Organizers say some 40 people rallied in downtown Sidney on Saturday to show their solidarity with protesters opposing the logging of old growth trees in the Fairy Creek area near Port Renfrew and elsewhere.
The afternoon rally between 2 and 3 p.m. saw protesters spread across the four corners of the intersection of Beacon Ave and Fifth Street, perhaps the most visible and busiest intersection in downtown Sidney.
The group waved hand-crafted placards, which expressed support for individuals blocking logging roads in the Fairy Creek watershed (as well as central Walbran Valley) and called on the provincial government to end the historical but controversial practice of old-growth logging.
This action preceded a comparable expression of sympathy for the Fairy Creek protesters from the highway overpass near the intersection of McDonald Park Road and Highway 17.
RCMP continue to enforce a court injunction issued in April that grants forestry company Teal-Jones access to the site after logging opponents had blocked access dating back to August of 2020. Police have arrested approximately 170 people including some multiple times since the start of enforcement.
The site has turned into a flashpoint of competing demands from environmentalists lamenting the continuous loss of shrinking old-growth forest ecosystems and from forest companies favouring the high-quality wood from those very same areas.
The dispute with its familiar ecological-economic fault line has also become a testing ground for relations between the Crown and Aboriginal interests.
A trio of First Nations this week asked the province to defer old-growth logging in the Fairy Creek area as well as central Walbran Valley. Premier John Horgan said his government would consider the request, but also said earlier they would not order such a moratorium, describing it as “another colonial imposition” on First Nations, some of which have distanced themselves from the activists.
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