Bear Mountain Contractors Are Such Nice Guys!

A group of construction workers throw a math professor to the ground. The man escaped unhurt. (Video still from CHEK News.)

This week, construction contractors organized a “welcome party” for folks rallying against the interchange. Around 200 men (and two women) showed up to our small rally Friday on Highway 1. It was a lovely gesture but somehow we forgot to get their names and addresses to send thank-you notes. Please help by forwarding this message to all your friends!

It’s great to see all these fine people engaging in an intelligent and open democratic dialogue. We would like to thank these gentlemen (and ladies) for bringing so much attention to the cause!

This past week was proclaimed Anti-Bullying Week, and the RCMP would like to commend the upstanding citizens who came out Friday for their commitment to human rights, free speech, and defusing conflict. Those involved in Friday's event can visit the West Shore RCMP station on Atkins Road in Langford or call 474-2264 for a personal commendation and thanks for presenting such an excellent example to young people.

We realize some of these heroes may be too modest to step forward, and that's why we are asking you to take a look at the videos linked below. Every one of these samaritans deserves public recognition! And since they were not camera-shy, their faces are up on Youtube for everyone in the world to view. We already know several of these individuals, but we are asking for help to identify the rest, so we can invite them to our next party!

Thank you in advance for your help!

Raw Video of February 29 Rally (Warning: foul and abusive language)

(More foul language)

(Obscenities and abuse)

All our friends are free again!

Both of the people arrested yesterday for defending Garry Oaks in Langford have now been released on a promise to appear and other conditions. They will have to appear in court again in May.

This Week's Forecast: More Peaceful Action

A large meeting at UVic on Monday was brimming with creative energy and enthusiasm for the campaign to stop destructive urban sprawl and the Bear Mountain development/interchange. Clearly, the time of uncontested big development at the expense of our local native ecosystems, is over. With diligence and persistance the will of caring, compassionate citizens can prevail. Two actions are flowing out of this meeting...

1. Direct Action on Friday, February 29th, 7 am.
Meet at Shell Station at Spencer Road and Trans-Canada Highway
Spaet (Skirt) Mountain defenders are meeting at the Shell Station and will proceed to the site of the interchange where work crews are currently yarding and loading fresh cut trees onto trucks.

There are many opportunities to stop work, slow the process of ecological destruction and galvanize more opposition to this hideous development. Please remember that everyone is responsible for their own actions and that we are exercising our civic duty to defend the natural landscape from needless destruction of habitat, watercourses and biodiversity, putting the planet before mega-profits.

We are all free to add creative twists, keeping in mind how they impact the larger campaign and making sure they reflect the commitment to the non-violence code. As well, there are numerous capacities in which people can participate in action, many of which do not involve risking arrest.

They are:

-Media contacts
-Police liaison
-Calling to contacts in town
-Jail support
-Making speeches
-hanging banners
-distributing leaflets
-holding signs for passing traffic
-street theatre
-artistic installations
-taking video footage

Email if you need (or can offer) a ride to Friday's action.
Please include a telephone number where you can be reached.

2. Community Hike up Spaet (Skirt) Mountain

Saturday, March 1st, 12 Noon
Meet at Shell Station at Trans-Canada Highway and Spencer Rd

Join this community hike up Spaet Mountain, to view the magnificent wild places: oak meadows, bogs, streams and productive Douglas fir and arbutus forests threatened by the mountain-top removal madness of the Bear Mountain developers.

Bring good footwear, appropriate clothing and raingear, lunch, water, a camera, and friends.

3. Garry Oak Tree Defenders Arrested

Tree-sitters and other protestors arrived at the Oak grove in front of Florence Lake this morning to find a work crew cutting the limbs off a mature Garry oak tree in the widening of the highway at the proposed on-ramp to the interchange. Two people were arrested while defending the tree. They succeeded in stopping further cutting. One arrestee was released on condition of staying out of the designated red zone and the other is still in jail, choosing to not co-operate, sign release forms or identify himself. By-law officers returned later in the day and confiscated a large banner and ordered the protestors to leave the site, claiming that the police would return in 45 minutes to make arrests. Refusing to be intimidated many of us regrouped on the shoulder of the highway which is public land and upheld our constitutional right to protest and were ready to go to jail for our rights. The police never showed and the Garry oak tree is still alive as of tonight [Tuesday, Feb 26].

~ Hundred Voices of Conscience ~


Click on the image to view a larger version. The dotted lines show two additional ramps that are planned for the future. The new overpass is in the centre of the image, flanked by four new on and off ramps. The existing intersection at Spencer Road (right side) will be partly closed off and the traffic light removed. (A new traffic light will go in at the West Hills development two kilometers west.)

