Company seeks injunction against logging blockaders

Chapman watershed

AJB Investments is going to court to try to get an injunction against demonstrators who’ve been blocking access to the company’s land in the Chapman Creek watershed for more than two months.

The court petition names the group Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF), along with Hans Penner, Ross Muirhead, Jane Doe, John Doe and persons unknown.

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AJB started logging on part of its private managed forest land above the airport in early February.

The company claims in court documents filed in Vancouver that because of the blockade that went up Feb. 12, they’ve had to leave more than 1,500 cubic metres of cut timber on the ground, which is now at risk of rotting and other damage that could lessen its value, or even make it unfit for sale.

They also claim that if the blockade continues it will “interfere with AJB’s business as a going concern” and the company will lose revenue, while its contractors and their employees will also lose income.

In a statement released April 12, ELF’s Ross Muirhead said, “It’s not our intent to have AJB suffer any losses; we just want to protect our water for the community. The fact is that if AJB and the SCRD had been able to agree on a price for the land already, this would not be happening. In our view an injunction is not the appropriate remedy for what is essentially a dispute over the price of a piece of property which will most likely be sold to the SCRD (Sunshine Coast Regional District).”

ELF plans to argue in court that the company is ignoring a “viable alternative” being offered, and that the best solution is for the SCRD and AJB “to work out terms for a buy-out so that the public’s drinking watershed can be protected from clear-cut logging and its associated harms to water quality and quantity.”

It’s far from certain, however, that such a deal is in the cards. SCRD chair, and Area B director, Garry Nohr had been hoping to meet Forests Minister Steve Thomson at the end of March. He told Coast Reporter at the time that they wanted to talk to the minister about the possibility of a land swap. The meeting, however, was postponed.

AJB is also asking the court to authorize RCMP action to enforce the injunction, if it’s granted. 

The application will be heard in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on April 19.

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