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Site C protesters to dismantle camp outside Vancouver BC Hydro office

VANCOUVER — Opponents of a major hydroelectric dam project in northern British Columbia were packing up a protest camp outside BC Hydro's Vancouver office.

The decision came more than a week after the utility filed a notice of civil claim and an application for an injunction in a bid to evict Site C protesters who have been stationed outside the head office 24 hours a day since March 13.

Julia Ratcliffe, one of the people named by BC Hydro in court documents, said she decided to settle with the company outside of court.

"I don't have the resources to fight a civil suit if it came to it," she said in an interview.

Between six and 20 people made up the camp, which will be dismantled by Monday afternoon, Ratcliffe said.

BC Hydro won a court injunction in February to remove a separate protest camp near Fort St. John, B.C., where members of the Peace Valley Landowners Association and the Treaty 8 First Nations took a stand against Site C.

The $8.8 billion megaproject will flood agricultural land and First Nations archeological sites, and destroy fishing and hunting areas.

Ratcliffe said she's not happy about settling with BC Hydro, but predicts the fight against the dam will continue.

"No one's lost our motivation," she said.

Several court cases against the project are still ongoing, and fighting to keep the protest camp would detract from those fights, Ratcliffe said.

"More dollars to use for legal aid would have meant less for them, basically," she said.

"We're not the people who should be in court. It should be BC Hydro in court, defending the Site C dam."

A BC Hydro spokeswoman declined to comment.

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