About the Blog:

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

Monday, December 28, 2009

Person Arrested at Torch Relay

As you may have heard, there was something of an incident at the torch relay downtown this morning. An altercation apparently related to a protest by a Guelph group who, amongst other things, are arguing "No Olympics on Stolen Native Land." They're actually arguing on a number of issues including the gentrification of Vancouver, criminalization of the poor, commoditization of the games and the level of security involved in hosting the Olympics (which will likely be increased now thanks to a new gang of jackasses and the incident on Northwest Airlines Flight 253.)

First the press release, then what I've heard.

Olympic Torch Bearer Knocked to the Ground

On December 28th, 2009, The Olympic Torch Run entered the City of Guelph as it made its journey across Canada enroute to Vancouver for the 2010 Olympic Games.

At approximately 7:50 a.m., the procession made its way up Wyndham Street North Guelph and as it approaching MacDonnell Street a group of protesters approached the Olympic Torch Run entourage and the 28 year old female torch bearer was knocked to A 19 year old female was immediately arrested on scene.

The Olympic Flame was not extinguished.

The 28 year old female Torch Carrier, a resident of Milton was treated on scene for her injuries by the Olympic Torch Run medical staff.

This incident occurred in front of approx. 1000 children and parents who attended the festivities to celebrate the Olympic Torch coming to Guelph on its journey to Vancouver

Brittney SIMPSON 19 years of Kitchener has been charged with Assault and will appear in court in February.

That's from the Guelph Police press release on the incident. I was not a witness, but I did speak to a few of the protesters after the flame left downtown.

According to protest spokesperson Drew Garvie, the tripping of the torch runner simply stemmed from a situation that got out of control fast. So many of the revelers were apparently trying to drown out the protesters that people began crowding around the torch route, and the runner was knocked to the ground. Garvie and his associate didn't seem to know what specifically happened, but they seemed to think it was nothing more than an accident. Information's at a premium, so I encourage anyone that saw something to e-mail me at adamadonaldson@gmail.com, or if you wish to stay anonymous, leave a comment below.

As for the protest itself, Garvie says that people have the wrong idea about what was trying to be said this morning. "I think a lot of the people booing us think we're just out to ruin their fun," he says. "It's too bad there was such hostility between the protesters and the community."

To wit, as a few other reporters and myself were talking to Garvie and his associate someone walked up behind us and sang "Oh, Canada" loudly. He then got into a verbal sparring match with Garvie saying, "It's bull$#!t what you guys are doing," he said before arguing that exactly the same people that protested the Hanlon Creek Business Park were protesting the Olympics. "It's great that Canadians have been coming together celebrating [the Olympics]. There's room for protest, but not angry protest."

As the man walked away, Gravie says to me, "That's the response to our criticism: 'Go Canada.' And that's not a compelling reason."

It's worth noting that this isn't the first time that the Olympic flame encounter protest. The flame was diverted from the Six Nations reserve near Caledonia last week when a group threatened to block the torch saying that it had no right to cross sovereign Six Nations land.

More information as it develops.

Photos provided by Greg Beneteau from thecannon.ca

Scenes from the Torch Relay

There's only one reason you would get up at six in the morning on your Christmas vacation: seeing the Olympic torch pass through your town. Below are some pictures that I took along the route near my 'hood at Paisley and Silvercreek.

I followed the torch downtown, but it was a little faster on it's feet than I was. I did, however, get this shot of the torch in the horsedrawn carage coming up through St. Georges Square.

I'll have a separate piece about the protest later today.

Monday, December 21, 2009

One Week Till the Torch

There's a lot of excitment about the Olympic Torch in town hear, if only because the darn thing seems to be circling the Royal City. On the weekend it was in Georgetown and Acton, and today its in Brantford.

Well, we'll finally get our turn a week today, as the Olympic flame will be run downtown via Paisley, stop breifly at City Hall and then head off up Eramosa, in part, by horse-drawn carriage. From here it'll head off to Erin, Alton and Orangeville.

Below, I've cut and paste the City's press release and the route maps. Two things to keep in mind though: get up early because the flame leaves Silvercreek Parkway at 7:30 AM, and remember too that the route and times may be subject to change, so check back to the site here for the latest information.

GUELPH, ON, December 14, 2009 – In just 14 days, the eyes of the world will be on Guelph as the Olympic Flame arrives as part of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Torch Relay.

“It is an honour for our city to be chosen to take part in the Olympic Torch Relay," said Mayor Karen Farbridge. "The excitement is building for the arrival of the Olympic Flame and everyone is invited to come out and cheer it on its journey to Vancouver.”

Residents of Guelph eager to catch the Olympic spirit will have the opportunity to see the Olympic Flame in person on December 28, as it passes through Guelph on its way to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. The torch relay will pass through Guelph from 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. as part of a convoy of vehicles, which will include torchbearer shuttles, media vehicles, relay support vehicles and police cruisers. Temporary rolling road closures will ensure the safety of the torchbearers and spectators lining the relay route. Join in the excitement and see the torchbearers carry the flame as it travels on its 45,000-kilometre-long journey across Canada — the longest domestic torch relay in Olympic history.

Here's a You Tube video of the torch's pass through my hometwon Georgetown Saturday morning. The picture above is a screen capture from this vid in case you were wondering.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Budget Reloaded

I got an e-mail from the City yesterday, telling me to cease and desist... Just kidding. Actually, they e-mailed me with revised budget numbers, "corrections" the e-mail said. Find the revised budget breakdown below, or find it online here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

We Got Budget

It what was a relatively easy process with such a great number of contentious issues, but the budget was passed at last night's council meeting. The end result wasn't as bad as people thought it was going to be. The 9.2 per cent shortfall was rounded down to about 3.66 per cent. Many of the more contentious potential cuts were avoided, but a number of councillors seem to have mixed feelings about what was kept and what was cut. From the Mercury blog here's the budget highlights at a glance:

  • 29 full-time positions to be eliminated
  • all staff to have five unpaid days during 2010
  • sidewalk snow plowing to continue
  • Guelph Transit passes to increase five per cent; 25 cents for cash customers
  • U of G bus pass will continue
  • statutory holiday bus service discontinued
  • Evergreen dining room to remain open
  • Free metered downtown parking to continue
  • no cuts to community or neighbourhood grants
  • east end library branch opening delayed until June
  • city will continue funding summer day camps

So another giant leap backwards for transit, which has numerous problems already, some of which I touched on in my recent Community Editorial in the Mercury. While it's nice to know that the U of G buss pass would continue, it would be nice if the city made such Herculean allowances for us poor souls who live and work in Guelph and use transit to go about our day. What's not listed above is that we're now getting "summer service hours" too. Which means that those of us that like the convenience of 20 minute service, having places to go and people to see - even in summer. So now with a 25 cent increase we'll be paying what Torontians pay for the TTC, but not for the same level of service, for lesser service. Makes sense to me.

