Forestry blockades in the Chilcotin come down

Forestry blockades come down in the Chilcotin, but First Nations still monitoring activity at one of the sites.

Even though two blockades impacting forestry operations in the Chilcotin were dismantled last weekend, Yunesit’in (Stone) band members continue to monitor the one at the junction of the 2800 and 3200 forestry road, said Yunesit’in Chief Russell Myers Ross Tuesday.

Band members are still occupying the blockade but are not stopping operations being conducted by Tolko’s contractor, Westline Harvesting Ltd.

“Westline Harvesting Ltd. met with the group on Friday and had agreed to a meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 1. I sent my councillor Gabe Pukacz to go to the meeting with the blockaders,” Myers said.

The day after the meeting, Westline sought an injunction, Myers said, adding the judge granted them the injunction to bring to Orry Hance, who was leading the blockade.

“I ended up going out there on Saturday and amongst ourselves we talked about it and came to the conclusion that Orry would stand down and allow Westline to continue harvesting.”

Community members are hoping for a follow up meeting with the province, Myers added.

One of the main issues with the Hance’s blockade is moose hunting.

“There are no hunting signs out there and Orry said, in the manner of following the law, he’s actually turned quite a few hunters away, which kind of shows how unregulated the moose hunting is in the area,” Myers said.

Members of the Myers family who set up the blockade at Yannah, approximately 50 kilometres from Lee’s Corner toward Nemiah Valley, met with West Fraser last week.

“West Fraser agreed not to log any more blocks in the area, and the road block came down,” Myers said, adding West Fraser agreed to clean up the area to the Myers family’s satisfaction.

Tolko’s woodlands manager Jerry Mooney said the company is pleased the blockade has been lifted.

“I would like to acknowledge the role of Sgt. Mike Hacker from the Alexis Creek detachment for facilitating a peaceful outcome,” Mooney said, adding Tolko looks forward to working with government and the Stone band to strengthen their relationship.