Apr 08, 2022News
During routine inspections of culverts and bridges in Tree Farm Licence 46 on Vancouver Island recently, our crews found several culverts had been blocked with plywood, rebar rods, rocks, wood, and an old tire. It appears this was done by the same blockaders who posted brags about clogging the culverts last fall. We’d cleared these culverts out and regularly inspected them over the winter, so they were vandalised sometime in the last month. Our crews cleared the blockages to restore water flow.
Properly engineering forestry roads and the related bridges and culverts to ensure water flows well across them is a critical aspect of how Teal Jones acts responsibly on the land. Improperly placed or plugged culverts and bridges can cause water to back up, leading to washouts and landslides that damage the environment, destroy fish habitat, and put the lives of the public and forestry workers at risk.
Vandalism and deliberate blocking of culverts and damage to bridges is a crime. Various sections of the Criminal Code address criminal conduct of this nature – for example: destroying or damaging property is covered by section 430(1)(a), rendering property dangerous by 430(1)(b); obstructing or interfering with use of property 430(1)(d); mischief that causes actual danger to life 430(2); and blocking or obstructing a highway by section 423(1)(g). Vandalism and blocking of culverts and bridges also violates provincial forestry regulations. We have reported the incident to provincial authorities, who are investigating.
There have also been numerous incidents of trenches dug across roads, some of them undermining bridges. As with culverts, we are regularly inspecting bridges and repairing any damage blockaders are inflicting.
Blocking culverts and undermining bridges is not only dangerous for anyone traveling on the roads, but also damages fish habitat and causes environmental damage that would seem to run contrary to the stated goals of the Rainforest Flying Squad and the other groups protesting in TFL 46. The same groups have cut trees for their camps and structures, carved paths through sensitive protected areas, and left mounds of garbage and human waste in the bush, some of it adjacent to waterways. They’ve also ignored repeated requests from the local First Nations to leave the land.
We all agree peaceful protest plays an important role in Canada. However, the blockades in TFL 46 have crossed the line into violence, misinformation, and purposefully causing environmental damage. We call upon all blockaders in TFL 46 to respect the environment, to stop blocking culverts and digging trenches near waterways, to stop spreading garbage and human waste in the bush, and to stop cutting trees and cutting paths through protected areas.