|Squats Opened and Evicted in Eastern Canada|
by KW Youth Collective
On Wednesday July 2nd, the KW Youth Collective announced at the City Council meeting that they liberated the Robbie Guest Squat. The squat, an abandoned building on the corner of Cortland and Benton was held for approximately one hour before youth were kicked out. Named after Robbie Guest who died in the custody of Family and Children Services this latest action serves to show that we will not give up our struggle for housing, shelter and against gentrification even under severe repression from the state. The action started at 7pm with Youth Collective members Mark Corbiere and Romeo Montague announcing that youth have occupied the Arrow Factory stating:
"Given that housing is a right, given that people are sleeping on the street while many buildings are abandoned - we are taking it upon ourselves to solve the housing problem.. At this time we have taken a squat at the Arrow Factory. This building has been abandoned for over a year and is an eyesore. We will fix it this building - We are tired of these buildings being torn down and not used for affordable housing - we hope the city will support us in our task to solve the housing crisis and serve the interests of all people as opposed to corporate and business interests - We are going to continue taking squats, if you don't give them you better guard them."
The city responded to this by announcing that the Arrow building will be turned into housing -- for the rich. After an invitation for councilors to come and see the squat for themselves one councilor stated that he would come only not to show up. However the city did send security guards to make sure that there was security there to guard the building and the fire marshal paid a visit after the squatters were kicked out. Several people stayed outside the squat with a banner under the watchful eye of four cruisers.
The presentation to council was greeted with support from observers in the meeting and only one squatter was ticketed for trespass.
The response from the city demonstrates that the city of Kitchener is not interested in the housing crisis and would rather build condos for the rich then put a roof over the heads of those who need it and clearly shows what side the city is on. We will continue our struggle for an end to gentrification and for the rights of the people.
Shout out to the Peterbourgh crew and all others continuously liberating squats!! Give it or guard it!! Victory belongs to the People!!
Water Street news: the empire striked back....
EVICTED SQUATTERS MOVE TO CITY HALL
As of Friday, July 4th, the squatters of 1130 Water Street will be residing on the lawn in front of city hall. The decision to move to City Hall was made after the squatters were forcibly removed from their home at 6:30 am on Thursday July 3, 2003. Half an hour after a city official and police officer notified the squatters that they were trespassing and advised the squatters to leave, nine police officers in full riot gear and gas masks descended upon the building while a dozen other police officers surrounded the building. The squatters were later released in a public park without charge.
For many squatters/PCAP members the news of the eviction is a betrayal. In good faith, PCAP/squatters had entered into negotiations with the city, the Peterborough Community Housing Corpopration and the Peterborough District Labour Council and it appeared that all were close to reaching a deal. Despite this spirit of cooperation, the decision to evict was made by City Council following a closed-meeting discussion on Monday night.
After news of the council's decision to evict, an emergency meeting was called between the squatters,city officials and coucillors on the evening of Wednesday July 3rd. Although a number of councillors promised to attend this meeting, not one showed up. PCAP/squatters attempted to dissuad the city solicitor of the eviction, but the Mayor advised that the council vote to evict was not reverseable.
The Peterborborough Coalition Against Poverty (PCAP) and the squatters are determined to continue the fight for 1130 Water Street.
We demand that the City of Peterborough:
1. Provide adequate shelter for the individuals who, following the directive of City Council, were evicted from 1130 Water Street and were therefore made homeless.
Since the decision to evict the squatters was the choice of City Council, the Council must take responsibility for the fact that they have directly made more people homeless in this city. The onus now lies on City Council to immediately create and implement a solution that is agreeable to the individuals who have been turned out onto the street.
2. Resume negotiations with PCAP/squatters regarding the future use of 1130 Water Street as affordable housing.
PCAP and the squatters entered into negotiations with the City in good faith. Although the closed-meeting discussion and subsequent decision to evict the squatters has severely undermined the working relationship that PCAP/squatters established with the City, we are offering the City a further opening for negotiations. Given the overwhelming public support for the squat, we urge the city to seize this opportunity to take concrete action to convert 1130 Water Street into affordable housing.
3. Take steps to increase the funding and supports available to residents of Peterborough whose hydro has been or will be cut off because they cannot afford to pay the bill.
Though PCAP/squatters have continually raised the problem of hydro cut-offs, Council has yet to adequately address this matter. Given that the above is a modest request that could have enormous impact on housing security in this city, Council should take immediate action on this issue.
Petition Regarding 1130 Water Street
WHEREAS, the lack of affordable housing in Peterborough has reached a crisis state and current strategies to address the problem are inadequate;
WHEREAS, the Peterborough Coalition Against Poverty (PCAP) and the squatters at 1130 Water Street have devised a direct and immediate strategy to create more affordable housing by repairing the property at 1130 Water Street;
WHEREAS, the city acted in bad faith by forcibly evicting the squatters while still in the process of negotiations with PCAP/squatters;
We the undersigned, urge the City of Peterborough to:
- Provide adequate shelter for the individuals who, following the directive of City Council, were evicted from 1130 Water Street and were therefore made homeless.
- Resume negotiations with PCAP/squatters regarding the future use of 1130 Water Street as affordable housing.
- Take steps to increase the funding & supports available to residents of Peterborough whose hydro has been or will be cut off because they cannot afford to pay the bill.
KW Youth Collective and PCAP
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