Anyway, here's what the City office thinks of the budget. From last night's press release:

City Council approves 2010 budget

GUELPH, ON, December 15, 2009 – Guelph City Council approved the 2010 tax-supported operating and capital budget at $196,630,308, a 3.66 per cent increase over 2009. When the property tax rate is finalized in early 2010, the impact on an average household in Guelph assessed at $258,000 will be roughly $102.

The City was facing a revenue shortfall of $8.1 million as City Council began its deliberations on the 2010 operating budget earlier this month. Given the revenue shortfall, an increase of 9.2 per cent over 2009 would have been required in order to maintain current level of City services.

“This has been one of the most challenging budget years in recent memory. I want to thank the many community members and organizations who offered Council their input on the budget. I also want to thank City staff, particularly the Finance department, for their diligent work throughout this process,” said Mayor Karen Farbridge. “The result is a budget that balances the need to protect services with the need to protect taxpayers.”

In November, City staff presented the budget to City Council and identified a number of potential reductions that would lower the impact on Guelph taxpayers. City Council heard over 30 public delegations during this year’s budget process, and approved a number of the recommended service changes.

Winter control on city sidewalks will continue in 2010, as will free two-hour on-street parking downtown. The City’s operations department was directed to find further operational efficiencies to offset the cost of maintaining these services. Transit rates and holiday transit services will be affected. A complete list of service changes is available here.

City Councillors and staff will take the equivalent of five unpaid days off next year, and the City is eliminating the equivalent of twenty-nine full time positions for a savings of over $2 million next year.

The revenue shortfall in 2009 was largely caused by the global economic downturn: interest rates were at historically low levels and impacted the City’s investment income; markets for recycled commodities were weakened, and sales of recycled paper, plastic and aluminum were well below average; and the City’s court services issued and collected fewer tickets and fines.

Transit revenues also grew more slowly than expected in the first half of the year despite increased ridership since introducing 20-minute service.

The City has prioritized its long-term capital investments, and deferred a number of capital projects based on legislated requirements, capacity upgrades, repairs or improvements, environmental impacts and other strategic objectives. This priority listing will help the City manage growth pressures expected over the next two decades, while continuing to provide the services residents and businesses need and expect.

Budget Breakdown:

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Take Time to Remember

Today is the 20th anniversary of one of the worst tragedies in our nation's history. On this day 20 years ago, sometime after 4 pm, Marc Lépine arrived at L'École Polytechnique, an engineering school affiliated with the Université de Montréal, armed with a semi-automatic rifle and a hunting knife and killed 14 female students before turning the gun on himself.

To mark the anniversary, Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis is hosting a vigil at City Hall tonight at 6 pm. Details are below:

December 6th Vigil - 20th Anniversary
Sunday, December 6th
6 pm
Guelph City Hall, Galleria (indoors)
1 Carden Street, Guelph
Wheelchair accessible/barrier free location.
for more information please call 519 836 1110 or visit www.gwwomenincrisis.org

Presented by Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis and Guelph City Youth Council.
In association with the University of Guelph Central Student's Human Rights Office, Edward Johnson Public School, University of Guelph French Club, and CUPE 1334 Women's Council.

The community vigil will feature special speakers, performances, and art work by children about their vision for a peaceful, violence-free community. Join us to celebrate the lives of all the women and children killed in cases where male intimate partners have been charged in 2009.
Join us to reflect on the 14 women killed in the Montreal Massacre in 1989. 20 years on, we continue to work to end violence against women and children in our community.

Whether you can make it or not, please take time today to remember 14 women who were shot for no other reason then they were women at an engineering school.

* Geneviève Bergeron (born 1968), civil engineering student
* Hélène Colgan (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

* Nathalie Croteau (born 1966), mechanical engineering student
* Barbara Daigneault (born 1967), mechanical engineering student

* Anne-Marie Edward (born 1968), chemical engineering student

* Maud Haviernick (born 1960), materials engineering student

* Maryse Laganière (born 1964), budget clerk in the finance department
* Maryse Leclair (born 1966), materials engineering student

* Anne-Marie Lemay (born 1967), mechanical engineering student

* Sonia Pelletier (born 1961), mechanical engineering student

* Michèle Richard (born 1968), materials engineering student

* Annie St-Arneault (born 1966), mechanical engineering student

* Annie Turcotte (born 1969), materials engineering student

* Barbara Klucznik-Widajewicz (born 1958), nursing student

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Transit takes another Hit

As Guelph City Council debates the merits of making cuts to Transit as part of a multifaceted play to rein in the deficit, we get more pleasant transit cut news from Greyhound Canada. Why is it in tough economic times, the first move is to cut transit rather than adding to it. Especially given the expense of a personal car and the ongoing demand for more greener alternatives in transportation?

Anyway, here's the full piece from Newswire.

Greyhound Canada announces service reductions in Ontario


TORONTO, Dec. 2 /CNW/ - Greyhound Canada today announced a series of service reductions to its passenger bus service in Ontario while also confirming that service along the TransCanada highway will be preserved with frequency reductions.

All changes will take effect as of January 17, 2010.

These measures will ensure there is no outright halt to service along the TransCanada Highway pending the outcome of the federal-provincial-territorial Working Group which is due to report in September, 2010.

"Greyhound Canada has indicated for months that it could no longer sustain current financial losses without making adjustments to our existing operations," said Senior Vice President Stuart Kendrick. "The route frequency reductions we are announcing today are designed to relieve some of that financial pressure."

Greyhound Canada emphasized that these service adjustments are effective only on an interim basis subject to the final recommendations of the Working Group.

"The long-term future of Greyhound Canada's cross-country operations will rely upon the outcome of the federal-provincial-territorial Working Group that is due to recommend regulatory and policy changes to Ministers in September 2010," concluded Kendrick.


