The B.C. Supreme Court has granted BC Hydro an injunction to remove protesters from its Site C dam project near Fort St. John, B.C., meaning opponents camped since December will have to clear out by midnight.
Justice Bruce Butler ruled that BC Hydro has proven the protest camp on the south bank of the Peace River was causing irreparable harm, and costing the utility millions of dollars in delays.
The camp is blocking an area that is set to be used as a dumping site for waste rock.
BC Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald is pleased with Justice Bruce Butler's ruling, saying the work camp is not the place to express opposition to the mega project.
"The most important thing is to be able to work safely for everyone's concern, and to be able to move forward and keep the project on time and on budget."
The group of local farmers and First Nations set up the protest camp in late December. In court, Hydro had argued the protests could delay the project by as much as a year.
'This dam is not needed'
A defendant in the court case says he and fellow protesters simply wanted their voices heard, and didn't intend to break any laws.
"We are all law-abiding citizens who have strong feelings and frustration that there hasn't been any true forum where we can make our case," said Ken Boon, one of the defendants named in the injunction application.
Boon said the protest started from the frustration some people felt about the government's lack of action on the project's environmental impact.
Protester Yvonne Tupper said outside court in Vancouver today that she and other campers plan to respect the injunction, but opposition to the dam is not over.
"This dam is not needed. It's a not-so-green dam with lifelong massive destruction," said Tupper.
Opponents have argued that the nearly $9 billion dam will have a devastating impact on the area because it will flood agricultural land, First Nations archeological sites, and hunting and fishing areas.