(File photo)

(File photo)

Island conservation group says members targeted with harassment, vandalism

Police investigate pair of reports of mischief victims call pushback against conservation efforts

Police are investigating a pair of weekend reports and the Qualicum Nature Preservation Society (QNPS) says members of their group were targeted with harassment and vandalism in the early hours of Saturday morning.

On Saturday, Feb. 27, Ezra Morse, president of the QNPS, issued a release, stating: “We understand that passions run high in politics, but when citizens are targeted for exercising their freedom of expression and participating in the democratic process, it is an affront to the core values of Canada.”

The incidents were described as “a truck darting at high speeds (and peeling tires) through residential neighbourhoods, where a passenger would enter properties and throw objects at cars” for approximately three hours after midnight.

Morse stated in an email to PQB News it was not the first time a member of the society has recently experienced harassment. The society has been a vocal advocate for nature preservation and adherence to the environmentally sensitive Official Community Plan.

“On Thursday morning (Feb. 25), I noticed my front lawn torn up with tire tracks from a truck. I didn’t think much of it,” he said, adding the damage over the weekend was minimal, but that he found the entire episode “juvenile.”

Oceanside RCMP spokesman Cpl. Jesse Foreman confirmed police attended two separate incidents at Qualicum Beach locations during the weekend, described as a loud, suspicious vehicle and mischief to a yard. The investigation continues.

“We are used to pushback,” said Morse.

“We’ve been called every name in the book… It’s dangerous doing what we do. But this is the first time it’s ever come to our homes at night. And I don’t know the full history of Qualicum Beach, but it might be the first time political activity has ever spilled over into criminal mischief. It saddens me. I do hope our council can stand with us and signal this is where you have to draw the line.”

Mayor Brian Wiese was unavailable for comment on Monday, and town staff indicated they were unaware of the incidents at the time.

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