(Save Old Growth)

The northbound lanes of the Pat Bay Highway are closed at Beacon Avenue this morning due to a protest by the “Save Old Growth” group.

According to a release from the group, they intend to stay “until their demand is met.”

Northbound traffic is currently being routed through Sidney, and commuters should avoid the area if possible.

The blockade began at around 5:30 a.m. this morning and at this time, it’s unclear how long the highway will be blocked, however, there are reports arrests began around 9 a.m.

Police responded after receiving a report that 12 to 15 protestors had set up a blockade across the highway which brought the northbound traffic to a complete stop.

Some protestors physically attached themselves to a physical structure, including one protestor perched on a ladder.

Video from the scene shows a ladder being erected with a protestor climbing to the top, when it suddenly gave way, sending the protestor hard to the ground.

“The protest created frustration amongst commuters who attempted to bypass this illegal blockade”, stated Cpl. Alex Bérubé, spokesperson for the BC RCMP.

“Those blockades are simply dangerous for protestors and for others. One protestor fell down on the pavement after the ladder collapsed and had to be transported to hospital as a result”.

“While we understand the commuters frustration, the RCMP does not condone illegal actions taken to bypass blockades,” he adds.

Police resources from the Sidney/North Saanich RCMP, Island District RCMP, Central Saanich Police Service and specialized RCMP units such as the Obstacle Removal Team and Community-Industry Response Group (C-IRG) were utilized to safely dismantle the obstacles and arrest those responsible for the blockades.

More to come.

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