Episode #16: Standing up for one of Guelph's last Old Growth Forests

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Community members and allies from throughout Southern Ontario have been occupying the Hanlon Creek Business Park (HCBP) development site in the south end of Guelph since 27 July 2009, halting preliminary developments of the planned 675-acre corporate industrial development.

The occupation serves to prevent one of the last Old Growth Forests in Guelph (for example, there exists the Victoria & Wild Goose Woods in The Arboretum at the University of Guelph which are Old Growth Forests --Yup! They’ve never been clear cut, thank god), not to mention in Southern Ontario, and the lands surrounding it from being forever damaged by commercial and industrial development.

An eviction notice was issued for July 30th but a Guelph court granted the people protesting at the site a one week reprieve with certain conditions.

Several of these community members speak about some of the issues surrounding the development.

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BACKGROUNDER:

The lands to be constructed on are a mix of an Old Growth forest, a Provincially Significant Wetland, a headwater tributary of the Hanlon Creek, swamp and marshlands, meadows, seasonal ‘kettle’ ponds, and more. Throughout the south of the land is the northern part of the Paris-Galt Moraine. The lands are also inhabited by critically vulnerable species including at least 112 species of birds, 16 species of mammals, 20 species of reptiles and amphibians, and 270 species of plants and trees. Amongst these, the ancient trees such as Hop Horn-beam (500-600 years old) and Sugar Maple (150-230 years old), as well as the endangered amphibians, the chorus frog and the Jefferson Salamander, live here.

The HCBP is meant to attract Canadian and American industrial and consumer businesses, offering building space for corporate offices, research and development facilities, prestige manufacturing, and other traditional business and industrial operations.

A great number of us, no doubt we can be found anywhere and everywhere, know it's a no brain-er that, with effects such as climate change, depletion of the ozone, and rising drinkable water shortages, all ecological destruction that has already occurred locally and the world over, the health of ecological systems and all the nonhuman individual living beings that thrive within them, should be seriously and intelligently factored in (in a way that prioritizes their health of these irreplaceable systems and precious living beings). That is, if we are aiming to actually support truly sustainable ecological practices. This is especially the case when pursuing current and future commercial and industrial development ideas because quite obviously they would inevitably threaten and would make irremediable the remaining good health of the Earth and of all human (the majority of which will not benefit economically from all this, even if many new typical industrial working-class jobs are thrown our way) and nonhuman beings that reside here on Gaia together. Nor, let's not keep on forgetting, the long list of often overlooked non-benefits resulting from development projects including damaging, even killing, the spiritual connection of individuals and communities with nature.

So many people in Guelph, and for sure all over, have asserted that the planned HCBP helps spread ecological and social disease, is nothing short of not needed (but, as the pattern goes, may be perceived to be needed by political and business elites who’d like to remain economically wealthy and socially powerful in a way that reproduces the scenario of privilege and benefits of a few already (probably super) privileged people, and exploits, abuses, and destroys), and should be stopped. Especially before the endangered health and life of our local watershed, an Old Growth Forest, countless plants and animals within the diverse ecosystems, all at the site, plus more, are irreparably and completely demolished. There are individuals and groups who've forwarded proof of the "would stand in court" type and the bare essential "makes rational sense" type about all this too.

An eviction notice for July 30th was issued to all those participating in the occupation, but a Guelph court granted them a one week reprieve with certain conditions. That week ends today, August 10th.

Several of the people protesting at the site spoke with us about their reasons for being there and some of the issues surrounding the development.

For the latest updates: http://hcbpoccupation.wordpress.com/
or contact: hcbpoccupation@gmail.com.

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migrantmatters@gmail.com

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