-------------------- ------- --- ---------
----------------- ------- ------- ----

Sudbury - Espanola - Massey
- Spanish - Blind River -
Sault Ste Marie 3 trips daily 2 trips daily Jan 17 2010
Sault Ste Marie -
Blind River - Spanish -
Massey - Espanola - Sudbury 3 trips daily 2 trips daily Jan 17 2010

Sault Ste Marie - Wawa -
Marathon - Terrace Bay -
Nipigon - Thunder Bay 2 trips daily 1 trip daily Jan 17 2010
Thunder Bay - Nipigon -
Terrace Bay - Marathon -
Wawa - Sault Ste Marie 2 trips daily 1 trip daily Jan 17 2010

Toronto - Grimsby - 8 trips daily,
St. Catharines - 1 trip
Niagara Falls (Mon to Fri),
1 trip
(Fri, Sat, Sun) 7 trips daily Jan 17 2010
Niagara Falls - 9 trips daily,
St. Catharines - 1 trip
Grimsby - Toronto (Mon to Fri) 8 trips daily Jan 17 2010

Guelph - Elora -
Mount Forest - Durham -
Chatsworth - Owen Sound
(retains service via
Toronto-Guelph-Owen Sound) 1 trip (Sunday) none Jan 17 2010
Owen Sound - Chatsworth -
Durham - Mount Forest -
Elora - Guelph
(retains service via
Owen Sound-Guelph-Toronto) 1 trip (Sunday) none Jan 17 2010
Toronto - Brampton - 1 trip (Sunday),
Orangeville - Shelburne - 1 trip 1 trip
Chatsworth - Owen Sound (Tue, Thu, Fri) (Friday) Jan 17 2010
Owen Sound - Chatsworth - 1 trip
Shelburne - Orangeville - (Tue, Thu, Sat), 1 trip
Brampton - Toronto 1 trip (Sunday) (Sunday) Jan 17 2010
Toronto - Guelph -
Mount Forest - 1 trip 1 trip
Williamsford - Owen Sound (Wed, Fri) (Friday) Jan 17 2010
Owen Sound - Williamsford -
Mount Forest - Guelph 1 trip 1 trip
- Toronto (Wed, Fri) (Sunday) Jan 17 2010

Kitchener - Stratford -
St. Mary's - London 2 trips daily 1 trip daily Jan 17 2010
London - St. Mary's -
Stratford - Kitchener 2 trips daily 1 trip daily Jan 17 2010

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Guelph Arts gearing up for Budget Fight

This came across my desk today from the Guelph Arts Council. News about possible cuts to the arts sector git buried beneath the big ticket items I reported on last week, but there's some pretty substantial cuts earmarked for the arts in Guelph should city council decide to enact them. Here's the letter from GAC:

Well, folks, this missive feels a bit like déjà vu!! Back in 2005 – after the community rallied and successfully defeated a City budget proposal to cut all community / voluntary sector grants – we did say that “it could happen again”!! And, if you’ve been reading the newspapers, you’ll know that such cuts are indeed on the table for the 2010 City budget. I heard it all during last night’s four-hour staff budget presentation / Council question period.

It’s no secret that the City has recently been dealing with some very significant financial challenges. For 2010, these look to be even greater! In fact, even the base budget increase (after consideration of revenues losses and increases as a result of contractual obligations) looks to be $8.1 million which would translate into a 9.2 % tax hike.

Recognizing that such an increase would be completely unacceptable to Guelph citizens in these tough economic times, City staff have prepared two scenarios for City Council to consider:

List A - cuts to bring the increase down to 4.48 %
List B – cuts to bring the increase down about 2.5 %

The good news is that staff is recommending List A; the bad news is that List B, although not recommended, does include elimination of all community / voluntary support.

More specifically, List B includes:

Guelph Arts Council and United Way $ 57 500
Macdonald Stewart Art Centre 168 700

Community Arts & Culture Grants 70 000

Community Health & Social Service Grants 53 600

Community Events 91 000

Civic Celebrations and Special Projects 100 000

Neighbourhood Support Coalition Grant 150 000

Total $690 800

At the Council presentation last night (November 30), Council members made it pretty clear that they had no appetite for most of the cuts identified on List B. But, at the same time, some councillors also had problems with some of the items on List A (e.g. hike in transit fares). They further indicated that they were hearing from members of the public who want virtually no tax increase!

So, where are we with the arts / voluntary sector cuts? We are not at the top of the list but we are on the list – in other word, we are threatened, and we do need to make our case.

We don’t have a lot of time to do so. Council will hear delegations from the community ONLY next Tuesday, December 8, starting at 6 p.m. Then, they will debate the budget and make a decision on Tuesday, December 15 (and Wednesday, December 16, if more time is needed).

Remembering back to the February 2005 Council meeting (which had so many delegations that by 11 p.m. one could see that Council members were tuning out), we are recommending a fairly targeted approach to avoid too much repetition at the December 8 meeting.

Guelph Arts Council has registered as a delegation for that meeting, and will speak specifically to its own city allocation (without which, our organization’s future would be in serious jeopardy) PLUS the community arts grants (which we have just finished reviewing and recommending on) PLUS some community events such as Doors Open (which could not proceed without City funding), Hillside Inside, Multicultural Festival. We know that there will also be presentations from others (Neighbour Support Coalition, Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Seniors Centre) and expect possibly others from the voluntary sector generally and possibly Civic Celebrations.

But there is a role for each and every one of you. You can communicate with Mayor / councillors:
- as an individual or as a representative of a specific group;

- specifically to your Ward councillor and/or all councillors;

- by phone, email, or letter delivered / mailed to City Hall;
- any time between now and December 15, although likely the sooner the better.

Click here to get contact information for councillors -
You could also consider sending a letter to the editor of either the Tribune or the Mercury.

Experience would show that we should be as positive as possible in any communications, not being overly critical or confrontational, and acknowledging the challenges faced by Council this year and the efforts they are making to responsibly deal with their financial shortfalls. At the same time, we need to point out how the not-for-profit voluntary sector, especially in the arts, has been similarly affected by cuts in support form other levels of government (no infrastructure $$ for us!) as well as a decline in fundraised dollars and, in many cases, a decrease in ticket sales / entry fees. For organizations already operating close to the line, for many of us it has meant going into a deficit position.

We would also be grateful if those of you who are members of Guelph Arts Council and/or work closely with us or appreciate the role we play as “the voice of the arts” in this community could put in a good word for maintaining our funding intact.

