Texada controversy moves into legal realm

“The John and Jane Doe writs were filed in place of unnamed members of the Direct Action Committee that has done most of the blockading.”

December 26, 2014

When an article has two by lines on it (two journalists named as having written the article), it means that both of them have gathered (interviewed, done research,etc.) on articles that the editor usually decides to meld together into one piece.

When it came to the Texada clear cutting event, about which I have already posted several articles on this blog, I was the reporter who was more left-leaning or supportive of the people protesting the cutting of the gigantic fir trees for which the west coast of Canada is well known.

The other journalist was more right wing and pro-business. He leaned to the side of the Texada Land Corporation owners and loggers in general.

This is usually a healthy thing for a newspaper as one of the golden rules of journalism is to provide the readers with both sides of the story. I am not sure if the powers that were in control of The Gulf Islands Driftwood were that happy about my pro-activist side. I think it was for practical reasons. The business people on the island support the local newspaper and tend to like business. They do not want business people slammed as they can contribute to the economy and business people do not want to numbered among those who are doing wrong to the community.

By the time the following article had been written, months of controversy around the clearcutting issue had been endured by all of us living Salt Spring Island:

Gulf Islands Driftwood

April 5, 2000

Texada controversy moves into legal realm

by Mike Levin and Tanya Lester

Texada Land Corporation (TLC) has taken its battle with Salt Spring protesters to the courts.

Texada lawyers served 10 named defendants and a John and Jane Doe in a suit seeking a cease and desist order on protest activities on or near Texada operations.

Most writs were served Monday. They are aimed at getting a court injunction to prevent further blockades and protests and will target specific individuals for damage judgments, according to company director Derek Trethewey.

Texada directors said they chose the legal course because protest actions had started to erode company revenues.

“Delays have been caused by the protests and blockades on the (Texada) property, and these delays have put TLC’s ability to deliver logs to Coastland Wood Industries in a timely matter at risk,” states an affidavit from Texada logging coordinator Regan Trethewey.

He claims these delays jeopardize TLC’s ability to meet its contractual agreement and exposes the company to market risks that are unacceptable within the current legal framework of its operations.

Blockades on Mount Tuam, just off Musgrave Road in late February and at the top of Hamilton-Horne Road  in mid- March, forced TLC to temporarily suspend getting logs off the mountain and to Coastland.

Operations manager Brent Kapler told  the Driftwood Tuesday that “the timber is moving freely right now.”

The 10 named defendants are know to anyone following the story since Macdonald first bought the Texada property on November 1.

They included David Shebib, Jonathan LeDrew, Robert Osborne, Helani Davison, Daniel Bastarrache, Maxime Le Forest-Roy, Terry Bieman, Murray Reiss, Andrea Collins and Devon Guest. The John and Jan Doe writs were filed in place of unnamed members of the Direct Action Committee that has done most of the blockading.

So far TLC has made up for shortfalls from its Salt Spring logging with trees from other operations, the claim states, although at lower prices that otherwise could have been realized.

The write states that about 10,000 cubic metres of wood with a commercial value over $1 million is currently on the ground.

Texada claims delays in moving it off the property expose it to attack from ambrosia beetles, which bore into the wood, creating a stain and lowering its market value.

Texada experts believe that once the beetle arrives, substantial damage could be done in as little as a few days.

“We’ve tried very hard to be patient and negotiate with these people and we’re tired of getting slapped in the face,” Derek Trethewey said. “We will be suing for damages, going after individuals. We believe in property rights.”

While protest action has been silent for the past two weeks, Trethewey explained. “We don’t believe for a second they’ve stopped. I’ve heard they are going to picket our office.”

Salt Spring lawyer John Davies will be in Vancouver court today (Wednesday) representing the protesters. He believes Texada has used illegal activities, such as verbal harassment, in its opposition to the protest movement.

He added that several individuals have already donated toward the defence fund.

Bieman, one of the protesters named in the suit, feels the court action is an intimidation tactic that will probably not work.

“I think Texada is doing this, one, to allow themselves to demand the police to make an arrest and, two, to intimidate the people of Salt Spring,” he said. “This says: if you have anything to lose, don’t get involved. I think that’s a little arrogant and I  don’t think it’s going to work.”

Bieman also speculated that lack of money might be another TLC motivation to try to curtail protesters’ activities, as the company may be looking “redfaced to their investors.”

“If you’re in the black, you don’t go to court,” he said.



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