Old-growth blockader makes first court appearance in Nanaimo

Old-growth blockader makes first court appearance in Nanaimo
WatchOpponents of old-growth logging on southern Vancouver Island raise concerns about owls while one arrested blockader appears in court. Kendall Hanson has more.

Dozens of old-growth demonstrators were in Nanaimo for the first court appearance of one of the protesters arrested yesterday at the Caycuse blockade.

Angela “Rainbow Eyes” Davidson appeared in civil court because she didn’t want to sign a form, needed for her release, saying she’ll stay out of the injunction area.

The judge released her but told her she needed to abide by the conditions, which include staying out of the injunction area, and attending her next court appearance.

The lawyer for Teal Cedar Products said his client wants to review police evidence before deciding if they’d like to proceed with contempt of court charges civilly or criminally against those arrested.

It comes as another voice is raising concerns about old-growth logging in the Caycuse/Fairy Creek area.

Royann Petrell, a retired UBC professor, says she has evidence of endangered Western Screech owls living in four locations.

“My recording was the first official recording in that whole area,” said Petrell.

Petrall claims she captured the sounds and pictures of the threatened owls five times within the past two months.

Owls are protected under the Wildlife Act, thus logging isn’t supposed to occur where owls have been documented.

The province says one of its biologists has been in communication with the licensee and has outlined best practices and regulatory requirements regarding this species. Regardless the province says the licensee also does not have imminent harvesting plans where the birds have been sighted.

Petrall says her discovery of the owls leads her to other questions.

“If we don’t know what species are there and they’re relying on them I think we should at least stop it until we have that information.”

Now, Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Paul Manly is also calling for the old-growth logging on southern Vancouver Island to pause.

In part because of the Western Screech owls but he also says the federal government could also provide financial incentives to first nations and loggers not to log these old-growth areas.

“The federal government has in their budget for Canada’s nature legacy $2.3 billion that they’ve set aside to protect 25 percent of the land base and 25 percent of the marine base as part of their international commitment to preserving biodiversity,” said Manly.

But the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change does not yet appear poised to step in.

In a statement to CHEK News, Press Secretary Moira Kelly, said the federal government takes threats to the environment very seriously.

“We are aware of complaints about logging in the area and are monitoring the situation closely. We recognize this is an issue of great importance for British Columbians,” said Kelly.

Meanwhile, Teal Jones Group said in a statement that their work is “important and vital” to sustaining “hundreds of jobs” in British Columbia.

“Teal Jones has a decades-long history of engagement with First Nations, responsible forest management, and value-added manufacture in B.C.,” the company said.

Royann Petrell, a retired UBC professor, says she has photographic evidence of endangered Western Screech owls living in four locations, which includes this photo. (Royann Petrell/Photo Submitted)

RELATED: Journalist arrested after refusing to leave Fairy Creek checkpoint

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Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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