In return, as we did in 2005, Guelph Arts Council is prepared to take on the role of co-ordinating this “campaign” and keeping you posted on anything that develops between now and December 15. To that end, we would ask that each of you send us a copy of any correspondence to/from councillors.

Together, we can win this battle yet again – and live to fight another day!!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Budget Warning: Cuts Ahead, But Which Ones?

So, I just got out of the official media brief on the finer points of budget proposals being brought to council on Monday, and this hand is all cuts. Well, sort of.

First and foremost, as was repeated numerous times throughout the brief, these are mere proposals. Council will make the final call (or cut as it were) on the December 14th and 15th meetings when the official budget is passed. As for the proposals themselves, Chief Administrative Officer Hans Loewing called them a "menu of options" split into two groups: "Department Reduction Proposals" and "Other Considerations."

Basically, the city is trying to mitigate the loss of $8.1 million in revenues as much as possible. What this means is, even without any new spending, and using the numbers from the 2009 budget, there's already a 5.2 per cent increase in the 2010 budget that needs to be covered. Contractual obligations, collective agreements and compensation account for another 4 per cent increase. So when it's all said and done, the City of Guelph basically needs to find another $14.4 million for 2010.

So where is much of that money going to come from? Cuts mostly, hopes city officials. With the options presented in the "Department Reduction Proposals" the city can save 4.48 per cent or $7.4 million. If all the items under "Other Considerations" are enacted then a further $2.5 million can be shaved off the deficit, bringing the increase down to a more manageable 3 per cent.

Now the big question: Where do we trim? The City included some ideas, and again to emphasize, these are mere proposals. If you don't like something, let your voice be heard at one of the public meetings, the full schedule for which can be found on an earlier post. Just keep scrolling down.

Proposed Cuts Under "Department Reduction Proposals"
  • $91,100 cuts Economic Development & Tourism (incl. promo materials)
  • 5 unpaid days off for all city staff
  • A reduction in staffing of 29 full time positions, hopefully to be accomplished by attrition ie: retirements and resignations
  • Elimination of stat holiday bus service
  • Summer schedule for transit
  • 7 per cent fare increase for transit (Note: I asked how this would translate to dollar value for a single ride pass on a city bus and was told that the exact breakdown is not yet known, but it could be somewhere between 10 and 20 cents)
  • Increased rental fees on city facilities (rooms, rinks, rec facilities)
  • Delayed opening of east end branch of the library till June '10
  • Reduction in travel, catering and conference costs
Proposed Cuts Under "Other Considerations"
  • Closing Centennial and Lyon's pools
  • Closing Centennial rink
  • Eliminating John Galt Day activities
  • Eliminating 2 hour free parking downtown
  • Adjusting the Industrial and Perimeter transit routes (Note: this does not mean cancelling them)
This is far from a complete and thorough list, but if you have any questions or comments about anything specific, feel free to post below.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

SUBBOR Gets Served

It appears that another hurdle in the construction of the organic waste processing plant's been cleared with this ruling. And as a bonus, it was in the City's favour. Hurrah! A court decision that's actually making us money!

SUBBOR to pay City of Guelph $2.5 million
Settlement brings successful conclusion to court battle with SUBBOR, avoiding need for future court proceedings.

GUELPH, ON, November 23, 2009 – The City of Guelph will receive $2.5 million in legal costs from SUBBOR (Super Blue Box Recycling Corporation) and its parent company Eastern Power Limited. The award is part of a settlement between the City and the two companies that comes after the Ontario Superior Court and the Ontario Court of Appeal have already ruled in the City’s favour. Guelph City Council ratified the settlement at tonight’s meeting.

SUBBOR and Eastern Power Limited will pay the City of Guelph $2.5 million in instalments, with interest payable in the event of any default in payment.

Other aspects of the settlement include SUBBOR and Eastern Power Limited’s agreement to surrender all rights to the SUBBOR building — which is located on the site of Guelph’s Waste Resource Innovation Centre — and the land on which it resides. The companies have 90 days to remove their equipment from the site, not far from where excavation is currently underway in preparation for Guelph’s new Organic Waste Processing Facility.

"We are extremely pleased the City has reached a settlement with SUBBOR and Eastern Power Limited, eliminating the need for further court proceedings," Guelph’s mayor Karen Farbridge said on behalf of City Council. "The settlement is a good one for the City, bringing successful finality to what has been a long ordeal."

Both the Superior Court of Justice and the Court of Appeal found in favour of the City of Guelph after SUBBOR launched a lawsuit against the City in 2003, claiming $32 million in damages for an alleged breach of contract. In 2007 the Court dismissed SUBBOR’s claim and awarded full costs to the City. The Court of Appeal upheld the Superior Court’s decision and the awarding of costs against SUBBOR and Eastern Power Limited. SUBBOR’s appeal was dismissed on all counts on June 16. The City of Guelph has already been awarded and has been paid $100,000 for its costs related to the appeal.

Let's Get Ready to Budget!

The City of Guelph has released dates for the public consultation meetings for the 2010 budget. I'll be going to the meeting for members of the media tomorrow morning, so look for some words on that tomorrow. In the meantime, and citizen, business or group is able to come and make their voices heard by city officials and councillors. What does it mean to be a delegation? Read the City's guidelines here.

Meeting Dates & Times:

Monday, November 30 – 6 pm
Presentation of tax-supported operating budget
Staff available to respond to questions from City Council
Public is invited and welcome to attend

Tuesday, December 8 – 6 pm
Delegations welcome to address City Council regarding tax-supported budgets
Public is invited and welcome to attend
Registered delegations are welcome to address City Council.
Register as a delegation
T: 519-822-1260 x 2269
E: clerks@guelph.ca

Monday, December 14 – 7 pm
Presentation of water and wastewater budgets to City Council
City Council deliberation and approval of water and wastewater budgets
Public is invited and welcome to attend
Registered delegations are welcome to address City Council.
Register as a delegation
T: 519-822-1260 x 2269
E: clerks@guelph.ca

Tuesday, December 15 – 6 pm
City Council deliberation and approval of tax-supported budgets
Public is invited and welcome to attend

Wednesday, December 16 – 6 pm (ONLY IF NEEDED)
City Council deliberation and approval of tax-supported budgets
Public is invited and welcome to attend

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hanlon Creek Week Begins Today

Local activists aren't letting the moss grow under them as they continue to work to stop the construction of the Hanlon Creek Business Park with a week of events. I was sent the full schedule with details, which you can find outlined below. For updated information, go to the HCBP Occupation blog here.

