Protesters opposed to logging of old-growth forests blocked the entrance to Western Forest Products this morning, Dec. 2, but trucks are now coming and going again at the mill.
Robert Fuller — a spokesperson for the protesters — said that the group is not opposed to logging in general, but specifically opposes the logging of old growth forests on Vancouver Island.
“We don’t have a problem with people working in forestry, we just want it done in a more responsible, sustainable manner.”
Fuller said the protest was only meant to last for December 2; however he did not rule out further protest action in the future. The protesters did not identify themselves as belonging to any group. They said they were part of a collective of concerned citizens from across Vancouver Island.
“We want to stop the exploitation and extraction of our old growth forests,” Fuller said.
The blockade held for nearly two hours. Traffic was backed up along Ludlow Road, causing frustration among drivers. One driver behind the wheel of a white Mercedes weaved his vehicle through protesters. No protesters were injured, and the driver was ticketed for driving without due care under the Motor Vehicle Act.
Ladysmith RCMP cleared the blockade after threatening to arrest protesters and charge them with mischief under section 430 of the criminal code.
“Everybody has the right to peaceful protest, you just have to do it lawfully,” Ladysmith RCMP Staff Sgt. Wes Olsen said. “When you block traffic you’re committing mischief. They decided they were going to unblock the road, and that’s fine with me.”
After the blockade was cleared, protesters were allowed to remain on the sidewalk as long as they maintained social distancing. The protesters decided to leave the area and return another day.
Protestors opted to take down the blockade. Trucks are rolling back in. pic.twitter.com/4zkfyfqygb— Cole Schisler (@SchislerCole) December 2, 2020
People protesting logging of old-growth forests blocked the entrance to the Teal-Jones Forest Ltd. log-sort operation in Nanaimo two months ago; that protest resulted in an arrest.