Most of the land sited for the HCBP is owned by the City of Guelph; contacting the City and informing them of your opinion can be very helpful.
Here are a few of the letters people have been writing in to City officials. We hope you can use these to give you an idea of how to form your own letter.
Please, if you can just take two minutes to write and phone, it would help the Old Growth tremendously.
(Please forgive the different sizes of fonts, we’re still figuring this stuff out. you can use ctrl + to make the fonts bigger)
Mayor Karen Farbridge
Chief Administrative Officer
General Manager of Economic Development and Tourism
Letter from the CSA at the University of Guelph:
July 31, 2009
On July 29th 2009, the University of Guelph Central Student Association (CSA) passed a motion to officially stand in solidarity with the protestors at the Hanlon Creek Business Park development (HCBP) and to implore the city to halt any further construction on the site.
There has been mounting opposition to the HCBP since its instigation in 1993, which has greatly accelerated in the past 8 months. Numerous organizations have concerns regarding the proposed development, including its effects on both the human and non-human inhabitants of the site and surroundings. The area is home to the Paris-Galt Moraine which has been identified as extremely important for the recharge and filtration of Guelph’s drinking water. The occupied site is directly on Tributary A, the location of the first phase of development. Tributary A is a stream that feeds in to the Speed and Grand Rivers, waterways that provide drinking water for several communities downstream of Guelph including Brantford, Six Nations, and Cambridge. The creation of the HCBP will include the removal of one of Ontario’s last standing Old Growth forests of intrinsic value too much of the community. Furthermore, the wetlands that cover a large portion of the land are habitat for the Jefferson Salamander, an animal protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.
The CSA is condemning this project not only for the environmental degradation inherent in such development, but also for the City of Guelph’s failure to comply with the Endangered Species Act and their blatant disregard for the large public outcry. It is financially irresponsible for the City of Guelph to dedicate tens of millions of dollars, nearly its entire capital budget, to the creation of an industrial development when numerous abandoned brown fields already exist.
Guelph portrays itself as an environmentally progressive city, but building on this specific site while dozens of brown fields lay unused is hypocritical and unethical. For these reasons, we, as representatives of the entire undergraduate population at the University, are condemning the City for the continuation of the HCBP project and are reiterating the demands of the protestors, imploring that the City:
• 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 laborers of Drexler Construction for lost wages, including those who choose to stand against the development.
• Publicly apologize to the people of Guelph for disregarding their opposition to this development.
The Central Student Association
Guelph’s experience with bravery: we do not need this business park
Dear Mayor Farbridge,
You have been a wonderful leader and catalyst for change during my formative years here in Guelph. As a new homeowner, I hope this can continue to be our legacy of leadership in Guelph.
I must assume that your public words about the necessity of a business park have been taken out of context to imply that you think economic development must happen at the expense of our precious natural heritage, the land which, for better or worse, is subject to the decisions of those included on this letter.
I sincerely hope that you will draw on the wisdom that has guided you so far to seek non-violent, creative and sustainable solutions to the protest we very rightfully see happening in Guelph right now.
There are many reasons to be optimistic about Guelph’s ability to compete economically without permanently destroying the land that sustains us.
Thanks for your consideration. I know these are not easy choices, and that not all of the choices have been yours – I wish you courage.
Seems you don’t get what the protesters are saying, which is that your system is rigged, flawed, fixed, and allows developers (in this case the City of Guelph) to get away with whatever they want to.
15 meter buffers around a Provincially Significant Wetland? That is atrocious.
Building the first part of the road infrastructure before proper salamander tests have been done? Astonishing.
Hiring consultants to say that there is NO NEGATIVE IMPACT on the ecological functions of a wetland, by surrounding it with a 6 lane road and a 675 acre industrial park, with tiny tiny buffers? How do you expect people to believe this?