A Week of Events to Celebrate the Hanlon Creek Wetland Complex

Monday November 23, 1:00 – 1:30pm
Guelph Police Station, near corner of Wyndham & Fountain St.

At 2pm on Monday, November 23rd, Kelly Pflug-Back will be serving the Guelph police department with a plaintiff's claim on behalf of herself and Julian Ichim regarding the Guelph police's alleged defamation and negligence in their investigation of Ms. Pflug-Back and Mr. Ichim.

Let the police know that we won’t support them acting as political tools for developers and the city.

Tuesday November 24
Xterra Construction office, 934 Guelph St., Kitchener

Xterra Construction has been contracted to tunnel pipes below the Hanlon Expressway at Clair Road to connect the HCBP to the city’s water, electrical, and telecommunications infrastructure.

Folks from Guelph and Kitchener will be dropping off letters notifying them of the contentious history of the HCBP, and the associated environmental and social problems that have made it the highest profile environmental issue in the region.

Wednesday November 25, 2:30 – 4:30pm

Hanlon Expressway and Clair Road, the site of pending construction.

Come join concerned residents of Guelph as we hold an educational rally at the site of the next round of proposed construction. We will have a friendly presence, a press conference, and will offer informative flyers to drivers as they stop at red lights. Warm drinks, baked goods, banners, and good folks will be present. The more people the better!

We’ll meet at the Via station downtown on Carden St. at 2:30, and will have free rides.

These are not invitation only events. In the interests of cordial relations the mayor, councilors and city staff are being personally invited.

Thursday November 26, 11am – 2pm
Xterra Construction office, 934 Guelph St., Kitchener

This is the first large gathering of the week. We’ll be holding a demonstration at Xterra’s office, to follow up on the delivery of our letters. This is a non-confrontational rally that is an opportunity to demonstrate our strength in numbers. Come hear from allies upstream of us in Kitchener/Waterloo and other guest speakers, about connections between the HCBP and environmental issues throughout the Grand River watershed.

We’ll be meeting at the Via station on Carden St. at 11am, with free rides there and back. Tentative schedule is for the demo to start at approx 12 noon, and be back between 2-3.

Friday November 27, 12 noon – 1pm
City Hall, 1 Carden St.

Come down to city hall for free lunch and a noon hour concert and jamboree. Call it a hullabaloo, a hootenanny, or a kerfuffle, but be there.

Let’s have a great time and remind those at city hall that there are many people in this community who are concerned about this issue and it’s myriad connections to other issues, including protection of our drinking water and downstream communities, forest preservation, biodiversity, mismanagement of municipal finances, remediation of brownfields, colonialism , disproportionate impacts on Indigenous people, and more….

This will be another opportunity to learn about what’s going on locally and how to get involved in this ever-expanding community effort. Sidewalk chalk, street theatre, and ye olde town crier may all make an appearance.

And for the grand finale, Friday night there’s a dance party for the Hanlon Creek!

Friday November 27, 9pm – late
Guelph Googenheim, 29 Woolwich Street, below Gordon Taylor Music

Hanlon Creek Drum Ensemble: Drum and Dance fundraiser for the Hanlon Creek legal fees $5, with fees going to support the legal defence during and after the occupation of the HCBP.
9:00 pm – Drumming welcome, ft. Prince Bamidele Bajowa of the Nigerian Yoruba people. Guests encouraged to bring drums!
10:30 pm – Liason into the hype DJ set ft. Josh Cold Killbert, Sebastian Butt, Tigre$$, and Wolk.

More info about the lawsuit against the police:

On September 2, people visited the home of the owner of Drexler Construction, the construction company working on the summer’s culvert. A Drexler family member was read a letter encouraging them to drop the contract.

The next day, the City of Guelph announced they were canceling the culvert work for 2009. The day after, September 4, the police announced a “criminal investigation” into charges of intimidation, based on the letter to Drexler.

On September 9, Kelly and Julian Ichim held a press conference at the police station where they read the letter, admitted being there, and tried to turn themselves in to the police for their “investigation.” Their lawyer, Davin Charney, said that evening, “This, to me, seems like another example where the Guelph Police are taking on a political role rather than simply a law enforcement role.”

Even though the police were hyping up their investigation, and two people came to turn themselves in, the police didn’t want anything to do with them. Shortly after that, the two land defenders chose to begin the process of filing a lawsuit against the Guelph Police Services Board. Mayor Karen Farbridge and councilor Gloria Kovach are both members of this board.

The lawsuit is for $30,000 for each, including $10,000 for defamation, $10,000 for breach of their Charter rights and $10,000 in aggravated and punitive damages.

“The police are being used as a political tool to repress dissidents,” Julian said that day. Their lawyer said police “have shown contempt for freedom of expression and democracy.”

On October 1, the police dropped the “investigation,” saying there was no evidence to prove Kelly and Julian were involved.

Text of letter to Drexler
Guelph Mercury articles on the subject

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Update on Woods

So remember on Monday when I said that the management of fridge and freezer makers W.C. Woods would be reaching out to employees to explain what happens now that the company's filed for bankruptcy? Yeah, apparently that hasn't happened yet. From what I've heard, Woods has been terribly silent to its 250-person work force, all of whom are now jobless, and from what I understand, compensation-less. To counter, there will be a rally at the Woods plant tomorrow at 9 am. If you can, please head on down and support the workers to whom I offer my best wishes.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Woods Deal Falls Through

Hitting the wire about an hour ago from CTV News, but it seems that a deal by a US firm to buy the W.C. Woods plant in Guelph has fallen through. This is a none-too-minor hit to local manufacturing and the employees that work at Woods, which has been on the proverbial bubble for much of the last year. The plant's even been receiving government funding to give employees paid days off due to lack of work.

What happens next is hazy at the moment. What's certain is that the business Woods' fate is now moving into a courtroom where the company's assets will be liquidated. The fate of employees meanwhile depends on who you ask. The Guelph Mercury out and out says that all 250 employees are out of work effective immediately, while 570 News says that 200 people will be laid off with the closure of Plant 2 and some employees being offered early retirement.

But more than that though, Woods is a Guelph institution, having made refrigerator and freezers in the Royal City for 75 years. Truly, this is a great loss in more ways thatn one.

