Judge approves eviction of protesters from camp near pipeline construction site

Structures, shelters and vehicles must be removed from the site known as Camp Cloud within 48 hours

A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has granted the City of Burnaby an injunction forcing pipeline protesters to take down their camp outside a Kinder Morgan terminal.

Justice Geoffrey Gomery said all structures, shelters and vehicles must be removed from the site known as Camp Cloud within 48 hours of the order issued on Friday afternoon.

The judge also ordered that a sacred fire burning under very dry conditions and near a Shell aviation fuel tank farm must be extinguished.

However, peaceful protesting is still permitted, he said. Individuals are allowed on the site as long as they do not build more structures and camp overnight.

No one appeared in court on behalf of the protesters, although half a dozen supporters watched proceedings from the gallery.

In his judgment, Gomery noted that an argument based on Aboriginal title claims could have in principle qualified. However he said the position the protesters have advanced through media on that subject, so far as he understands it, is not arguable.

READ MORE: Albertan activist says he’ll come to B.C. and evict pipeline protesters himself

READ MORE: B.C. grandma, 70, gets 7 days in jail for pipeline protest

There is no evidence the individuals are associated with the Squamish or Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, which claim rights to the land in question, he said.

Gomery also said he believed the focus of Camp Cloud has shifted over time.

“It is unfortunately clear that the goals of the defendants and occupants of Camp Cloud have evolved. While they established the camp for the purpose of protesting the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, they’ve now begun to view the campsite as their land. They’re blocking a public right of way and members of the public have been made to feel unwelcome,” he said.

One protester threatened to “drop kick” and “kill” a fire official and an official from the parks department was chased away, he said.

PHOTOS: Rival protests highlight B.C.’s divide over pipeline project

Camp Cloud has grown since November from a single trailer to include a two-storey wooden structure, a cabin, an outdoor shower, more than a dozen tents and multiple vehicles and trailers.

City of Burnaby lawyer Gregory McDade told the judge that while the city supports peaceful protests, the camp violates several bylaws, trespasses on city property and constitutes a public nuisance.

The city has had a positive dialogue with a separate protest group that gathers around a structure known as the Watch House, he said. McDade said when the city communicated the fire ban to the Watch House protesters, they conducted a ceremony and extinguished their own sacred fire.

Camp Cloud spokeswoman Kwitsel Tatel, who is named as a defendant, said in a statement that putting out the sacred fire or removing any of the camp’s buildings would be a violation of not only the right to free expression, but also deeply held religious beliefs.

She posted a “call for solidarity” on Facebook, hours before the ruling.

“Our camp is unified and centred around the sacred fire, which since time immemorial, has been central to the governance of Indigenous peoples,” the post said.

“We are a peaceful coalition that is gravely concerned for the national interest, respect, dignity of public interest, public health and the protection of safe and clean water for all our generations to come on these sacred lands of so-called Canada.”

She said the group is raising awareness about the “ecocide and genocide” that is continuing to take place against Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, due to ongoing threats to water.

Asked what she would do if the judge ruled in favour of the city, ahead of the ruling, she said only: “Good question for all ‘Canadians!’ “

Amy Smart, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Narcosli Creek Fire 50% contained; Blackwater River Fire gets more firefighters

An incident management team for fires in the North Cariboo to be established by the end of the week

Quesnel air quality index rating at 10+

Heavy smoke in the air a very high risk for residents

UPDATE: Wildfire on Hawk Road, off Nazko Road, now extinguished

Crews had the fire out within a day after it started Aug. 12

Get involved in the Great Canadian Bumble Bee Count

Environmental organization develops app to help with the nationwide count

Letter: Let marijuana growth in ALR

How much more unproductive land do we want to accumulate in the ALR?

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

Seven people with ties to Red Scorpions gang arrested in B.C. drug bus

Delta police have secured 94 charges against seven people, including drug and firearm offences

Second measles scare this summer at YVR

An infected traveller flew out of Vancouver’s airport three times

Judge OKs Weinstein suit, cites casting couch’s history

Actress Kadian Noble can sue disgraced Hollywood mogul for violating sex trafficking laws

Employers to raise salaries 2.6% on average next year: report

Firm points to factors such possibility of more trade protectionism, rising interest rates

PM Trudeau and federal ministers to meet on Vancouver Island

Cabinet retreat will be held in Nanaimo from Aug. 21-23

Evacuation alert lifted for 57 properties in Houseman Road area

The Houseman wildfire is now considered being held and is 100 per cent contained

B.C. school’s pledge to ban sex outside of heterosexual marriage now optional

Community convenant of Langley’s Trinity Western University has been centre of rights debate

48 sockeye, harbour seal seized from poachers caught on B.C. river

Charges pending after two poachers arrested for salmon fishing at night

Most Read