Demonstrators calling on the B.C. government to take urgent action on the climate emergency passed through Richmond Saturday on their way to Victoria — but weren’t able to walk through the Massey Tunnel as planned.
Members of Extinction Rebellion Vancouver instead boarded a bus at Bridgeport Canada Line station to take them through the city and tunnel to Delta to continue their journey on foot, titled “Walk for Mother Earth.”
Police informed the group on Friday that they wouldn’t be able to walk through the tunnel, according to a spokesperson for the group, which had planned to block one lane of traffic as they went through.
Clay Adams, spokesperson for the City of Richmond, said the bus was provided by Coast Mountain Bus Company, a subsidiary of TransLink.
“They didn’t want anything that was going to disrupt flow through the tunnel for safety reasons, so hence they offered them a bus,” Adams said.
The group started its walk on Friday. It plans to take the ferry to Vancouver Island on Sunday, then walk to Saanichton, where they will stay overnight. Volunteer co-ordinator Maayan Kreitzman said the group expects to follow the Lochside trail, but they might go onto roads, including the Patricia Bay Highway.
On Monday, the demonstrators plan to make their way to downtown Victoria via the Lochside and Galloping Goose trails. Once at the legislature, they plan to nail their proposed “Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill” to the doors.
Kreitzman said there will not be any communal camp-outs and protesters are responsible for their own accommodation. “Most people are likely joining for one or a few days and will still be able to go home.”
The group expects “perhaps 50-80 people for the initial stretch,” Kreitzman said, but “it’s hard to predict exactly how many will show up each day.”
Asked if the group is concerned about the advisory against non-essential travel, Kreitzman said the journey “does constitute travel for essential purposes.”
“What would be more essential than the protection of our life-support systems? Our governments are exacerbating the climate and ecological emergency rather than addressing it as a true emergency, so we have to act now.”