Civil Disobedience Stops the Chainsaws

Sat, 16 Feb 2008

A small but spirited group put their freedom and safety on the line today to stop the work crews that are destroying rare ecosystems and First Nations sites on Vancouver Island.

About 40 people turned out at noon in Langford, BC and marched up the highway to view the destruction. Two dozen or so were inspired to scramble over the fresh-cut trees and stand in front of the yarders and excavators that were working. All four machines had to be shut down. The handful of police on the scene made no arrests and issued no warnings.

After stopping the machines, many of us made our way through the stumps and slash to Langford Lake Cave, which has a huge mass of rebar crisscrossed over the entrance like a drunken spider web. The second entrance has a triangular steel cap welded over it. The forest was cut down to within a few meters of the cave entrances.


Langford Lake Cave with rebar welded across it and drilled into the rock around the entrance. On Saturday, ferns and oregon grape leaves were placed in the grate at the four directions. (Photo: R. Bowen.)

We found the spot where the camp kitchen had stood, and we were able to salvage much of the food, camping gear, and personal belongings that were piled up and left on the site.

Without a medium-sized army of RCMP and special forces to back them up, the contractors had no choice but to give up and go home. The police forces withdrew on Friday evening, and one officer said the operation had required 300 personnel in rotating shifts on patrol, command and communications. We estimate the operation cost $5000 an hour for the 60 hours or so the officers were on the ground. The question of who is picking up the tab has not been answered.

We have raised the cost of aggressive development on the Island. If the greedy thugs want to force through this kind of horrific, destructive project, they will have to call in the army. Otherwise, we will stop them.

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