County re-enters landfill 0
The month-long blockade of dump Site 41 ended Friday.
Simcoe County workers - accompanied by a contingent of Ontario Provincial Police - arrived in the late afternoon to clear chairs, tents and other items from in front of the gates and re-enter the landfill.
By Saturday morning, 10 people had been charged with mischief (blocking access to property). Three of them face an additional charge of intimidation (blocking or obstructing a highway). The count is expected to get much higher as police target those on a list complied since the blockade began in early July.
The first arrests came Thursday when Keith Wood, 82, and his wife, Ina, 76, went to the Southern Georgian Bay OPP detachment and were each charged with mischief. They were released after signing an undertaking to stay away from the dump on the 2nd concession of Tiny Township.
Also charged Thursday were Barbara Hunt, 69; Bob Ritchie, 67, and his daughter, Anne Ritchie Nahuis, 39. Hunt was released after signing an undertaking to stay a kilometer away from the site, but Ritchie and Nahuis were both placed in jail cells when they refused to sign.
Ritchie was released a short while later because of his health, but Nahuis was held overnight and appeared at a bail hearing in a Barrie court Friday morning. She was remanded to Sept. 17, released and ordered not to be in front of the Site 41 entrances. However, she is allowed to be on the 2nd concession.
Mohawk environmentalist Danny Beaton, 54 - who last winter walked from Site 41 to Toronto to protest against the dump - was arrested Thursday night at one of the entrances. He was also taken to Barrie court for a bail hearing Friday. He was remanded until Monday and sent to the Super Jail in Penetanguishene for the weekend.
Gavin Jamieson, 20, was also arrested Thursday night at the home of a relative. He was charged with mischief and released after signing an undertaking not to be near the site.
Vicki Monague, 28, of Christian Island, surrendered to the OPP on Friday and was charged with mischief for protesting at Site 41. She, too, signed an undertaking.
Early Saturday, OPP arrested Beth Elson, 50, of Christian Island and charged her with one count of mischief and one count of intimidation. She was released and is prohibited from returning to the site.
John Hawk, 35, of Christian Island was charged a week ago in connection with the blockade.
Monague is one of the women from the Beausoleil First Nation that established the protest campsite in a farmer's field opposite the main gates of Site 41 in May.
She is expected to appear in Barrie Superior Court tomorrow with her lawyers to argue that the construction of the landfill must stop until First Nations have been consulted about the impacts to their traditional lands as required under Canadian law.
The county's application for a permanent injunction is also scheduled to be heard tomorrow in Barrie.
The County, which obtained an interim court injunction banning protesters from blocking entrances to Site 41, is seeking damages of $160,000 from Monague and Anne Ritchie Nahuis because work at the site was stopped during the blockade.
Before turning herself in Friday, Monague told a crowd of about 60 supporters outside the OPP detachment that she will not back down in her determination to stop Site 41 because of the risk it will contaminate the Alliston aquifer.
" They can put injunctions on us; they can charge us under the criminal code, but we won't back down. The water is an issue for everybody. We know the dump will contaminate the water. I won't back down no matter what they do to me and I will come back stronger to fight this atrocity."
After being charged, she told reporters that she said signed an undertaking to stay a kilometer away from the landfill, but plans to appeal the charges.
"The Ontario and federal governments have a duty to consult First nations about this project and that hasn't occurred," she added.
OPP constable Peter Leon said the OPP "recognizes the fundamental rights of all Canadians to freedom of thought, belief, opinion, expression and peaceful assembly."
But, he cautioned, "persons exercising these rights should be aware that the deliberate blocking of roadways and access to property may result in criminal charges."
He said it is "the intention of the OPP to identify and charge all those who have gone against the court imposed interim injunction. We've had a process in place and it is concluding with charges being laid."
George Lawrence, Tiny Township deputy mayor, who was among supporters at the OPP detachment when Monague was charged, said a motion calling for a one-year moratorium on Site 41 construction will be presented to Simcoe County Council at its meeting Aug.25.
Meantime, the Council of Canadians has asked for an adjournment of its application seeking a Superior Court of Ontario declaration that construction activity at Site 41 is unlawful.
"If it becomes necessary to do so," says a news release, "the court application may be resumed for hearing on 10 days notice to the County.
"For the moment," said Council chair Maude Barlow, "the debate has moved from a judicial to a political forum, where it has always belonged."