Building an industrial park around an old growth forest, instead of creating a nature reserve and tourist attraction? What about future generations? Should they visit some of the last old growth forests by walking through hundreds of acres of parking lots and roads, or through beautiful meadows and streams?
Seems these people have shone the light on something when all other attempts to get through to politicians failed. Good on them.
I went to the site of the forest and business park development today, and was very surprised by what I saw. First and foremost was the horrible effects of this development on the land. Protesters pointed out many trees recently killed, including some almost 150 years old. There is an exceptionally wide swath of rolling meadows bulldozed for a new road. It is very sad to see what the city has authorized. Even sadder that the Mayor says this is needed for Guelph’s economic future. What happened to this City’s Mayor and council? Goodness gracious. Every time the Mayor is quoted in the news she appears to have gone farther into the right wing, ‘economic progress or else’ mindset.
But I was pleasantly surprised by the kindness of the mostly young people who have taken it upon themselves to keep this land safe from heavy machinery. There were many of them, all very generous, kind, hospitable, and deeply caring for the fate of this world. There were even some babies there.
I would encourage anyone with the slightest interest to visit them and see the site for yourself. A personal visit will take away any faith in the truth of the Mayor’s words and the words of other supporters of the Hanlon Creek Business Park.
Dear Mayor, Councillors and Administration of the City of Guelph,
I am writing re the proposed Hanlon Creek Business Park development on Old Growth forest land.
I didn’t even know there was old growth forest in the Guelph area, and am very pleased to learn about it. How tragic if it were to be misused or damaged! It is a special place in its own right and you are lucky it has been spared deevelopment so far.
I understand there has been a great public outcry against the proposed development and there is even those willing to take their time and energy to set up a camp to defend it. Good for them!
This land is much more to be valued for what it is, than what it can bring in as municipal revenue -historically for it’s great age and connection to the roots of Guelph and to-day as part of the Paris Guelph moraine that supplies clean water to the city, is home to provincially significant wetlands.
Listen to public outcry and respect the intrinsic importance of this
land by immediately ending this development and terminating tthe contract
Compensate the skilled labourers of Drexler Construction for lost wages,
including those who choose to stand with the ‘campers’.
Publicly apologize to the people of Guelph for disregarding their
opposition to this development.
More importantly, remember if the Old Growth Forest is preserved as is,it shows that Guelph is respectful of our dependence on connections to the natural world, and forward-looking environmentally.
Dear Mayor Farbridge,
I think it is absolutely ridiculous that the City of Guelph plans to evict
the occupants at the proposed Hanlon Creek Business Park site. What I find
even more ridiculous is the fact that the City has chosen development over
environment. Guelph is known for its green spaces, its commitment to the
environment; your decision to side with developers is ignorant of both the
people of your City – many of whom came to Guelph because of its greenspace
– and of the enormous importance that the Old Growth Forest holds.
I find it extremely sad that you and other City councillors have chosen to
do to Guelph what is being done to cities across Ontario – sacrifice vital
ecosystems and precious land in the name of unsustainable, unnecessary
development. If you think evicting the occupants is the right thing to do,
then you must lack basic foresight, not to mention individuality. Guelph
doesn’t need to be another generic example of Ontario suburbia.
Listen to the people who live in your city. Do what’s right – not what’s
Concerned Community Member
I arrived today at the piles of woodchips that once belonged to a family
of cedars. The sky was pink and teal and blue, and to hear the trickle of
water of the creek still flowing heartily from where grows some of the
oldest trees around. They are standing strong.
The City of Guelph’s plan is to decimate the meadows and fields that span
around me in favour of putting up a business park. The plan, if carried
out, will permanently alter an important source of drinking water for the
entire Guelph area. It will also likely have dismal effects on one of the
only known habitats of the Jefferson Salamander, an endangered species.
The machines were set to roll, but instead we’ve set up our camp. We have
been served notices saying that we are trespassing, and that we
potentially face prosecution. We have not backed down, though. And we
don’t plan to.
If you can make some calls, please do. The names and numbers are below.
