South Fraser Perimeter Road protesters pull out
Protesters on a section of the planned South Fraser Perimeter Road are dismantling their camp today after being warned a court injunction would be obtained to have them removed.
The two-week occupation beside River Road in North Delta that started April 22 ended after contractors building the 40-kilometre four-lane truck highway along the Fraser River gave them 24 hours to vacate.
Organizers with the group stopthepave.org hinted it may be a strategic withdrawal.
"We thought rather than getting into a legal fight and spending all our resources on lawyers, we would pull out all our camp supplies and things, regroup and consider our next action," said North Delta resident Ernie Baatz, who didn't camp at the site but helped with logistics.
"We're not giving up," he said. "We really found it positive the number of groups that came together to build a coalition to fight climate crime."
The camp included a kitchen, tents, a teepee and seedlings planted symbolically in the path of road crews.
Campaigners aligned against the perimeter road included anti-freeway activists as well as others concerned about damage to Burns Bog, the loss of farmland, damage to archaeological sites, neighbourhood impacts from pollution and risks to local creeks and trees along the route.
The $1.2-billion perimeter road promises a more efficient route from Deltaport to Highway 1 and the Golden Ears Bridge, connecting with other industrial areas along the way and removing trucks from River Road.
The project is about 27 per cent complete.
Gateway Program executive director Geoff Freer said an injunction had not yet been sought when the protesters began taking down the camp.
He would not say what would happen if the protest simply moves to a different part of the SFPR corridor.
"We'll have to evaluate this and think about potential future protests," Freer said.