluster and thump of horn and drum. They gathered outside the office, while Anderson tried to deliver an open letter to Leonard, although the MLA was not in. Anderson said a staff member told her they were not to answer the door due to safety concerns.
She said they are not trying to stop logging but want to see the industry transition to logging second- and third-growth forests, as well as have the provincial government follow panel recommendations.
“They’re making a cabinet decision to ignore the old-growth review,” she said.