RCMP are seen here making arrests May 17 near Argenta, B.C., north of Nelson. A group had been camped out protesting a logging company’s plans for the area. Photo: Louis Bockner

RCMP are seen here making arrests May 17 near Argenta, B.C., north of Nelson. A group had been camped out protesting a logging company’s plans for the area. Photo: Louis Bockner

2022 YEAR IN REVIEW: Argenta logging protest leads to arrests and a police complaint

Cooper Creek Cedar is logging forests in an area known as the Argenta-Johnsons Landing Face

A logging protest in a forest near Argenta in the spring resulted in many still-unanswered questions for both the timber company and a group of people who were camped out on a logging road and later arrested.

In April, the group Last Stand West Kootenay set up a camp at Salisbury Creek in the forested area known as the Argenta-Johnsons Landing Face, to protest logging of 6,200 hectares that had been planned by the timber company Cooper Creek Cedar for several years.

The company called in the RCMP, using an injunction that a court had granted in 2019 against a different group of protesters. On May 17, the police arrested 17 people who were accused of civil contempt of court for violating the injunction.

The arrestees showed up in a Nelson courtroom on July 19 expecting a hearing, but the company’s lawyer told the judge his client intended to apply to the Crown to have the protesters charged with criminal contempt of court rather than civil contempt. This would mean the Crown charging the protesters with a crime, rather than the company suing them for damages.

But the company has not so far pursued that application and no one connected with Last Stand West Kootenay has yet been in front of a judge.

Meanwhile, Last Stand West Kootenay and a number of other groups filed a formal complaint to the Civilian Review and Complaints Commission against the RCMP for its “gratuitous show of aggression” in its handling of the May 17 arrests.

So far no results from that complaint have been released.

In September, lawyers for Cooper Creek Cedar appeared in court in Nelson asking the judge to order Last Stand West Kootenay to reveal the names of the managers of its website and social media, alleging that those platforms encouraged people to cause harm to the company by blocking the logging road.

The company asked for an order that Facebook provide the first and last names, contact information and IP addresses of the last 300 logins and logouts of several individual Facebook and Instagram accounts, as well as a domain registry and a fundraising site.

Justice Lindsay Lyster reserved judgement and has not yet released a decision.

READ MORE:

Blockade set up by protesters ahead of contested logging in Argenta area

• RCMP make arrests at logging protest north of Nelson

• Two people arrested for logging protest near Argenta

• Court date for Argenta logging protesters delayed

• West Kootenay timber company asks court for identities of protesters’ social media managers and supporters

• Logging company applies to have protesters charged with criminal contempt of court

• Complaint filed against RCMP for alleged ‘unlawful’ arrest tactics at Argenta protest



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

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