Block A on Saturna Island Indian Reserve No. 7 where three community members and some Saturna residents were protesting the logging of Tsawout land. (Courtesy of Perry LaFortune)

Logging halts as Tsawout leadership launches legal action against members of their community

Indigenous Services Canada to send inspectors amid fractious climate

Amid a situation where Tsawout leadership have served their own protesting community members with injunctions, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) announced they will send inspectors to the disputed logging site on Saturna Island.

Tsawout leadership and some community members have been locked in an acrimonious stand-off over their decision to log a large portion of band land on Saturna Island.

RELATED: Video shows logging operation on disputed Saturna Island land

Feb. 26, Tsawout leadership secured a permit to log 33,477 cubic metres of community land co-owned by Tseycum First Nation on Saturna Island Indian Reserve No. 7.

The land was split into three blocks with the expectation that once the zones were logged, the bands would receive around $2.5 million. Tsawout leadership planned half these funds to go to their partners, the Tseycum, and the rest would go towards building a much-needed long house.

Members of the community who use the land for fishing, hunting and medicine gathering were dismayed at these decisions, after they were made with little consultation and no warning, and three people occupied the site.

Block A has so far been 80 per cent cleared but the protesting community members managed to halt work on blocks B and C.

RELATED: Bitter Saturna land-use dispute highlights legal grey areas

Tuesday, March 26, Mavis Underwood a Tsawout councillor, reported that the three unhappy community members who had occupied the site, were served with injunctions that prohibited them from being on site to disrupt the logging. She said injunctions had also been secured against anyone else protesting in the future.

“We [then] met the three individuals. They don’t have a mandate or speak for the community but we made concessions to them as we need to get the timber off Island to fulfill our contract,” she said.

“We are concerned we don’t have direct communication with Tseycum, and it was their request to complete the contract,” said Underwood.

Underwood stated that at the meeting the three main protestors agreed to cease operations on site if tree falling didn’t continue. She says that, for now, there are no plans to continue logging blocks B and C. She added that her main concerns now are theft from the work site and protecting band staff who have received online harassment.

RELATED: Tsawout councillor visits Saturna to meet logging protestors

The picture remains confusing for those involved. Daniel Claxton, one of the community members served with an injunction said he was unsure if it had been rescinded after hearing news to that effect today. If he does not receive confirmation he expects to be in court on Monday morning. He reiterated that his only motivation is to preserve the land for his children and future grandchildren.

In this climate and amid accusations that culturally significant burial sites and trees have been destroyed, ISC have agreed to send inspectors to the site.

“In consultation with the Tsawout and Tseycum First Nations and the project proponent, Chemainus Forest Products, the Department is considering an appropriate date for a site visit,” William Olscamp, a media relations spokesperson for ISC wrote in an email.

In a further twist, Wednesday, supporters on Saturna Island set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for the protesting community members’ legal defence fees, and raised over $15,000 in just a few hours.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

First Nations

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-inspired RV sales soaring on West Shore and beyond

Health restrictions, recommendations keep Vancouver Island vacationers closer to home

UPDATE: Pedestrian injured in collision on Hillside Avenue

Traffic impacted between Douglas and Blanshard streets

‘Just being stupid’: Premier slams abusive customers at Langford restaurant

Restaurant said rude customers reduced its hosts to tears

Turf replacement installed at Oak Bay High

New Astroturf will be ready for school, sports still cancelled

371 British Columbians battling COVID-19, health officials confirm

Thursday (Aug. 6) saw a second straight day of nearly 50 new confirmed cases

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should it be mandatory to wear masks when out in public?

B.C. is witnessing an alarming rise in the number of cases of… Continue reading

COVID-19 tests come back negative for remote First Nation

“There are no suspected cases in the community at this time.”

Visitors and non-residents entering closed remote B.C. First Nation’s territories

With limited resources, they say they don’t have any authority or power to enforce the closures

UBC loses appeal on Fisheries Act convictions

BC Supreme Court upholds order to pay $1.55-million fine

Masks to be mandatory on BC Transit, TransLink starting Aug. 24

Both BC Transit and TransLink made the announcement in separate press releases on Thursday

Acclaimed B.C. actor Brent Carver passes away

Carver, one of Canada’s greatest actors with a career spanning 40 years, passed away at home in Cranbrook

B.C. would not send students back to school if there was ‘overwhelming risk’: Horgan

Plan has left many parents across the province worried about their children’s safety

Most Read