Cindy E. Harnett / Times Colonist – June 13, 2022 / 10:30 a.m. | History: 371740
An activist blocking the northbound lanes of the Pat Bay Highway near the Swartz Bay ferry terminal early Monday was taken to hospital after a confrontation with a driver, say protesters mobilizing against logging old.
Organizer Sophia Papp said a “frustrated” driver broke a support beam on a platform holding a protester. “He was 12ft tall so this person fell on his head and was taken to Victoria General Hospital,” she said. Sidney-North Saanich RCMP were on scene and could not be reached for comment.
According to protesters, the man broke the support beam leaving the scene, but his license plate was taped and video of the event was taken, Papp said. Police have not confirmed the event.
Save Old Growth blocked northbound traffic on the highway at 5:45 a.m. as part of their ongoing efforts to push for legislation to immediately end all old-growth logging in the province.
“I am deeply saddened and extremely upset,” Papp said. “I understand the frustration of people stuck in traffic, but compared to the destruction of climate change, it pales in comparison,” she said.
Papp pointed to the more than 600 people who died in British Columbia in last summer’s heat dome and the animals killed by last year’s flooding, the result of climate change.
She said road disruptions will continue until the provincial government promises or passes legislation to protect BC’s old-growth forests.
“I don’t want to be here,” she said from the blockade. “I want the protection of our ancient forests and I will leave here.”
At the blockade, two people were trapped in a vehicle by piping in the trunk, while on another part of the road, one person’s arm was in a tube through an oil drum filled with cement. At 7:30 a.m., a protester was sitting in a police car.
At 7:40 a.m., DriveBC warned drivers to expect significant delays between exit 28 at Beacon Avenue in Sidney and exit 31 at North Saanich.
In April, Forests Minister Katrine Conroy said the BC government had worked with First Nations to postpone logging on more than a million hectares of old growth forest at risk of permanent loss.
Logging of an additional 619,000 hectares of old-growth forest has been deferred at the request of First Nations to protect wildlife habitat, species at risk, salmon populations and cultural practices, Conroy said.
The minister said more than 80% of ancient forests identified as being at risk of irreversible loss are currently not threatened by logging, either because they have been carried forward, have already been set aside or ‘they are not economically viable to harvest.