Look for more info on this as the dust settles, apparently management will be talk to emplyees this afternoon. If you have any info or want to comment, just plug it in in the comments section below.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pissoirs Pulled

From the City this morning...

Downtown Guelph's two open-air pissoirs, installed as a pilot in Guelph's downtown core, were removed today.

The pissoirs at the Macdonell Street municipal parking lot and at the corner of Carden and Wyndham were installed for an eight week trial period as part of a three-pronged approach developed by the Downtown Night Life Task Force to curb urination on public and private property in the downtown core. The Task Force includes representatives from downtown businesses, the Downtown Guelph Business Association, Guelph Police Service, the University of Guelph and the City of Guelph.

Guelph City Council approved the $8,400 pilot project, which covered rental and maintenance costs of the two pissoirs. An additional $4,200 from downtown stakeholders went towards a public education campaign that included posters for downtown establishments and signs for the pissoirs.

City staff monitored the level of use, the number of by-law infringements and number of calls for maintenance during the pilot. Staff will report to City Council on the assessment of the pilot project in the coming weeks.

I'm more interested in that first part of the review, given what happen to me Tuesday night. Well, "happened to me" is not entirely precise, but it was more something I witnessed. I was heading to the Red Brick Cafe on Douglas for a late-ish night caffeine fix when I saw some guy in a hoodie and baggy pants peeing against the wall of the Scotiabank.

Hopefully, what the infringement report will attest to is that slobs will be slobs and trying to placate them by saying "if you've got to pee outside, at least do it in this bowl we've set-up." Hopefully, this is the last we'll hear of this unseemly experiment.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Would you vote for this man?

Guelph's Conservatives hope you will, because this man, Marty Burke, has been acclaimed as their candidate in the next Federal election scheduled to happen between anytime after the minute you read this sentence.

Mr. Burke is a 49-year-old Air Canada pilot, married for 20 years to his wife Trish who together have three children aged 9, 17, and 19. Additionally, Burke was a 23 year veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, a pretty important ace card as the Harper government faces ongoing criticism about action in Afghanistan. “There’s a certain amount of pride in your country that goes with being in the military,” John White, president of the Conservative Party riding association, told the Guelph Mercury yesterday.

A riding association press release said that Burke had expressed that he looked forward to being part of a party that offered Canadians economic recovery, environmental protection and ethical leadership. Of the candidate himself White said that “He’s energetic [...] He’s well-spoken and he’s in touch with several of the communities within Guelph.”

The question is this though: is he more in touch with Guelph than Liberal incumbent Frank Valeriote, who's well-liked, been involved in several community groups, boards and committees. And perhaps more importantly, Valeriote has the life-long Guelphite label working for him; Burke meanwhile moved to Guelph in 2000.

Burke does seem like an affable fellow, but the question is: will he be able to colour the last bit of Liberal red Conservative blue on the map of southwestern Ontario? The last two local Conservative candidates, Brent Barr and Gloria Kovach, were two people with a lot of crossover potential to reach non-Conservatives and independents. However, the core problem remains the same, I think: the man at the top. The people left to reach aren't fond of Stephen Harper and his policies, and the new face for Royal City Conservatives might not be able to change that.

Time will tell.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Save The Frogs

Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction as this little press release rolled across my inbox last night around 10 pm.

Section of Laird Road will close at night for amphibian migration

GUELPH, ON, September 22, 2009 – The City is acting quickly to mitigate frog road mortality on a stretch of Laird Road after receiving reports from local environmentalists last night. The City has learned that more than 100 frogs may have been struck by cars on a stretch of Laird Road as they were migrating to their wintering grounds.

The City has been looking at the road closure option since the spring when significant amphibian mortalities were identified on Laird Road. Migration during the fall months is generally less concentrated than spring migration. However, given today’s findings, the City is proceeding with the closure of Laird Road between McWilliams Road and Downey Road from dusk until dawn to avoid further mortality this fall. (Night is when amphibian migration usually takes place.) Traffic volume on Laird Road is low at night.

City staff will consult with experts and undertake observations of amphibian movements and weather patterns to determine how long the road closure will continue.

Meanwhile, as a longer term measure, the City is planning to construct amphibian movement culverts with fencing on either side of Laird Road this fall to provide for safe passage.

The matter had prompted LIMITS, already in the amphibian saving business, (so to speak) to take action themselves. Apparently, they were the "local environmentalists" that the city press release spoke of.

"TONIGHT!!! There is a meeting at Laird Road (between the Hanlon and Downey Road) tonight - 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm - to try to save as many of the amphibians as possible. All are welcome, but make sure to wear reflective clothing, and bring a flashlight, bucket and gloves!!!"

That message went out to members of the LIMITS Facebook group around 3:30 pm, by 5 pm victory was declared by another message:

"The frogs that did not make it across Laird road last night were put on display in front of city hall, prompting Hans Loewig to come out and announce laird will be closed tonight and then the city will figure out what to do on a more long-term basis!"

The Mercury's got copy on it in today's issue, but apparently this has been an issue with area residents for some time now.

"Norah Chaloner said she and a few friends noticed last September while walking on Laird Road the large number of frogs and toads being killed by passing cars. Realizing conditions would be ideal for a migration Monday night – a wet, warm night following a dry spell – they headed out with flashlights in hand to help the amphibians with their treacherous journey."

So kudos to area residents for taking swift action, and kudos to the city for taking such a big step to close a road for wildlife.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Program gets low-income adults in motion

I've had this press release sitting in my e-mail for a while. I'd liek to think I was saving it for the right time, and I'm going to stick to that. The Downtown 5K run is this Saturday, anyone looking for more information on it can scroll below after the press release or go to the Community Health Centre website here.

Guelph, ON - Angel Carraro has just received a boost in her efforts to become physically active. She has been provided with the most basic of exercise equipment - a pair of running shoes. Carraro notes, “It is really helpful to get a good quality pair of shoes, especially when on a budget and when you want to get active. It’s a good foundation for activity.”

Ms. Carraro’s shoes were provided by Guelph CHC’s Running Shoe Recycle Program, operated in partnership with local running store, the Running Works. Guelph CHC Health Promoter and Guelph in motion co-chair Karrie Cumming, says, “Competitive runners typically buy new running shoes every few months. While these used running shoes are no longer suitable for training, they still have many miles of life left in them to benefit Guelph CHC clients for activities like walking”. The Running Shoe Recycle Program collects high quality, gently used running shoes to distribute to Guelph CHC clients who need a good pair of shoes to support their efforts to be physically active.

