In the heart of Southwestern Ontario, Guelph's Old Growth forest is under threat of being surrounded by a 675-acre corporate industrial development. Community efforts to protect this land continue, and time is running out.
Recent efforts have been spearheaded by several groups, including LIMITS (Land Is More Important Than Sprawl), which began organizing in the community and raising awareness in late 2008. This interview with a member of LIMITS gives an overview of the issues at stake, including recent updates on impending construction, the status of Federally and Provincially-protected species on the site, and the connections between colonialism, public health, sustainable growth, biotechnology, and other related issues.
The grassroots struggle to protect this land has included, over the years, many public educational events, walking tours of the land, Ontario Municipal Board hearings, standing-room-only town hall debates, packed public hearings, countless meetings between activists and city staff and consultants, camp outs on the land, months of door-to-door conversations, healing ceremonies, and much more.
Participation in this struggle has included long-time environmentalists, citizens watchdogs, youth and elders, musicians, dance groups, anarchists, Indigenous People of the Anishnabe and Haudenosaunee, among others.
This issue has become one of the largest environmental issues in recent years in Guelph, attracting widespread attention from many different kinds of activists, and being widely understood as a really bad development. It is a particularly interesting issue, since the current mayor and council were elected based on, among other things, a perceived commitment to changing business as usual development, and seriously protecting the land. But as usual, this responsibility rests upon those on the grassroots.
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