Port mayor to pay for protest group’s use of community hall

  • Mar. 31, 2005 8:00 p.m.

by Alex Rinfret-March 31-The village of Port Clements made $920 by renting out its community hall for four days to the protest group which is blocking a logging road – but the money will be coming out of the mayor’s own pocket.
The group used the hall from March 21 to 24, Mr. Lore said at a council meeting Wednesday night (March 30). Mr. Lore suggested charging a lower rate, but the other council members said they should charge the village’s usual rate of $230 a day.
Mr. Lore said it was probably a mistake to have rented out the hall to the group, which was using it to prepare food for the people who are blocking the road at the Six Mile Bridge. The hall is too close to the bar, he said.
Mr. Lore also said he did not want to ask the group to pay for the hall, because another council member had told them they could have it free and the group doesn’t have much money.
“I will pay for it,” Mr. Lore said. “They haven’t got any money… neither do I.”
Other council members at the meeting all expressed some degree of misgiving about the road block, which is now in its tenth day and is preventing many Port residents from going to work.
“Guys that are investing their paycheques in the future want some idea how their investment will pay off,” said councillor Jukka Efraimsson. “I think it hasn’t been defined very well, for the people of Port Clements, what is that future?”
Mr. Efraimsson said many loggers share concerns about the amount of waste wood left behind, increasing mechanization and helicopter logging but are scared to speak out because they could lose their jobs.
Councillor Lisa Gyorgy said she was concerned about the impact of the work stoppage on the village’s small elementary school, which has already lost a significant number of students.
Councillor Paul Waring said he had not spoken to a single person in Port who supports the blockade, and that it was a “direct slap in the face to the people of Port Clements” considering that the village had signed a groundbreaking protocol agreement last year with the Council of the Haida Nation.
Mr. Waring also said there had been a lack of communication about the action and that many people in Port have no idea what the Haida Nation hopes to achieve from it.
Mr. Lore said he couldn’t see any alternative to the road blocks and that Port stands to benefit if the protest is successful. For one example, he said, there could be more forestry workers living in the town instead of flying in and out.
“Also, believe it or not, I did not organize those blockades and I cannot take them down,” he said. “I would like people to understand that I cannot push a button and make those things go away.”

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