A community that relies on the logging industry and which has been impacted by recent protests on southern Vancouver Island rallied along the Pacific Marine Circle route — the most direct access between the north Island and Port Renfrew — on Saturday.
Dozens of loggers and their friends and family members, as well as other people who work in the forest industry, showed up in Mesachie Lake to wave signs and voice their opposition to the protests against old-growth logging in the Fairy Creek and Caycuse areas.
“We’re here to support our families and the logging industry itself,” Lake Cowichan logger Brock Harrison.
“We’re not here to protest anybody or do anything illegal. We just want to have our word out there, and for people to listen and hear.”
Supporters came to Mesachie Lake from across the Island, including Courtenay, Campbell River, Gold River, Zeballos and Port McNeill.
“We’re out here promoting logging and loggers and defending the logging industry in British Columbia, which at the present time is under assault from environmentalists,” said Charlie Forrester, a member of the BC Forestry Association from Campbell River.
“We’re here to represent the facts and truths about logging, not misinformation and lies, which is coming from the environmental side.”
For the most part, the rally was met with support or indifference from travellers driving past, although some responded with offensive language and gestures.
Protesters had organized convoys to the Fairy Creek area from Victoria and Duncan for Saturday. Vehicles from Duncan would have had to drive through Mesachie Lake on their way to Fairy Creek.
Beyond the impact on jobs in the Cowichan Lake area, which includes the community of Mesachie Lake, protesters have been camping out across the street from the Lake Cowichan RCMP detachment, where all arrests from Caycuse and Fairy Creek are being processed.
Residents have reported that protesters have been driving noisily through the town at all hours of the night, and have been seen bathing in a fountain in Central Park.
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