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

Brodie Stuart and her mom, Mikel Stuart, gather for the celebration at Parkview Elementary on June 18, 2021. (Zachary Roman - Eagle Valley News)
Three Shuswap parents honoured for combined 34 years of volunteering

Parkview Elementary parent advisory council members surprised by appreciative flash mob

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

Centennial Field in Blind Bay will be the site of Market by the Bay on Thursday nights starting June 24, 2021. (Columbia Shuswap Regional District photo)
Forty vendors expected for new Market by the Bay in the South Shuswap

Market starting June 24 to be situated at Centennial Field in Blind Bay

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to collect donations ahead of Kristy Handel’s 33-kilometre run for Chelaine McInroy (pictured) to cover costs for a new prosthetic leg after her June 12, 2021, surgery. (GoFundMe)
Salmon Arm woman runs to raise funds for friend’s new prosthetic leg

33-kilometre Run for Chelaine to help athlete cover medical costs from latest surgery

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read