Welcome to the website of the 19 day occupation of the proposed Hanlon Creek Business Park, at one of the last Old Growth Forests in Southern Ontario, located in Guelph, that occurred from late July – August.
Short re-cap of the past few months:
On Monday, July 27th, at 6:30am, about 60 people walked in and stopped the destruction of this beautiful and precious ecosystem. The City of Guelph then decided to take the protesters to court to deliver us with an injunction. However, to their surprise the court allowed us to remain on the land, and ended up also delivering the City with an injunction (filed by the protesters), declaring that the Minister of Natural Resources had 30 days to issue a work stop order. On August 27th the Minister decided to not issue a work stop order, allowing the City to work under certain conditions in order to ‘protect’ the Jefferson Salamander (a threatened species – see below for more information). However, after resistance to the HCBP continued in various forms by people all over Southern Ontario, the City announced that they were not constructing the culvert until Spring 2010!
This means that the occupation met its goals – which was to stop development for the fall!
However, this also means that we all will have our work cut out for us for the next year to stop this development all together-
So read on for more information!
The proposed Hanlon Creek Business Park had been highly contested since it was first put forward in 1993, with opposition greatly increasing in the past 11 months. This widespread public outcry is for a variety of reasons, including the intrinsic worth of an Old Growth Forest, the significance of the Paris-Galt Moraine to the integrity of our drinking water, the abundance of ‘brownfields’ and industrial land that is not in use, and provincial and federal regulations concerning the preservation of the Jefferson Salamander and Provincially Significant Wetlands that are found on the site.
The Jefferson Salamander was found on the site in late May, after which the City claimed to be in consultation with the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) to determine the best way to proceed with the HCBP without harming the Jefferson. However, the City initiated the first phase of development, the installation of a 4-lane access road and culvert over Tributary A of the Hanlon Creek. This destruction of the land renders this consultation a farce, as the MNR actually explicitly requested the City not to proceed with this development. Also, the Provincial Policy Statement states that Provincially Significant Wetland should have a 120 buffer of adjacent lands; this area includes where the culvert would be installed.
The City has not only completely disregarded the huge public outcry to this development, but has also failed to comply with provincial regulation. It claims to be protecting the very land that it is destroying; thus we have taken it into our hand to protect this vital and beautiful land that is home to so many animals, plants, and trees, including some Great Blue Herons that have often visited us in the early hours of the morning.
We are imploring the City to:
• Listen to public outcry and respect the intrinsic importance of this land by immediately ending this development and terminating their contract with Drexler.
• Compensate the skilled labourers of Drexler Construction for lost wages, including those who choose to stand with us.
• Publicly apologize to the people of Guelph for disregarding their opposition to this development.
We are very interested in networking with other people, groups, and organizations. Please feel free contact us if you would like to organize an event for us to speak about this at, for example you can organize your neighborhood groups, unions, workplace, etc. We are also very interested in working with other struggles around the city against development projects. You can e mail us at: email@example.com