Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)

VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Logging in TFL 44 on Vancouver Island has halted following an incident between forestry contractors and activists. The incident comes one day after Huu-ay-aht First Nations announced they have purchased more interest in the tree farm licence through a partnership with Western Forest Products.

John Jack, a director with Huumiis Ventures. Ltd., (part of the TFL 44 limited partnership), said the encounter took place “somewhere in the Carmanah Walbran region” between protesters and a contractor.

“It wasn’t Western employees,” he said.

The Rainforest Flying Squad, which has been vocal in its protests against logging in Fairy Creek, posted on Instagram about “multiple acts of violence towards Indigenous people” at blockades in Pacheedaht and Ditidaht First Nations territories.

Western Forest Products posted a brief statement on social media stating that “safety is Western’s number one priority.” The company acknowledged that an incident took place between a contractor working for the TFL 44 limited partnership between Western and Huumiis Ventures Ltd., and confirmed TFL 44 LP had “paused” operations while an investigation takes place.

Jack said TFL 44 LP is calling for an independent investigation into the incident, which was caught on video. Workers can be seen swearing at activists, telling them to go back to Victoria and take their tents back to the city. One worker threatened a person recording the exchange, knocking a smartphone out of the person’s hand and onto the ground. Audio of a brief scuffle can be heard with someone saying “grab that phone.”

On May 6, Western Forest Products CEO Don Demens released a statement condemning the actions in the video.

“Safety is our highest priority at Western and that includes ensuring an environment free of violence and racism,” said the statement. “What I viewed in the video footage involving contractors on May 4, 2021 does not reflect who we are as a company. Any form of racism or violence is not tolerated at Western, including within the TFL 44 Limited Partnership.”

He added, “Western has a long and proud history of working to build strong relationships with First Nations and communities. The attitudes and actions of those involved in this incident contradicts our core values of safety, integrity and building mutually beneficial relationships, and will not be condoned.”

Jack has asked for a third party to investigate the incident. Harvesting in the area has been halted to show all parties that Huumiis Ventures is taking this incident seriously, he added. “We have heard the possibility of there being violence there and that’s part of the reason why we wanted things to be halted.”

He said the RCMP and WorksafeBC have both been notified of the incident and the contractor has been instructed to conduct its own investigation of the incident.

READ ALSO: Fairy Creek protesters add province to legal appeal to extend blockade

READ ALSO: Protesters defy court order, stage Easter weekend logging blockades near Cowichan Lake

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

forestryvancouverisland

Just Posted

A new report pegs the annual cost of hiring a third party to monitor use of pickleball courts in North Saanich at $12,000. (Black Press Media file photo).
North Saanich could end up hiring third party to monitor pickleball courts

Other options up for consideration include use of cameras and timed locks

The barred owl is the most likely to be spotted in the south Island. (Ann Nightingale photo)
Barred owls dominate Greater Victoria owl-scape

Western screech owl population decimated, partly due to barred owls

Between June 1 and 7, 168 net unconditional sales were made for properties in the VREB region. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria home sales slightly behind last June’s pace

Benchmark value of single-family home in Greater Victoria tops $1 million

Police monitor protesters at a blockade in the Fairy Creek area of southwestern Vancouver Island on Wednesday, June 9. (Facebook photo)
8 old-growth logging protesters arrested in Fairy Creek watershed Friday

A total of 214 people have been arrested as of June 11

VicPd are asking for the public’s help in finding Camper, a lost pit bull who ran away after their owner’s van was reportedly attacked by a man with a hammer on June 12. (Courtesy of VicPD)
Edmonton man reportedly smashes van’s windows with hammer while woman and her dog inside

VicPD are asking for help to find Camper, the woman’s dog who ran away during the Friday incident

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Most Read