Old-growth forest activists to appeal B.C. court injunction against Fairy Creek blockades
A group of activists maintaining blockades aimed at preventing old-growth trees from being logged have filed a notice to appeal a British Columbia Supreme Court decision that granted an injunction against them.
The Rainforest Flying Squad argues the court erred when it granted Teal-Jones Group an injunction against the blockades set up to prevent the company from accessing parts of its forest tenure on Vancouver Island.
A notice filed this week with the B.C. Court of Appeal requests a hearing to argue the decision by Justice Frits Verhoeven should be set aside, and claims that he failed to properly balance public interest in the case.
It asserts Verhoeven erred in determining that the province's decision to approve a cutting permit comprising part of the Fairy Creek watershed northeast of Port Renfrew was a policy consideration that outweighs the public interest in preserving remaining old-growth forests in B.C.
Verhoeven had said in his April 1 written decision that the preservation of old-growth forests is a matter of public policy to be decided by government, while the public interest at stake was upholding the rule of law.
The notice also asserts he erred in allowing police to enforce the injunction, though the Rainforest Flying Squad says there have been no arrests so far.
Verhoeven had determined that police enforcement terms would be required, writing that it appeared unlikely the injunction would otherwise be respected by the blockaders who first set up camps last August.
The blockades are designed to interfere with Teal's work and influence the province over its policies on old-growth logging, he said.
The notice to appeal claims Verhoeven erred in several areas when applying the balance of convenience test, which he describes in his judgment as considering “which of the parties would suffer greater harm” from the granting or refusal of a court-ordered remedy.
“The public interest in this case far outweighs the profit-making ability of a single entity and government,” the group said in a statement Thursday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 29, 2021.