Court Adjourns Castle logging issue until time in schedule to hear the whole case

Media Release, February 3, 2012

Commenting, "I have a court room full of people, there is a significant issue going on here,” Court of Queen’s Bench Justice, Rosemary Nation, concluded that there should be court time scheduled to expeditiously hear all the arguments regarding the closure of the Castle Special Management Area to public use in order to allow clear-cut logging and the area residents that blocked the logging equipment from starting.   “This is a highly contentious matter.”

Both the lawyers for four of the five residents named on the January 30th Court Order and for Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (SRD) agreed that they would like the case heard on February 24th.  Justice Nation directed them to the Chief Justice to discuss scheduling of a court date and that has now been set for the 24th at Court of Queens Bench in Calgary.

In the interim, until the Court can hear the whole case on February 24th, the Court Order enforcing SRD’s closure of the logging site to public access remains in effect.  Any member of the public without permission from SRD to be in the closed area would be breaking the Court Order and can be arrested.  Construction of the logging road started Wednesday morning after four of the 35 people present were arrested for refusing to leave the site. 

Governor General Award winning author, Sid Marty; second generation outfitter Mike Judd and three other area residents, Gordon Petersen, Tim Grier and Diana Calder were served with a Court Order on January 30th, indicating that they and all members of the public had to obey SRD’s closure of that public forest to public use.

Without public notice or consultation, SRD issued an 81 square kilometer logging license covering the recreation core of the Castle Special Management Area.  The license is within former Waterton Lakes National Park land and what the province had designated as a Special Place protected area for “preserving Alberta’s natural heritage”.  Half of the mature forest within the license is scheduled for clear-cutting over the next three winters, including over logging over designated summer and winter recreation trails.  Some clear-cuts will even abut the campgrounds.

The province isn’t contractually obligated to have clear-cutting in the protected area.   In the public interest, SRD can move the logging to any alternate location and the Forest Act specifies that no compensation is due from taxpayers to the company, as long as they are given 30-days notice.

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