With much love,
Greetings, a simple breakdown: - sympathetic front page attention in the newspapers - widespread media on radios and internet - numerous popular magazines preparing articles (including Ontario Nature and Briar Patch) - thousands of people visiting the protestor's website Hundreds of people have visited the now-stopped construction site. This includes: - people from the nearby suburbs with their kids, - native people from downstream communities, - activists and journalist from cities across Ontario, - people from all over the city of Guelph. Everyone who comes stands in strong support of cancelling the HCBP. You have only one chance of coming out of this with a hope of getting re-elected - cancel the HCBP. If you get an injunction or send in police to arrest people, you will have an irreprably bad public relations move on your hands. Without too much hyperbole, Guelph has never seen anything like this, and many eyes are on you. Back out of the Drexler contract and cancel the HCBP. It is never too late. Sincerely, ------------------ Greetings From Hamilton, It has come to my attention that the protected area surrounding the Hanlon Creek Business Park will be built upon. It saddens me that day after day we continue to ignore the planets needs environmentally over our own selfish and often unnecessary needs. One only has to take notice of the recent rains that mother earth unleashed upon us that she is not happy and in a moment can destroy what we without conscience built, I will side with her on this, I have yet to meet a Human who can match her strength. We have only begun to see her furry. As a resident of Hamilton who lives on the outskirts of the city which is now closing in on me at a rapid rate, I can only pray that our leaders will WAKE up before it's to late. Our city has gone beyond the limits and there is no turing back, is that what you want for your city? 1000's of homes flooded last Sunday in minutes. Please look at the bigger picture (the animals, the trees, the streams, the air and so much more) before you allow anymore needless and unnecessary development. Yours in Hope --------------- Your decision to issue an eviction notice to the Defenders of the Land at the proposed Hanlon Creek Business Park site is unwise. You need to take another look at what you are doing and how it will negatively impact all of your political careers. I’m sure that is of major importance to you all. Voters will never forget this fiasco you have created and you will not ever be able to whitewash or greenwash it away. You need to be honest with the citizens of Guelph and rethink the HCBP project. No one believes what you are saying about needing to proceed in order to create jobs. People are saying how corrupt you are and I agree with them. You should be the ones defending this land as representatives of the citizenry of Guelph. You were not elected to destroy this city land and now you are threatening the very people who are doing what you should be doing–protecting it. If you make arrests you will destroy your final shred of credibility as leaders of the city. You are too hasty in pushing this project through before the MNR has made the recommendations that you should be following. You act as if protected species are not your concern but you will be acting unlawfully to continue as you have been with no regard for them. In 2009, evidence of the Jefferson Salamander was discovered at the HCBP and this discovery changes the outcome of all those studies done in prior years. It renders them as outdated and in need of revision because of new evidence. To not proceed more cautiously when you know this, would be unlawful on your parts. My advice to you all would be to sit down with the various groups who want to protect this land and reach an amicable plan of action which would be beneficial and agreeable to everyone. You may have to make concessions but the other side will have to also. This would be a far more desirable outcome than being harsh to people who are most likely far more correct in their motives than you are. -----------------
Dear Mayor Farbridge, Councillors, and Administration
of the City of Guelph,
I have read your letter to the public explaining
your reasoning for the approval of the HCBP
development. I have to say that I am disappointed
with your decision. I voted for you because I was
impressed with the environmental considerations
in your platform. While it is true that Guelph
needs more jobs to prevent people from having to
commute to work, I believe this must be done in
a smart manner. Sprawl and destruction of valuable
and rare old-growth forest is certainly not the
smart way. The old-growth forest is home to a
community of animals and plants. We have destroyed
far too much of their home to give up even a little
bit more. As my elected representative, I urge you
to listen to the voices of those who are trying to
get your attention and save the old-growth forest
for its inhabitants.
Job creation can still happen through building up,
not out. Its not too late to reverse the decision.