ACTIVISTS are vowing to continue protecting a seemingly vacant eagles' nest on Port Metro Vancouver land scheduled to be cleared as part of the Low Level Road project.
The port had sent arbourists to cut the tree on East Esplanade down Monday, but protesters converged at the base of the tree, prevent work crews from bringing it down.
While there is no indication from the port as to when fallers will be back, they should expect to be greeted by more protesters when the time comes, says Paul Berlinguette, president of the North Shore Wetland Partners.
"We're going to draw a line and we're digging in. This is only one of the fronts we're on right now and it's going to get real aggressive with the (Port Metro Vancouver,)" said Berlinguette, who was on of the first protesters on the scene Tuesday.
"I live right near there and heard the chainsaws and basically ran down there without my jacket or telephone or anything."
PMV is consulting with eagle biologist David Hancock, who is advising the port and helping to put together a mitigation plan to encourage the eagles to nest again in the same area.
The port maintains the nesting pair who built the nest last year never occupied it, but Berlinguette disputes that.
"That's wrong. They definitely were there. We saw them building it," he said. "From what I gather, the eagles did have a young one in there last year. They did have one offspring. I gather there are pictures of it, which I have sent on to David Hancock."
The eagles use the tree as a perch when hunting by the waterfront, Berlinguette said, and he suspects the port is rushing to get the tree removed before the eagles decide to use the nest again.
The mitigation plan, which may involve pruning other nearby
trees to encourage nesting or erecting platforms to place new nests on, has not been finalized, which Berlinguette called "ass-backwards."
Berlinguette opposes removing the tree on environmental and philosophical grounds. "I have a hard time with our species. I don't appreciate our species and we're not very good at what we do. When we put ourselves first, that condones rape of everything else around us and that's what we're doing," he said.
Port Metro Vancouver was always up front about the tree having to come down to make way for the Spirit Trail, according to Coun. Pam Bookham, ". . . but my understanding was they would have the mitigation plan in place and the nest would have been relocated to a platform they would construct," she said.
But Bookham cautioned that would need further research for confirmation. "Sometimes if we don't put things down in writing and get a signature and wave it in their faces until it's fulfilled, details like this can get lost as the bigger issues are addressed," she said.
Still, whatever the agreement, PMV should have shown better planning, Bookham said.
"What disappoints me is, with the amount of time that has passed since the approval was there, knowing where they want to begin with their work plan, that they had not already addressed this issue. I feel as though they had sufficient time to relocate this nest," she added.