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Police attend pole plant protest

RCMP officers talk with residents of Gordon and Duncan Bay roads who were protesting the operation of a pole peeling plant. - Alistair Taylor/The Mirror
RCMP officers talk with residents of Gordon and Duncan Bay roads who were protesting the operation of a pole peeling plant.
— image credit: Alistair Taylor/The Mirror

Police attended a blockade of Northern Pressure Treated Wood’s pole peeling plant on Duncan Bay Road Wednesday morning.

“We’ve been out since early this morning,” said Tracey Deller, one of the more prominent spokespersons for a group of Duncan Bay and Gordon roads residents who are upset with the location of a pole peeling plant on an industrially-zoned property adjacent to rural homes and a trailer court.

The residents have been protesting the plant since it opened in January and have been opposing it since it was approved last fall.

The residents have kept up a steady stream of pressure on city council, staging protests and appearing as delegations.

Their actions have also targetted the Strathcona Regional District.

Wednesday’s protest was the latest action by the residents and demonstrates an increase in their level of desperation.

Most protests at the plant have been vocal and focused on being visible but Wednesday they blocked the entrance to the plant, prompting a phone call to the police.

Mounties attended around 9 a.m., talked with the protestors, told them to keep the roadway clear and then left. The protestors were peaceful and acquiesced to the police’s request.

Deller said she was initially relieved to hear that the police were on their way because she and the residents feel the plant is illegal and that a police visit might prompt some action.

That ended up not being the case. The police were noncommittal on the plant’s legality.

“They said it’s a grey area,” Deller said.

It’s not grey for the neighbours of the plant.

“This should not have gone in here, period,” said Connie Cawley, who lives across the road from the plant. “It’s horrible, just horrible.”

Cawley described living on near the plant as a day-long torture of not only buzzing saws but also logs being dumped.

“Then the crashing of the logs, it’s like when you get the clouds come in and you get thunder,” Cawley said. “It’s just loud.”

Residents are also upset about the danger posed by truckloads of logs negotiating the road. Cawley said it’s going to get even more dangerous when the traffic increases on the road once BC Hydro gets underway with its nearby John Hart Dam upgrade, anticipated to start next year.

Traffic over the dam will be diverted to Gordon Road which will increase the amount of vehicles on Gordon Road, increasing the chances of an accident with the pole trucks.

“That’s five years you are going to have the traffic on this road,” Cawley said.

The protestors eventually withdrew their protest and workers returned to work later in the morning.

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