Thursday, August 13, 2009

HCBP Update and Bike Racks

Apparently, You Can Fight City Hall

The Tuesday following the Civic Holiday dawned with the anticipation that the occupation of over 50 protesters at the site of the future Hanlon Creek Business Park was just hours away from a forced end. The call went out the night before as organizers spread e-mails, IMs and Facebook messages to get as many people out to the provincial court house on Woolwich St. The intention was to show as much support as possible in the court room to make the inevitable harder to follow through on. But in an act of cosmic irony, Justice Bonnie J. Wein decided to give the protesters a six day reprieve, effectively allowing the occupation to continue an extra week.

There were provisos however. Judge Wein ordered that there cannot be more than 30 people on site at a time and that only included people who had set up shop on the site for at least 24 hours. The protesters also had to allow the re-staking of survey stakes and the repair of the silt fencing and they were barred from adding any new structures to the site. A rope was also ordered put up as an ad hoc fence around the site, and all that work got underway on Wednesday morning. “So in short, this is a huge victory, and nearly unprecedented in Canada for the Defendants of an injunction to be allowed to stay in place while the case is adjourned,” wrote an anonymous poster on the HCBP Occupation blog. “The plus to that is that this case law is now available to support other such land defence actions!”

The city was pushing for a complete removal from the site to a designate protest area in the spirit of so-called “free speech zones,” similar to the type used at party conventions last year in the United States. The judge was concerned about the protesters health and safety, but was reportedly impressed with the cooking and toilet amenities used on site. Further, the protestors came prepared, hiring Toronto attorney Eric K. Gillespie, who’s familiar with Guelph development issues having represented the Kortright Hills Neighbourhood Association in their fight against the HCBP at the Ontario Municipal Boar; he was also part of the decade-long epic struggle to keep Wal-Mart out of town. The protesters are now looking to raise about $6,000 for legal expenses, and are accepting donations to keep up their fight. Everyone was back in court Monday for the next chapter of the story, the full details of which can be conveniently read now on my blog at

Guelph Transit racks ‘em up

Bikes that is. Perhaps you noticed the odd metal racks on the front of Guelph Transit buses last week. Well, it turns out that this is part of Transit’s priority to make alternative, and green friendly transportation in the City of Guelph a little more viable, and are taking citizen’s advice seriously in order to make it happen. The City conducted a survey back in April asking Guelph residents to send it thoughts and suggestions about how to improving biking in the Royal City. A press release last week stated that of the 400 residents polled, 31 per cent said that bike racks on buses would motivate them to cycle more frequently in Guelph. “Providing our riders with travel options that make their daily commute more convenient and enjoyable is important to the success of our transit service,” said Rudy Stehle, Interim Manager of Guelph Transit. Now following in the footsteps of other transit systems in K-W and Toronto, for example, Guelphites can use a combination of bus and bike to get around. “Guelph is committed to providing many sustainable transportation options to residents,” said Mayor Karen Farbridge. “This logical public transit enhancement will help further reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make our city more bicycle-friendly.”

No comments:

Post a Comment