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Site C Protest Campers Hit with Civil Claim

Protesters fire back: 'We've been nothing but peaceful and reasonable.'

Bob Mackin 21 Jan 2016TheTyee.ca

North Vancouver-based journalist Bob Mackin, a regular contributor to The Tyee, has reported for local, regional, national and international media outlets since 1990. Find his Tyee articles here.

BC Hydro is targeting the protesters aiming to stop the Site C dam from being built with a lawsuit.

The Crown corporation filed a B.C. Supreme Court application for an injunction Jan. 19, claiming it will suffer significant expense and delays to the project if it can't proceed with clearing the Peace River Valley for the $8.3-billion dam.

The claim accuses Peace Valley Landowner Association members Ken and Arlene Boon, Verena Hofmann, Yvonne Tupper, Helen Knott and Esther Pedersen of trespass, nuisance, intimidation, interference and conspiracy by occupying, blocking and impeding or delaying access.

Hydro wants a judge to ban anyone from "physically interfering with, counselling others to prevent, impede, restrict or physically interfere with any person or vehicle travelling to or accessing the Lower Reservoir Area."

It claims that since New Year's Day, Hofmann, Tupper, Knott and Arlene Boon "have been seeking volunteers to join the protest camp and 'man the camp on shift schedules' through online postings." Hydro claims they have blocked equipment and workers from doing their jobs.

"By reason of the conduct of the defendants, Peace River Hydro Partners will not be able to meet its obligations under the contract causing BC Hydro loss, damage or expense and is itself incurring loss, damage and expense," according to the court filing by Charles Willms of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin.

None of the claims have been proven in court.

Hofmann told the Alaska Highway News that protesters have not been "obstructing or standing in the way."

"We've been nothing but peaceful and reasonable and orderly in our interactions with BC Hydro's contracted security people," Hofmann said.

The protest at Rocky Mountain Fort began in November and now includes two cabins flown in by helicopter.

Construction began July 27, 2015 for the planned third dam on the Peace River. It is slated for service during the 2023-2024 fiscal year.

The lawsuit said the project has government approval and has withstood B.C. Supreme Court and Federal Court legal challenges. The landowner's B.C. Court of Appeal case is to be heard April 4 to 5.  [Tyee]

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