While working with low income adults at Guelph CHC, Cumming noted that many people face barriers to being physically active. “It’s a common misperception that it is simply a matter of motivation. However, there are many factors that can stop someone from participating in exercise, such as financial barriers.” Cumming reports. “When working with some of our diabetic clients I would frequently notice that clients would be interested in beginning our program to assist in managing their blood sugar, however, they would not have a proper pair of shoes. Running shoes are a basic tool for many forms of exercise, so not having a pair is can really be a major obstacle to becoming active. This is especially true for diabetic’s who often have compromised circulation in their feet.”

Guelph CHC collects shoes in all men’s and women’s adult sizes. Shoes are only recycled if they are good quality (ie. Saucony, New Balance, Asics, etc.) and in good condition (ie. no holes and not very dirty). Running shoes are washed and fitted with insoles prior to distribution.

The Running Shoe Recycle program has been so successful at inspiring people to become active that a team of Guelph CHC clients, including Carraro, will be participating as walkers in this year’s Meridian Guelph Downtown 5K Run on September 26th. For more information about donating quality used running shoes or the Downtown 5K Run please call 519-821-6638.

About Guelph CHC

Guelph CHC is committed to working with our community to provide access to health programs and services, and create opportunities for people to improve their well-being. We are particularly focused on assisting people who are new to Canada or who face challenges such as low income, unemployment, isolation, homelessness and physical or mental disabilities.

About in motion

WDG in motion is a community partnership working to improve the health of our region by encouraging 30 minutes of daily physical activity for all residents. In motion is aimed at mobilizing people in our region to become more physically active by:

* Building awareness about local physical activity opportunities and the benefits of being active
* Reducing barriers to physical activity in our communities
* Identifying the creative use of leisure facilities, parks and open spaces to support broader participation
* Utilizing community events to celebrate and encourage physical activity
* Stimulating community dialogue and action to enhance physical activity opportunities
* Inspiring and engaging local schools in physical activity opportunities for children and youth.

Guelph in motion’s mission is to “create a culture of physical activity” in the City of Guelph.

Monday, September 21, 2009

I refused to go in any case

If you didn't here, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in town today for a photo op at Linamar's new Teaching and Technology Centre at 700 Woodlawn Rd. A flurry of e-mails and messages went across the interweb last night as the proactively inclined tried to get their ducks in a row.

"Hey folks, There will be an emergency protest against the Harper government at 2pm on Monday. Harper plans on coming to Guelph to do a photo op at Linamar's new Technology and Teaching Centre - 700 Woodlawn rd. COME JOIN THE "WELCOMING" COMMITTEE!!! Bring your signs and noise makers! Let's show him that Guelph is not behind his attacks on workers, women, immigrants, peace, etc. etc."

That was one message I got. Several of my Facebook friends changed their status to a rallying cry and considering the Monday afternoon timing and the the relatively crappy weather, I wonder how successful they were.

Was I there? Nope. First of all, I'm busy trying to play catch up on all my Toronto Film Festival reviews, which I'm getting paid for and thus can't sacrifice a couple of hours to do a freebie, even if it is becasue the PM's in town. Secondly, the release on the PMO's own website didn't sound very inviting...

Public events for Prime Minister Stephen Harper for Monday, September 21st are:

Guelph, Ontario
2:00 p.m. – Prime Minister Stephen Harper will participate in a photo opportunity. He will be joined by Members of the Conservative Caucus.

700 Woodlawn Road

Guelph, Ontario
N1K 1G4

*Photo opportunity only (cameras and photographers only)

• Media are required to present proper identification for accreditation.
• Media should arrive no later than 1:45 p.m.

Guelph, Ontario
2:30 p.m. – Prime Minister Stephen Harper will make an announcement. He will be joined by Members of the Conservative Caucus.

700 Woodlawn Road

Guelph, Ontario
N1K 1G4

*Open to media
NOTE: • Media are required to present proper identification for accreditation.

Somehow, I didn't see me as a freelance journalist and blogger having the "proper identification" they'd want. Secondly, what am I going to get out of going there that I'm not going to get out of reading it in the paper tomorrow or seeing it on the news tonight. Probably nothing. The last several times when Harper's been here he's taken no media questions, done no interviews, particiapted in no scrums. I realize that being the leader of country is a busy job, but you can't scrum for 10 minutes? Well neither can I.

Considering the sneaky way this info, came out, I didn't exactly feel galvinized to put aside my day and trudge up to the Industrial area of town to listen to Harper talk. Sorry, that's not political, it's business. When a Federal leader comes to town, a rarity outside of an election call, I don't think it's too much to ask for some level of engagement with local press. I don't know if that changed today, if the PM pointed at Rob O'Flanagan or Scott Tracey from the Merc and took a question, but I have a feeling he didn't.

I have a feeling he shot in past however many protesters that were there, went in through the back, got his photo op, said his piece and was off to the next thing. Sleek, clean, well-rehearsed and polished to the hilt - that's how the Prime Minister rolls. Reporters are unpredictable, they ask imputent questions and if you give them 10 minutes in a scrum the next thing you know they'll be wanting one-on-one interviews. Nonsense! So yeah, not to sound selfish but I need something more than admittance. It's like goiong to Wonderland and getting into the park but only being allowed to look at the rides, and not go on them. So for that reason, I refused to go in any case.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Yellow Alert for Water Levels

This a pretty big deal. So despite all the whining about how "this wasn't a real summer," it appears that there are some benefits to getting a decent amount of rainfall, like not having to worry about the water levels from dipping to far out of hand. Now I would never advocate that we have cause to celebrate because we didn't have to conserve, that would be just silly. But it's still nice to hear that the environment's not yet a total loss.

GUELPH, ON, September 17, 2009 – The City has moved to Level 1 Yellow of its Outside Water Use Program after water managers from across the Grand River watershed moved to endorse Level I flow conditions of the Ontario Low Water Response Plan for the Eramosa watershed. During Level I conditions the Grand River Low Water Response Team (GRLWRT) asks communities in the Eramosa River Watershed to aim for a 10 per cent reduction in water consumption.

