Protesters opposed to construction a four-lane highway on the south side of the Fraser River continued to occupy a site in North Delta today (April 25).
“We will be here until we feel like we’ve had a significant effect drawing attention to the destruction that’s happening down here,” said Carmen Mills, with the activist group StopThePave.org.
“We’re here for the long haul. How long that will be is hard to say,” Mills told the Straight today (April 25).
Protesters set up the camp in the 10700 block of River Road on April 22, which was Earth Day.
Mills said the group is prepared to physically block highway construction from continuing at the site.
“We have built some blockades and some ditches so it’s going to be difficult for them to get any machinery in here if they try. But we are also prepared to just stand in front of them and not let them in.”
Mills said she expected work to possibly resume today but crews had yet to show up this morning.
“It’s possible that they will just move workers to another site, which is probably what they’ve done, but at some point they’re going to want to resume work on this stretch since it’s already been partially graded and they’re preparing it but we are not going to allow that to happen while we’re here.”
Eric Doherty, with a local Council of Canadians chapter, described the highway project as a “climate crime” and said it threatens Burns Bog, agricultural land, and local heritage sites.
“This is about winning the campaign against the South Fraser Perimeter Road and building a climate justice movement that can stop freeway building dead in its tracks,” he told the Straight by phone.
Doherty said around 30 people were at the protest camp this morning and a Delta police vehicle was parked nearby.
Construction on the South Fraser Perimeter Road project started in 2008 as part of the province’s Gateway Program to improve roads and bridges.
The B.C. government says the South Fraser Perimeter Road highway is intended to improve the flow of goods and commuter traffic in the region.
The 40-kilometre-long highway route stretches from Deltaport Way in Delta to 176th Street in Surrey.
It is slated to be complete in 2013.