Nfld. & Labrador

Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay tears down Muskrat Falls protest site

The Labrador Land Protectors are upset about the destruction of one of their protest sites.

Town discarded belongings to the dump without warning, protesters claim

The site in question was near a snowmobile trail, on the corner of Hamilton River Road and the Trans-Labrador Highway. (Submitted)

The Labrador Land Protectors are upset about the destruction of one of their protest sites.

The anti-Muskrat Falls group says belongings were taken to the dump without fair warning.

Eldred Davis wants the town to pay protesters for the belongings taken to the landfill. (Jacob Barter/CBC)

"We were never notified by the town or the police that there was a safety factor involved there," group member Eldred Davis said.

"It was as safe as it could be in the conditions."

The site

The site bordered a snowmobile trail and was set back from Hamilton River Road at the Trans-Labrador Highway turnoff.

For weeks, the area housed chairs, a fire pit, signage and sometimes tents.

All items, including handmade signage, were taken to the dump. (Submitted)

Mayor John Hickey said the group knew residents had concerns about the set up.

There was a post on a community Facebook page and at least one group member commented on it.

'We had to look after the safety of the public.' - John Hickey

After "almost three days" without the area clearing out, Hickey said the town "took action."

"We had to look after the safety of the public," Mayor Hickey said.

"It wasn't meant with any malice or disrespect. It was a matter that this was left there for a long period of time, nobody had reacted to it… People were saying, 'hey, we want this cleaned up.'"

Group suspects ulterior motive 

The group believes that, more than for safety, the site was torn down earlier this month because the mayor supports the megaproject.

They're asking the town to reimburse people for the cost of the items taken to the dump.

John Hickey is the mayor of Happy Valley-Goose Bay (Jacob Barker/CBC)

Hickey said that won't be happening.

Council is now working on new policy for protest sites.

"Once you leave, you will carry all your banners and your drums and anything else that you have from the site," he said.

"And if the town has to go and clean it up, somebody will be given a bill."