Protestors, forestry consortium both claim victory after judge's ruling

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A group of protestors are shown in November near one of the logging sites in Digby County. (Nina Newington - image credit)
A group of protestors are shown in November near one of the logging sites in Digby County. (Nina Newington - image credit)

Forestry protestors who were arrested in December are claiming victory this week after a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge's decision, but the company involved in the matter says the judge made the right call.

Justice Kevin Coady granted an injunction barring further blockades at two logging sites in Digby County, but did not limit protestors from attending other sites on Crown land in the area.

"I feel it is a victory," said Sandra Phinney, who was among the nine protestors arrested for violating an interim injunction late last year. "It reinstates my faith in the justice system."

In his 14-page written decision this week, Coady wrote that the environmental group Extinction Rebellion and similar public-interest organizations "are well-intentioned and play a role in our modern-day democracy."

The protesters set up camp in late October on a road southeast of Weymouth in an attempt to prevent Westfor Management's logging trucks and equipment from accessing the Crown land where harvesting has been approved by the province.

The group set up a second blockade at another Westfor site near the Caribou River. The protestors say the area is an endangered mainland moose habitat.

"I think it shows that citizens do have a voice and citizen action is a good thing," said Phinney, from her home in Yarmouth County. "The government had not done what it should have done all along in protecting our species at risk."

'Right to earn a living'

While protestors say they are happy they are not being banned from other logging sites, Westfor is pleased with the judge's ruling.

"The judge found that laws must be followed," said Westfor Management general manager Marcus Zwicker. "The families that depend on forestry have a right to earn a living and the protestors' illegal blockades were stopping people from going to work."

The nine people who were arrested in December after a judge granted Westfor's application for an interim injunction will have their matters heard in Digby court next week.

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