Photos of the destruction

All the trees in the interchange right-of-way have now been felled, and crews are taking the timber out. Nancy kept a vigil on Highway 1 for three days. (Photo: P. Rockwell)

Langford Lake Cave - a site that has been used for traditional practices by First Nations since time immemorial - is caged with a welded rebar grate. The ferns and oregon grape leaves were left later as  offerings to the four directions. (Photo: R. Bowen)

North side of Highway 1, just west of Savory Rd and Spencer Road. (Photo: P. Rockwell)

Looking from the cave to the kitchen site. (Photo: C. Knight)

Looking from the cave all the way across the highway and up the hill - the entire interchange/parkway route has been cleared. (Photo: C. Knight)

Civil disobedience stops the chainsaws

Ben Isitt stops a yarding machine from taking timber out of the Bear Mountain Interchange right-of-way. (Photo: C. Knight)

A small but spirited group put their freedom and safety on the line today to stop the work crews that are destroying rare ecosystems and First Nations sites on Vancouver Island.

About 40 people turned out at noon in Langford, BC and marched up the highway to view the destruction. Two dozen or so were inspired to scramble over the fresh-cut trees and stand in front of the yarders and excavators that were working. All four machines had to be shut down. The handful of police on the scene made no arrests and issued no warnings.

After stopping the machines, many of us made our way through the stumps and slash to Langford Lake Cave, which has a huge mass of rebar crisscrossed over the entrance like a drunken spider web. The second entrance has a triangular steel cap welded over it. The forest was cut to within a few meters of the cave entrances.

(Photo: Pete Rockwell)

We found the spot where the camp kitchen had stood, and we were able to salvage much of the food, camping gear, and personal belongings that were piled up and left on the site.

Without a medium-sized army of RCMP and special forces to back them up, the contractors had no choice but to give up and go home. The police forces withdrew on Friday evening, and one officer said the operation had required 300 officers in rotating shifts on patrols, command and communications. We estimate the operation cost $5000 an hour for the 60 hours or so the officers were on the ground. The question of who is picking up the tab has not yet been answered.

We have raised the cost of aggressive development on the Island. If the greedy thugs want to force through this kind of horrific, destructive project, they will have to call in the army. Otherwise, we will stop them.

Today’s rally was organized in part by the Hundred Voices of Conscience, and here is their announcement.


Citizens scored a big victory in Langford today, re-occupying the site of the proposed Bear Mountain Interchange and forcing RCMP and “feller-bunchers” to retreat! Let us build on this victory by taking a new step…

Hundred Voices of Conscience
Call to Mass, Peaceful, Direct Action Against the Bear Mountain Development and Further Construction of the Interchange

This past week’s paramilitary-style police operation sanctioned by the City of Langford, to circumvent the growing legitimate public opposition to the Bear Mountain interchange, was a heavy-handed assault against land, local democracy and current, widespread ecological consciousness.

At a time of unprecedented ecological crisis, it is the moral obligation of the entire human community to take immediate action to prevent unnecessary harm and destruction to the natural world and all its inhabitants; and to reverse developments that systematically destroy the life-support systems of the earth for profit.

Hundred Voices of Conscience, inspired by the Gandhian tradition of mass civil resistance, is a call:

1. To gain the pledge of a minimum of 100 conscientious citizens who will peacefully, simultaneously and with dignity, incur the risk of arrest, to cross police lines surrounding the forest of the proposed Bear Mountain interchange;

2. To intervene between the land and earth-moving machinery;

3. And to act on our civic duty to prevent unnecessary harm to the delicate ecosystems around Spencer’s Pond and the Langford Lake caves; and to prevent further build-out of the Bear Mountain development on Spaet (Skirt) Mountain, shared traditional territories of Coast Salish peoples.

We seek solidarity with like-minded individuals willing to make a commitment to a community initiative of mass non-violent direct action at an undisclosed time and place. Legal training and support will be provided.

If you wish to be one of the Hundred Voices of Conscience, please sign the pledge and arrange to return it by emailing as soon as possible.


I pledge to participate in the Hundred Voices of Conscience to peacefully take a stand of non-violent civil resistance to the unwise, destructive and unjust construction of the Bear Mountain Development and interchange.

By so doing, I agree to the Hundred Voices of Conscience Code of Conduct.

Hundred Voices of Conscience Code of Conduct

1. I refrain from any action that harms or damages nature or property.

2. I treat everyone I meet with friendliness and openness about my intentions and motivations for participating in this action.

3. I look after the safety of my fellow resisters.

4. I expect to be treated with dignity and respect — free from harassment, harm and injury by all who I encounter.


Date _____________________________



RCMP Raid - Three Arrested

Here is the bad news: On Wednesday, February 13, everyone in the tree sit camp was arrested. Three people, including two tree sitters, were held and charged with mischief and obstructing a highway. They have now been released.

The massive attack by police had as many as 70 RCMP officers, dozens of them with assault rifles drawn and pointed at the campers, surrounding the camp before dawn.

The area is sealed off by police tape and RCMP patrols. Heavy equipment was moved in and the destruction has begun. From Leigh Road, we could see trees falling to a feller buncher – a giant tree cutting machine.

We also saw welding equipment being moved in behind police lines. It’s possible that one of the first acts of destruction today was welding shut the entrance of the Langford Lake Cave.

Here is the good news: It is not over yet. This act has outraged the community and people will not give up resisting this hideous development. We have arranged for top-notch legal representation for our defendants. They are heroes.