Tree-sitters Warned Against "Interfering"

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Tree-sitters Warned Against "Interfering" 
by Zoe Blunt 
Hi folks; thanks to everyone who came out in response to the callout. The surveying crew was once again turned away, and no one was arrested, although Ingmar Lee reports he was singled out by the RCMP and threatened with arrest several times for standing in front of the surveyers' optical instruments. Then they all just left and the campers had another little celebration. So far the project is almost two months behind schedule and pressure is building on the city of Langford to stop it.

This evening (Monday), Ingmar and I were called in suddenly to meet with Tim Stevens, the City of Langford engineer and project manager for the Bear Mountain Interchange, and Lorne Fletcher, the chief bylaw officer for Langford. 

The meeting was rather odd, since it took place after 6 pm without any prior notice, and they seemed very eager to talk with us about something. Ingmar agreed to meet them at the Tim Horton's on Esquimalt Road, and a few minutes later he picked me up and we both went to the meeting.
The purpose of the meeting was to deliver an official letter addressed to Ingmar and I, requesting that we stop blocking the surveyors so they can determine the alignment for the new highway, which in turn will tell consultants where to look when they survey the area for archaeological sites. The letter was delivered "With Prejudice," a note which Stevens said means that it can be used in court. I asked why it was addressed to me, and he said:
  • "You and Ingmar are what we perceive to be the leaders of the tree sit."
I told him he was wrong about that and he needs to talk to the campers. Stevens said he would do that tomorrow, and the surveyors are coming back to the site on Wednesday (or as soon after as the snow allows.)

Ingmar made it clear that the city must get an objective second opinion about the archeology and they must hire different consultants than Golder Associates, which did the first archaeological assessment in December 2006.
He said he would interfere with Golder and stop them from working. He described Golder's reports as "bogus" and said they should not be associated with the project (and a lot of other things, but Ingmar can articulate his arguments much better than I can.)
Stevens got angry several times and said he wouldn't hire a different consultant. He said several times that he was doing what was required to by law, and he had the right to do what he was doing, etc.

I was able to get a word in a couple times. I told Stevens what he already knows, that as Project Manager, he has the right to "opt in" and do more than just what is required. He could hire a brand new consultant for a second opinion. He could consult with the First Nations elders and those with family knowledge of the area. There is a lot more he could do. This isn't just my opinion, it is the opinion of Robin Gage, the lawyer who sent a formal letter to Langford in November, reminding them that they have the choice to opt in.

Lorne Fletcher had very little to say, although he answered us politely when we brought up several serious complaints about his bylaw officers.

The surveying crew will be back at the tree sit on Wednesday, and the campers can decide what they will do about it.

More info about the camp, including a map and directions, here:

Folks are welcome to come visit the camp for an hour or a day, get a tour of the forest and the cave - and the tree canopy, if they are brave enough to put on a safety harness and climb up 100 feet!

Forest action hotline: 885-8219
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Hi All,

The City of Langford's Bear Mountain Interchange Project Manager Tim Stevens called my house today, asking for an emergency meeting at a location of my choice. I received the message at 5:30 pm, and immediately returned Mr. Stevens call. Stevens asked to meet with me immediately, and suggested that we meet at "Starbucks" but I boycott that business, so we compromised and met at the "Tim Horton's" at Esquimalt Rd. and Head St. (I boycott Tim Horton's generally as well) I picked up Zoe, and we met Stevens and Lorne Fletcher, the chief bylaw officer for Langford at 6:15 pm. They had the following letter, addressed specifically to Zoe and I.

I informed Stevens that we had, in fact, been demanding a credible Archaeological Impact Assessment all along, given the bogus assessment which had been done previously by Golder Associates, which had missed the most significant, potentially show-stopping features of the site, -namely the numerous karst sinkholes, and in particular, the numerous historically excavated sinkholes in the forest. Stevens argued that he had been very satisfied with Golder Associates work. I repeated that we welcomed a new survey, and that I even expected that the other protesters might actually allow the survey to proceed, but only on the condition that another archaeological consultant do the work. I argued that we could not trust Golder to do a credible report, given their earlier, shoddy work. Steven's insisted that Golder would continue to do their assessment work...

Langford could quite easily hire a new consultant to do the work, which will be watched with great interest by all concerned. We all want to see what's going on with the sinkholes, and we want to understand who dug into so many sinkholes, by which they moved a significant amount of material, at numerous sites throughout the forest, and why they did so. Large trees up to 1 metre dbh are growing out of the excavated berms Someone, long ago, dug deep into those sinkholes, looking for something.

Cheers,  Ingmar

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