Logging protests a big challenge

SCRD Policing Committee Briefs

Sunshine Coast RCMP estimate it cost around $10,000 to enforce a court injunction issued against protesters trying to stop logging on Mount Elphinstone.

Sunshine Coast detachment commander Staff Sgt. Vishal Mathura revealed the figure during his report to the Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) policing committee Oct. 20.

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“That was probably one of our biggest challenges this summer,” Mathura told the committee. “We have spent in excess of, or very close to, $10,000 in overtime and manpower hours to deal with these logging protesters. It’s such an immense waste of our police resources, but we have to do it.”

The SCRD director for Roberts Creek, Mark Lebbell, said he also had concerns about police resources being diverted to enforce the court injunction and praised the conduct of RCMP officers. “Your officers were functioning in a very difficult and challenging situation and I appreciate the patience that was shown and the tact [of the officers],” he told Mathura.

There were more than a dozen arrests in September and October related to protest activity in and around cutblock A87125, although none resulted in criminal charges.  There were also several reports of vandalism.

Fentanyl

In response to questions from the committee, Mathura also said that so far Sunshine Coast RCMP have not seen the same degree of illicit use of fentanyl that’s been causing such concern in other parts of B.C.

“I do not know of any incidents where we [RCMP] have encountered fentanyl here on the Sunshine Coast,” Mathura said, adding that officers are, however, prepared. “Our officers do receive training and have been directed on how to properly process [seized] fentanyl. We’ve also received training on Narcan, or naloxone [the drug used to reverse the effects of opioid overdose], and how to use that, and each member has been issued two packets of Narcan.”

Figures released last week from the BC Coroners Service show nine fentanyl-related deaths in the Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) North Shore/Coast Garibaldi service area so far in 2016, up from five in 2015. 

That part of the VCH territory includes the Sunshine Coast as well as North and West Vancouver, Squamish, Powell River and the central coast around Bella Bella.

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