Thursday, November 5, 2009

Protests at Hanlon as Bell Goes Green

Definitely not your father’s groundbreaking

Given the rather contentious nature of the issue, it was a bit surprising that the City would have so public an event in honour of the Hanlon Creek Business Park like a ground breaking. When the announcement was made Tuesday, you could practically smell trouble in the air. The proverbial ink was barely dry on the press release when LIMITS (Land Is More Important Than Sprawl) sent out a flyer calling for a peaceful demonstration at the Downey St entrance to the site. The flyer further declared that instruments and street theatre were welcome.

Well there was certainly theatre, but the calls for a peaceful demonstration seemed to fall on deaf ears. About 75 people were there for the rake out on the other side of the barricades at the groundbreaking as several city officials and other guests there by “invitation only” had to walk past shouting protesters, at least one grim reaper and “Barnie,” the purple Jefferson salamander dinosaur. As Mayor Karen Farbridge and others overturned the sod for the future business park, protestors dug an effigy grave for Barnie and his brethren.

But if getting in was rough, getting out was murder. Or at least there were shouts of it, anyway. “You will pay for this. Your life is on the line,” shouted a hooded protester according to the Mercury’s Rob O’Flanagan. Over on his Ward 2 blog, Councillor Ian Findlay said that while returning to the bus with a city staff member, “We were greeted by what could be described as a feral mob of protesters, dressed in Halloween costumes chanting ‘F**k You Scum! F**k You Scum!’” Buses were only able to leave the site once the police had cleared a path. In a City press release celebrating the groundbreaking, there was no mention of any troubles on the site.

Bell goes Fed for the Greens next election

After Mike Nagy’s three at bats for the Federal Green Party in Guelph, Ward 1 Councillor Bob Bell will step up to the plate for the team in the next federal election. Bell was acclaimed at a meeting of local Greens last week. The first-time federal candidate said that he was drawn to the idea of taking more action on the environment and feels that it’s the most important issue facing Guelph and Canada. “Climate change is an issue that I find is the biggest driver,” on other issues, Bell told me by phone on Saturday. “It trickles down to transportation planning, energy pricing, food security and international trade.”

Bell added that he thinks that the way environmental issues and how people see them is continuing to evolve. “Most people have thought of issues as independent but my perspective is that other issues all fit into the environment, but I think that’s typical of the Green Party.” The newly minted Green candidate also said that he thinks a federal election is far off, but in the mean time he’ll be learning the fine art of a federal campaign along with getting some helpful pointers from his predecessor Nagy.

Flu shots come to those who wait

Swine flu fever hit Guelph last week… Oh, wait. Poor choice of words. Okay, so swine flu vaccination fever hit Guelph last week as the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health Unit began flu shot clinics last Friday, including the controversial H1N1 shot. The shot was recommended, as per usual, for pregnant women, children between the ages of six months and five years old, people with chronic health conditions and health care workers but because of the looming, media-hyped threat of pandemic, 2,000 people and a four hour wait were what people showing up at the former College Avenue Public School got. Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health has received two allotments of the vaccine. The first was 12,000 doses and the second was 14,500. For clinic times and locations go to or follow updated info on wait times on Twitter at

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