The decision comes in response to receding stream flows across the watershed. Despite a relatively wet summer, rainfall in the past month has concentrated on the northern and southern portions of the Grand River Watershed leaving the central portion, which includes the Eramosa River, significantly untouched. As a result, river flows in the Eramosa River have dropped to about half of what they would normally be at this time of the year. There is little precipitation expected over the next week and Environment Canada is predicting warmer temperatures and below normal precipitation over the next few months.

The decision by the GRLWRT requires Guelph to move from Level 0 Blue of the Outside Water Use Program to Level 1 Yellow. The change in Program level does not restrict activities associated with outside water use, rather it reminds residents to be aware of their water consumption and follow the City’s “reduce outside use” guidelines. Level 1 Yellow conditions still allow for alternate day lawn watering, and do not restrict garden, tree or shrub watering.

Although outside watering activities are not affected by the level change, compliance to the program guidelines becomes mandatory. With the change in program level, Waterworks staff and City By-law Officers will increase enforcement of the Outside Water Use Program. Residents who fail to comply with the City’s “reduce outside use” guidelines can face a fine of $110.

For information about the Grand River Conservation Authority, visit www.grandriver.ca. Information about the Province’s Low Water Response Plan and Guelph’s Outside Water Use Program can be obtained by Guelph Waterworks at 519-837-5627 or by visiting guelph.ca/water.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Horst is back!

To the disappointment of a lot of people, Guelph cartoonist and illustrator Gareth Lind pulled the plug on his long running comic strip Weltschmerz last year. Those of us who enjoyed the doom and gloom sobriety offered through perpetual glass-is-half-empty advocate Horst, the strips protagonist (or maybe antogonist), have missed Lind's spin on issues facing Canadians.

Well just when you thought you'd never hear (so to speak) Horst's naisally leftist whine ever again, he's making a triumphant comback, albeit in a new, leaner package.

Dear former Weltschmerz readers,

I have started a new comic strip called This Bright Future, appearing every week at The Canadian Charger. Think of it as distilled Weltschmerz. Tighter. Sharper. And I hope just as funny.

Horst and his friends return -- Frank, Cosmo, Raj, Donya and even maybe Celia. But the strip will be more focused on current affairs, less on personal foibles. Not surprisingly, Stephen Harper has put in an appearance more often than any of the above.

You can find This Bright Future on the front page of The Canadian Charger, a web magazine aiming to expand the range of discourse in our corporate-dominated media. The first panel of this week's cartoon is attached below. (There are a number of seed comics to check out as well.)

If enough readers request it, this new strip could appear on local newsprint (hint intended).

Please visit the Charger Thursdays to for your satire fix. You can become a fan at the TBF Facebook page. And please spread the word.

Thanks for reading,

And suddenly, all is right with the world again. Welcome back, Horst! (Gareth too!)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

HCBP: That's all folks... for now

It would seem that those rascally Hanlon Creek Business Park Occupiers got their wish after all and stopped construction on the HCBP lands, for this year anyway. After the City got Ministry of Natural Resources approval to proceed with the construction of a culvert last week, it seemed it was full speed ahead to wrap construction before we got too deep into fall.

Press Release from the City:

GUELPH, ON, September 3, 2009 – The City of Guelph has determined that it will not proceed with construction of a culvert on the Hanlon Creek Business Park site in 2009, and will instead undertake culvert construction in 2010 as part of the overall servicing work for Phase 1 of the Business Park.

The decision comes this afternoon at the conclusion of careful analysis on the part of the City as to the environmental and technical implications of undertaking the construction in the fall rather than in the summer. One month of critical summer work was lost between July 27 and August 27 as a result of a small group of protesters having occupied the site. The original work plan would have seen all in-stream work completed before August 31. That plan was thwarted when protesters halted work on the project in July.

Construction of the tributary "A" culvert is considered to have lower environmental risks in the summer when groundwater levels and stream flows are low. Construction in the fall creates the potential for greater environmental impacts when groundwater and surface water levels are generally higher. To perform the work this fall would require extensive de-watering (a process whereby the shallow water table is manually lowered) and an elaborate diversion of the stream, the first of which would require a permit to take water and both of which would be subject to a potentially lengthy approval process.

City officials have decided that deferral until 2010 is the environmentally responsible and generally more prudent route. "A handful of protesters have held our City hostage and ignored democratic processes. Regrettably, the result is a significant delay, which will ultimately cost city taxpayers," says Guelph's mayor Karen Farbridge.

The City's contractor will be on site over the next few days to remove equipment and stabilize the site.

All construction planned for 2010 will move forward without delay. The City will work with Industry Canada to secure the use of more than $621,000 in federal funding, announced today, when it resumes its work in 2010. This funding was announced as part of the country's economic stimulus package to get Canadians working, create jobs and provide a legacy of longer-term economic benefits.

It's kind of odd to hear the Mayor talk about the City being held "hostage" and the cost to taxpayers, especially given that many involved with protesting are involved in the Ontario Public Interest Research Group, also known as her old digs.

But what do the protesters themselves have to say:

We just learned from a City press release that the City is cancelling the HCBP for this year, due to losing a “critical month” of summer work. In other words, the main goal of the occupation – stopping the HCBP for this year – has been achieved! The larger goal of stopping the HCBP as a whole, has yet to be accomplished. But we have a hell of a lot more time and energy to work towards that.

Check out this article from the Mercury: Farbridge says city held ‘hostage’

Also see the City’s press release, which is basically the same: City delays culvert construction until spring (As quoted above)

Mayor Karen Farbridge also says that, “A handful of protesters have held our City hostage and ignored democratic processes.” If the Mayor had visited the site even once during the occupation, she would know that literally hundreds of people of all ages participated in the occupation, with thousands more in support.

The Mayor herself should ask how many times people must be ignored through their ‘democratic process,’ until they realize that sometimes the most effective way to create change is to take action.

Thank you so much to everyone for every single way you have helped. Let’s keep it going, and stay tuned for updates.

Good news!

This message was sent over both the "Save our Old Growth Forests" Facebook group and the "Land Is More Important Than Sprawl" group.

So there you have it, a small group of so-called radicals can really make a difference after all. My hope is that over the next couple of months, there is a serious reconsideration of proceeding with work on this site. It's plans were drawn years ago in a completely different economy. And I have yet to receive a decent counter argument as to why hundreds of acres of empty industrial space in the north end can't be converted to a new business park as opposed to digging up and paving over pristine green space.