A group protesting at the site of a toxic soil dump in Shawnigan Lake are shocked after one of them was accosted and shoved around by a man who appeared to be a contracted trucker.
“I just couldn’t believe it. I don’t expect people to resort to violence, even if they are screaming and yelling and swearing. To grab a woman is even worse,” said Sierra Acton, a protester who took the video.
“It’s unfortunate when those kind of things happen. As I understand it, when staff became aware of it, they immediately contacted RCMP,” said Environment Minister Mary Polak.
The physical altercation happened on Stebbings Road, on the way to the South Island Aggregates’ dump site. The company received a permit to turn a Vancouver Island rock quarry into a dump site for contaminated soil – a decision that has been bitterly contested by many on Vancouver Island.
According to the permit, granted by the Ministry of Environment, South Island Aggregates can truck in 100,000 tons of contaminated soil per year for 50 years.
“All you need is two eyes to see it’s a bad idea to put toxic soils in a watershed looking down on the drinking water for 12,000 people,” said NDP leader John Horgan to a crowd at the legislature at a protest last May.
After residents discovered what appeared to be a breach of the site on November 13, the Ministry of the Environment ordered a water advisory, but it was lifted after no contaminants were found.
Another protest is scheduled for Monday morning.