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

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van burst into flames just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Kids from a MOSS Sailing Camp sail just off Canal Waterfront Park in Alberni Inlet during a day camp in August 2014. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)
MOSS Sailing camps return to Alberni Valley

One-week camps designed for kids will take place at Sproat Lake

Robert Gunn of Alberni Climate Action loads garbage discovered in the Alberni Inlet around Cous Creek into his canoe during a recent ocean shoreline cleanup. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Alberni Climate Action group creates NIC scholarship

Students attending college full time may apply through NIC

Two ambulances and a medevac helicopter are on scene at Taylor River Flats rest area on Highway 4 due to a serious motor vehicle incident. (PHOTO COURTESY MAGGIE BROWN)
Highway 4 reopens after accident at Taylor River Flats

Multi-vehicle crash had closed highway to west coast

The Rollin Art Centre is holding children’s art camps this summer. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
ARTS AROUND: Celebrate art in the garden

Rollin Art Centre will host art event on Saturday, June 26

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
Vancouver Island researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada: UVic professor

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

Most Read