In the news this last week, we have seen frustration and tensions rising over developments all across the city. The Guelph Youth Music Center’s (GYMC) new parking lot has had some significant changes to it since neighborhood outcry began, and 2 new projects in the south end – the Southgate Industrial Business Park and the apartment complexes going in between Arkell Rd. And Edinburgh Rd. on Gordon St. – are already experiencing opposition and questioning about destroying wetlands and Endangered species habitat, similar to what we are fighting with the Hanlon Creek Business Park (HCBP).
In the past week, there has been trenches redug at the HCBP, Home visits to the house of a business person involved in the HCBP, arrests from graffiti and postering relating to the city and development, anti-gentrification graffiti across from the GYMC, including graffiti against Van Harten, the same surveying company working on the HCBP, and some water monitoring equipment disappeared from the HCBP site.
The things that really seem to tie these all together is the fact that there seems to be so many different people working just to get their voices heard about developments in this city, but the politicians in city hall and staff of local environmental/municipal bodies seem to be unable to address the bigger issues people are bring up. We need meaningful dialogue around concerns about the environment, sprawl around Guelph and concerns about business/job creation in this city. These issues are to big for the city. We need to start looking to ourselves to address these issues, and talk about them with our friends and communities.
Graffiti, Postering arrests
Tues. Sept. 1st, two anarchists were arrested for allegedly spray painting graffiti and putting up Anti-Development posters around the Guelph downtown. They were alleged to have spray painted “Dead Cops” and “ACAB” or “All Cops Are Bastards”. The posters refered to the HCBP, Nestle and other contentious issues around Guelph relating to the City and development. You can read a more through statement at the bottom of this post, handed out in pamphlet form at our most recent rally.
Wed. Sept. 2nd several people calling themselves “Friends of the Hanlon Creek” went to the home of someone connected to the development of the HCBP. They gave him a written warning and told him it was in his best interest to stop working on the HCBP development. The Guelph Police issued a press release saying they are opening an investigation into this.
Tues. Sept 1st after work had commenced to fill in trenches dug during the time of the occupation, someone went out to the site of the HCBP and in the night redug the trenches stopping traffic from entering the site from McWilliams Rd. This sent the city into a fit and had them put both security and Guelph Police on the site 24/7 to stop it from happening again.
There was an article in the Guelph Mercury’s Tues.Sept. 1st paper about anti-Gentrification graffiti on Cardigan st. A couple billboards on the site of a future condominium development were spray painted, reading: “Gentrification is War” with a anarchist symbol for the A in War, “Go home yuppie scum”, “Van Harten Sucks” and “hang developers”. These condo’s are going in just down the road from the north end of Wyndham, where low-income apartments are being shut down so the City can build a bigger parking lot for their new library & expensive townhouses.
Gordon Creek Condo Development
Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 @ 7PM City Hall there is a public meeting to address concerns about the proposed condo/apartment buildings to go in between Arkell Rd. And Edinborough Rd. on Gordon St. This is a great time for people opposed to this development to come together to talk about their plans to pave over some wetlands and start organizing against it.
Quoted from an e-mail sent to our e-mail about the arrests.
Guelph, Ontario: Two Anarchists Arrested in Struggle against Development
A Statement of Solidarity
At roughly 2:15 AM on September 1st 2009, two anarchists were arrested in Downtown Guelph for alleged anti-police graffiti. That night, three people were putting up anti-development posters downtown. The context in which this occurred is following a three week occupation of the Hanlon Creek Business Park (HCBP) development. Since the occupation, a social event was held against the HCBP where a tobacco burning ceremony took place at the site with two comrades from Tyendinaga. Dozens of signs were redecorated / defaced for all kinds of developments across the city. Development equipment was stolen from the proposed HCBP site and the trenches were re-dug across the new roads being built at the site. While taking into account the history of resistance to progress in Guelph, this occupation has created turmoil in City Hall and has also sparked a long coming social struggle against development. The occupation ended on August 14th when the courts issued an injunction against the occ
upiers and a work stoppage, giving the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) the final say as to whether the construction will continue. Last Thursday August 27th, the MNR decided that construction will continue (Duh!). These anti-development posters are a part of this diverse and ongoing struggle not only against the HCBP but all capitalist development.
When these people went out to poster, it was with a clear understanding of the possibility of surveillance and harassment. In the synopsis read in bail court on Tuesday, it was stated that the three people putting up posters were spotted multiple times over a couple hours before two of them were arrested. It was also stated in court that people who matched the same description as those putting up posters were also decorating the city with graffiti like “dead cops” and “ACAB” (which, according to the cop’s research, stands for “All Cops Are Bastards”). It was also apparent that most of the surveillance was done by taxi drivers. Those arrested were interrogated and both people remained silent and non-cooperating. The two comrades are each charged with three counts of “mischief under $5000” for the graffiti and one is also charged with obstruction.
The question of guilt or innocence about these charges only isolates the situation. There is nothing at all empowering about the language of courts. Whether these comrades indeed did graffiti is not concerning. They were expressing ideas and contributing to the struggle against development. What is guilty or innocent about that, anyway? The courts that reduce the actions of these people to a question of innocence or guilt are the same courts that approved the injunction and are handling the $150,000 lawsuit against five others. This repression began before the recent arrests and will continue after them, targeting any dissent towards the continuation of development and of business as usual.
These arrests are a clear display of the police and the city’s attempts to protect their precious development projects from the people who wish them done for. The momentum building in Guelph against all developments is a threat to the city’s economy. They’re scrambling and they’re pissed. The city is actively backing these developments, and the courts / police who protect them. It should be clear that the police and courts are responsible for the consequences of what they defend.
What are they protecting?
“Progress” is a word used by bureaucrats to create a false inevitability for the process of capitalist development. By disguising their choices and actions as something that just happens (that is simply inevitable), they can justify the consequences of their behavior. These bureaucrats enable the clearing of forests, the “revitalizing” condo redevelopment of downtown, the opening of aggregate operations and quarries, the daily pumping of 3.6 million liters of ground water, etc, without taking any responsibility for the destruction of wilderness habitats, for the rent increase and evictions, for the ruined lakes and farmland or for the damage to people’s drinking water supply. The city bureaucrats delegate private companies to do their dirty work (ie: architects, developers, private environmental assessment agencies, etc) and can avoid taking responsibility for the people and places they hurt.
Now these bureaucrats and developers, with their army of judges and cops, hope to squash out any resistance to their actions. By suing in small claims court and arresting people who act directly against development, they hope to scare others away from trying to stop the disasters. The legal system, political process, police force and economic structure will never put an end to development’s exploitation, or hold these undignified bureaucrats responsible. Who, but the rest of us, will take this struggle on and put an end to this miserable process?
We must show them that we are not afraid and that their repression only invites us to fight harder, so that they finally understand that their actions (including their repression) have consequences and it will not be tolerated.
For an end to the HCBP, development and the illusion of progress,