An RCMP officer speaks with community members at a protest camp set up on the Perry Ridge forest road Wednesday.

An RCMP officer speaks with community members at a protest camp set up on the Perry Ridge forest road Wednesday.

Perry Ridge standoff ends peacefully

Protesters on the road to Perry Ridge stepped aside Wednesday morning after RCMP arrived to enforce a court injunction obtained by a local logging company.

Protesters on the road to Perry Ridge stepped aside Wednesday morning after RCMP arrived to enforce a court injunction obtained by a local logging company.

Staff Sgt. Dan Seibel says when officers showed up at the protest camp on Little Slocan forest service road, they met about 40 people, including 10 children.

“The injunction was read and explained,” he says. “Following discussions between the RCMP, logging company, and protesters, the protest group permitted vehicle access to employees of Sunshine Logging.”

The protesters were “cooperative and compliant,” he added. They dismantled their tent shelter which was blocking the road, extinguished their campfire, and packed up belongings.

“There were no arrests or problems,” Seibel says. “The RCMP appreciate the cooperation and understanding of both the protest group and Sunshine Logging regarding this court injunction.”

It was a little over two hours from the time the injunction was read until everyone left.

Nine officers were involved from the Nelson, Slocan Lake, Kaslo, Castlegar, and Trail detachments.

Perry Siding resident Chloe Sage, who spent about five days at the protest camp over the last week, was not present Wednesday but said Sunshine Logging resumed snow plowing on the road immediately after protesters dispersed.

“People were shouting ‘shame’ as they went by,” she told the Star.

Local members of the Sinixt First Nation erected the protest camp two weeks ago after the B.C. Supreme Court rejected their constitutional challenge, and supporters joined them.

“People have been up there every day and staying the night,” Sage said. “On Monday there were about 20 people at one time, but it’s really fluctuated. People are there because they support the Sinixt but also because they want to protect Perry Ridge.”

Sage says despite the injunction, they are determined to maintain a presence and will take the logging company to task “on every single inch that moves up there … The community as a whole has really spoken that they are against the destruction of this ridge. People are really worried about unsettling of water on top of the ridge.”

Seibel said protesters are within their rights to remain in the area, as long as they don’t  obstruct the road or crew. Sunshine Logging is clearing snow in preparation for possible road building.

The company’s injunction application, granted last Friday and served the next day, named Tom Prior, Robert Watt, Joseph Williams-Freeman, Eloise Charet, and “persons unknown” as defendants. Charet was among those on site Wednesday, according to Sage.