By Red Power Media, Staff
Landowners and First Nations protesters end 62 day blockade
Protesters at the Rocky Mountain Fort camp ended their two-month occupation blocking Site C dam construction, after a judge ruled in favor of BC Hydro’s application for an injunction to remove them from the area.
Landowners and First Nations protesters had until midnight Monday, to vacate and make way for an $8.8 billion dam on the Peace River.
The British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that the protest camp had prevented site-clearing operations by BC Hydro contractors since December 31, costing millions of dollars in project delays.
“BC Hydro has the legal authority to do what it is doing and the defendants have no legal rights to obstruct it,” an attorney for the province-owned utility told the court on Monday.
“At this time, none of us are going to be arrested, because we are law abiding citizens,” said local farmer Arlene Boon, who has been camping in the snow at the protest site for 32 days.
Yvonne Tupper, a land occupier with the Treaty 8 Tribal Association, said the protest’s end was bittersweet. “We bought that small chunk of land another 62 days of life,” she said. “When you understand your relationship to the land, it tells you where your place is.”
Today, Boon said people in camp are crying and emotional, as they pack up and dismantle cabins, lean-tos, and tents and load supplies on to snowmobiles and boats.
Protesters said the RCMP gave camp occupants a few days grace to pack up and clear out.
Tupper says what can’t be moved straight away are some of the cabins, which will be airlifted out of the area at BC Hydro’s expense.
The Site C dam in Northeast British Columbia received both provincial and federal approval.
The Supreme Court ruling came as Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gets ready for this week’s meeting with provincial premiers in Vancouver.
On Thursday, Trudeau will gather with provincial and territorial premiers for a first ministers meeting — the second one he will attend since his Liberal government came to power last fall — to begin figuring out how Canada will live up to the agreement it signed at the United Nations climate conference in Paris last year.
Trudeau is expected to unveil a green energy initiative.