B.C. Ferries has won a court injunction to keep protesters from interfering with sailings this Family Day weekend and beyond.

The order issued by B.C. Supreme Court on Friday bars individuals from obstructing access to ferry terminals by land or water. No one is allowed to block or disrupt the “correct functioning” of B.C. Ferries, Justice Brian MacKenzie ordered.

That consists of obstructing access to the terminals, hindering or covering closed-circuit television video cameras on or near the ferryboats, or physically blocking B.C. Ferries workers or members of the general public from going into terminals and associated buildings, according to the order.

RCMP are authorized to arrest and eliminate anybody contravening the order.

Social-media posts indicated demonstrations could return to Swartz Bay terminal on Saturday, B.C. Ferries stated in its notification of application. The company “likewise has concerns for its other terminals due to posts on social networks calling for protesters to shut down the B.C. government,” states the notification.

On Jan. 20, protesters supporting Wet’ suwet’ en chiefs who oppose an LNG pipeline in northern B.C. established a blockade on the highway resulting in Swartz Bay, preventing automobiles from reaching the terminal.

Also, protesters in four kayaks were in the water in or near the terminal to obstruct vessels from getting here and leaving, B.C. Ferries stated.

As a result of the January demonstration, one ferry sailing was delayed by 70 minutes and another was cancelled, the application stated.

The demonstration likewise impacted cruisings from Salt Spring Island and other Gulf Islands to Swartz Bay, and led to “substantial” traffic backups on Highway 17, inconveniencing many visitors, who went through lengthy hold-ups, the company stated.

Protesters also staged a demonstration at Alert Bay near the ferry terminal on Feb. 9.

Because Family Day weekend is traditionally busy, drawing in high volumes of traffic, blockades at ferryboat terminals would trigger “severe and substantial disruption to taking a trip members of the general public,” B.C. Ferries stated.

The corporation kept in mind in its notice of application that ferries from the Swartz Bay this weekend are expected to include about 33 vital medical transfers for patients who do not have the necessary medical facility in their neighborhoods– mostly from the Southern Gulf Islands, where medical centers are restricted.

The January ferryboat interruption cost B.C. Ferries $50,000 to $70,000, the company stated in its notification, adding similar losses are likely if blockades are established once again.

B.C. Ferries is producing presentation zones at each of its terminals that would enable protesters to be extremely noticeable and express their views. Those zones would not block access to terminals or restrain traffic, the company said.

B.C. Ferries states it has actually added more than 20 additional sailings in between Swartz Bay and Tsawwassen for the Family Day weekend.

cjwilson@timescolonist.com

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