Protester threatens citizens arrest during morning federal funding announcement in Oak Bay

$4.3 million to protect at-risk species and their habitats, Uplands Park declared heritage site

Protestors took centre stage ahead of federal environmental announcement Monday morning.

While Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna was on hand at Cattle Point in Oak Bay to announce funding towards Canada’s conservation efforts and fight against climate change, protesters took a moment on the microphone.

McKenna announced funding towards a nature legacy to protect natural and sensitive environments and announced Uplands Park as a natural heritage site.

Environmental activist Howard Breen, of Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island, and a handful of protesters promised instead of “just disrupting” the event, they planned a citizens arrest of the minister.

Oak Bay Police Deputy Chief Ray Bernoties shook hands with Breen on a verbal agreement not to physically confront McKenna. Breen eventually confronted the minister and was arrested, only to be released shortly thereafter.

Oak Bay mayor and council were on hand with dozens of supporters for an announcement, where McKenna made a $4.3 million investment in local projects to protect at-risk species and their habitats.

The money is divided among 49 conservation projects across Canada over the next three years, led by local experts such as Wylie Thomas of Oak Bay Parks department.

It includes a $108,000 investment to support Oak Bay’s conservation and recovery of 14 at-risk plant species found in Uplands Park, some of which are endemic to the area. Those include the Bearded Owl-clover, Kellogg’s Rush, Muhlenberg’s Centaury, Water-plantain Buttercup, and Tall Woolly-heads, McKenna said. Federal funding will help Oak Bay continue to remove invasive plant species, install split-rail fencing around sensitive areas and reduce the impact of recreational use in the park.

The investment is also committed to help the Nature Conservancy of Canada’s work in the recovery of endangered plants including Howell’s Triteleia and Yellow Montane Violet, within the Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve, and to restored the Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly, an at-risk butterfly species found on Denman and Hornby Islands.

Some projects are designed with Indigenous groups to incorporate Indigenous traditional knowledge.



c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca

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