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The ABCs of blockading a road

When ordinary citizens decide enough is enough

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"One person can’t stop this alone," says Blundell. "And one council can’t do this alone. But the population of Pemberton is 1,800 people, and the council is unanimous on their stance against this. It’s very important that people write letters, voice their opinions, express their concerns on this issue. If they don’t, the government agencies won’t get the message. It’s not just up to the elected officials like myself."

All activists can trace their politicization to some point, to some instant when the issue suddenly became personal to them. When they realized that protesting and writing letters and rabble-rousing is not other people’s work – it’s about engaging in their own immediate world, participating in democracy. As the saying goes, the world is changed by the people who show up.

For Blundell, the passion came when he walked through the trails of Signal Hill with a reporter. "I wasn’t particularly passionate about it until then. I didn’t realize just what effect it would have. There’s animal life up there. There’s nice paths that people can enjoy. Logging it will create erosion issues. There have been slides recorded up there. Streams run through there in the spring. People pick mushrooms up there, go hiking. It’s right in our back yard. It’s too close to home.

"I don’t want to resort to roadblocks. But it’s so nice to be able to walk out your house and into a forest. People move to Pemberton for the quality of life, and that will be affected. Our quality of life will be disrupted."

B is for Bombarding your opposition with letters

"The logging company has said that they really don’t care about the community. And I have a problem with that." Blundell is concerned with the frank statements that have been made by the logging company and its contractors’ representatives.

Diane Reed, Acting Manager of the Ministry of Forests, Squamish Office, explains, "The licensee here has a tenure. They have the right to exercise that tenure, as long as they meet all the requirements of the Forest Practices Code."

Letters, which are invited during a 60 day period for public comment, are being written. Andre Germain at the District Office noted eight had been received as of last Wednesday, July 28. The Village of Pemberton has been copied with several letters.

Reed explains the process: "All the letters on the Forest Development Plan go to the contractor who is doing the work for Weyerhaeuser. They are required to include all public comments and submit how they’ve dealt with those comments to the District Manager to review."

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