Tue. May 24th, 2022

A BC Court of Appeal judge has issued a temporary injunction at a logging site on southern Vancouver Island, where protesters, police and lumberjacks have been at loggerheads for more than a year.

Mrs. Judge Sunni Stromberg-Stein cited the potential financial harm to Teal Jones if there was no injunction as justification for her decision Friday afternoon.

Lawyers for Teal Jones appeared in court Friday to argue for a temporary ban on blocking old-fashioned logging on southern Vancouver Island, while the company appealed a Supreme Court ruling last week that put an end to its original injunction.

In September, BC Supreme Court Justice Douglas Thompson denied an application to extend an injunction against blocking old-fashioned deforestation at Fairy Creek, which had been in place since April, saying actions by RCMP officers endangered the court’s reputation and violated civil liberties.

Teal Jones appealed that decision within days, but its lawyers said Friday that the company needs a temporary injunction while the appeal goes through the courts to avoid “irreparable harm.”

Attorney Dean Dalke said the company needs quick access to the area so workers can overwinter roads to prevent flushing, harvest $ 1.27 million worth of felled timber before it worsens in the bush and harvest additional timber to hold its mills running and avoid job losses before it is “too late.”

Dalke said blockades have “spread” since the RCMP left the area in late September.

Protesters pictured celebrating after a judge decided to lift the injunction that had been in place since April. (Ken Mizokoshi / CBC)

“Police have made incredible progress towards the end of the order to dismantle the blockades, and much of that work has now been put back and in some cases put back to zero,” Dalke told the court.

Dalke said police would return to the area and restart enforcement if a temporary injunction was issued.

“Which really is the only hope for Teal Cedar to avoid irreparable harm pending the appeal,” the lawyer added.

But Matthew Nefstead, who represents members of the Rainforest Flying Squad, said police remain in the area even after the injunction ended.

“The state of lawlessness which the appellant feared would become a reality after the expiry of the injunction has not materialized,” Nestead said.

“Enforcement priorities may have changed, but the RCMP is still very much present on the ground, it still arrests those who commit criminal acts, and it still facilitates access for the appellant and its contractors to carry out their work.”

Thompson’s ruling last month acknowledged that the absence of an injunction could cause serious harm to the company’s interests and the rule of law, but said the factors in favor of extending the ban were offset by “the public interest in protecting the court from the risk of further deterioration. his reputation. “

Justice also wrote that the interaction between protesters and police has been largely respectful and non-violent, even though there have been more than 1,000 arrests at Fairy Creek since the original injunction went into effect.

BC Premier John Horgan announced in June that the province would postpone old growth for two years in Fairy Creek as well as in the central Walbran area.

But the Rainforest Flying Squad says old forests outside the depleted areas still risk being logged.

A court date for the appeal is set for 15 November.

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