December 8, 2019

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Protesters quietly leave Parker lands

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>A group of protesters had occupied the 45-acre Fort Garry site since mid-July to oppose deforestation of the land.</p>

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

A group of protesters had occupied the 45-acre Fort Garry site since mid-July to oppose deforestation of the land.

The Parker lands protest has ended.

Protesters cleaned up their campsites and left peacefully Friday prior to the 6 p.m. court-imposed deadline to leave the south Winnipeg property.

They had been on the 45-acre Fort Garry property since mid-July to oppose the deforestation of the Parker lands. The Court of Queen’s Bench ruled earlier this week they were breaking the law by camping on private land and set the Friday deadline.

Local developer Andrew Marquess and his company, Gem Equities Inc., had asked for the court order to remove the protesters. Lawyers for Marquess also asked for $10,000 from the defendants because of delays in development of the area due to the blockade, but it wasn’t known whether the judge will pursue that action.

Protesters could not be reached for comment Friday.

"I’m sure it’s quite a blow to them at this time, even though most of us did expect this," said Cal Dueck, a member of the Parker Wetlands Conservation Committee, which also opposed the ongoing development.

"In some ways, it’s the end of a dream."

Protesters halted the removal of trees with their Rooster Town blockade, named for one of the last Métis settlements located near the site east of the intersection of Taylor Avenue and Waverley Street. They said were trying to protect Indigenous land rights and fight for ecological preservation.

Gem Equities acquired the Parker lands in 2009 in a land swap with the City of Winnipeg.

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