About the Blog:

Guelph Politico is locally sourced and dedicated to covering the political and cultural scene in the City of Guelph. Est. 2008.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


The drama of the occupation at the Hanlon Creek Business Park continues to defy expectations and explanations. A provincial judge offered a reprieve to protesters yesterday that in effect allows the occupation to continue for another week, but with a few provisos, as you'll see listed below.

From the HCBP Occupation blog:

Victory in court?!? This morning we were entering the state of mind that the police tactical unit could raid us immediately upon the granting of an injunction. And indeed they were ready and waiting in the court building, but they did not get their wish. The courtroom was packed with 70-80 people, many of whom were new to the 7 defendants. An enormous thank you to everyone who came out to support!

Instead of granting an injunction, the judge decided to adjourn until Monday, August 10. Some of us didn’t sleep at all last night as we worked from 12 noon right through to 9am, preparing our legal defence in the form of affidavits. Despite our tiredness, our spirits remain strong among the company of so many amazing people, both with us in person and in spirit.

We have retained Eric Gillespie as our lawyer, who is the best possible lawyer for us. In 2006 he represented the Kortright Hills Neighbourhood Association in their fight against the Hanlon Creek Business Park, when they took the City to the Ontario Municipal Board. So he knows more than any other lawyer about this issue, and believes in our cause. He is also very well known as the lawyer who fought Wal-Mart in Guelph for 9 years, which was an epic battle which ultimately resulted in Wal-Mart coming to Guelph.

Here’s the rundown:

The City was pushing for an ‘all or nothing’ package where they wanted us to:

-leave the construction site and move to their designated ‘protest pen’ remove all structures
-allow the filling in of all trenches, the repair of the silt fencing (which was improperly installed in the first place), and allow the re-staking of survey stakes which unknown individuals removed, and allow all contractors to continue work, except for heavy machinery

Our lawyer argued that that would be essentially the same as the injunction. So instead, we got the judge to agree to let us stay right where we are, and keep all our structures! There are a few concessions however: we cannot have more than 30 people on site (as well as 5 from the media), and that can only include people who have already been at the site for at least 24 hours. We must allow the re-staking of survey stakes and the repair of the silt fencing, and we cannot build any new structures. We also must put a string around the main area where are occupying (the judge laughingly suggested some green hemp rope – she was in a good mood).

For a full detailing of the day in court, see Stephanie Dearing's excellent article on Live Journal.

Certainly a tremendous victory for this small band no matter what limits have been imposed on them by the judge. Whether or not it's sign that the moment and good luck will hold out for the protesters is the big question though.

No comments: