The Electric Pencil

Hanlon Creek occupation update

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Since the beginning of the direct action against the HCBP, there was a clearly agreed-upon conclusion that this occupation was first and foremost to be a space of resistance. This was to ensure a “safe and healthy space” focused on the defense of the land, and to forgo all possibilities of reason for police intervention, such as substance abuse or partying. This was to define all camp activities. The point was to maintain a sense of purpose and direction for a potentially tense political situation that seemed inevitable and to continue to examine the place of action against the HCBP in a wider resistance movement.

That’s from “Protect Mother Earth, Don’t Settle For Less” by Adam Lewis, a new article posted at The Dominion presenting a first hand look at the occupation of the proposed area for the Hanlon Creek Business Park on the outskirts of Guelph, written by one of the participants. I’ve been meaning to post an follow-up to my previous post about this for a while now, and this piece gives me a good reason to.

After nearly a month, the City of Guelph announced that developments in the area will be put on hold for a year. But even in doing so they continued their slander campaign against the occupiers, claiming that they ‘held the city hostage’. This pushed even the local daily, the Guelph Mercury, to call the city on their scare tactics. The city is also pursuing the land defenders for $150,000 in damages, down from an original $5 million when the papers were first served in July; city lawyers say the amount could rise again though.

And after hand delivering a letter to the house of one of the developers involved in the project, two members of Friends of Hanlon Creek (it isn’t clear if they participated in the occupation itself) are being accused of intimidation by police; they deny the charges and voluntarily visited the police station, only to be greeted by a locked door and to be told that they would have to come back the next day.

So while the fist part of the battle has been won – postponing the actual development – it seems that the city and police are bent on vilifying this group of non-violent activists looking to protect important and increasingly rare greenspace and habitats in Southern Ontario. You can continue to follow the situation – and what they describe as the growing anti-development sentiment in Guelph in general – on their blog at http://hcbpoccupation.wordpress.com/.

Written by Tim McSorley

September 12, 2009 at 12:55 am

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