[Hpn] Eviction of Bathurst St. Bridge Residents Looming

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Wed, 26 May 2004 19:02:48 -0400

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "OCAP" <ocap@tao.ca>

 Eviction of Bathurst St. Bridge Residents Looming:
City Officials refuse to negotiate
 Clean Up and Meal this Saturday
Under the Bathurst St. Bridge
(Just north of Lakeshore, Westside)
 On Wednesday May 26th, people living under the Bathurst Street Bridge,
supported by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and several community
organizations, rallied to prevent the forcible removal of homes and
belongings, scheduled to take place at noon today.
The future of the Bathurst St. Bridge residents has been hanging in the
balance since communication with the City began last December.  An
agreement was subsequently made by Mayor David Miller and city officials
to meet with residents and OCAP representatives before any eviction orders
were to be carried out.  However, no such meeting has taken place and the
City's position has been nothing short of silence.  No effort has been
made to put decent and tangible alternatives on the table for people
living under the Bridge.  The community of people who have made their
homes under the Bathurst Street Bridge were "notified" last Friday by
signs posted nearby that Toronto city officials and police were set to
enforce the imminent eviction.
 The City now claims the eviction must take place, under the pretense of
the demolition of an adjacent building slated to take place later this
month.  In communication with Carolyn Adams of Marshall Macklin Monaghan,
the consultant firm involved in the demolition, OCAP representatives were
told residents would not be at all affected by this construction.   The
forcible removal of people and subsequent destruction of their homes and
belongings is not at the request of the construction crew. Instead, the
orders are coming from a City of Toronto By-Law Enforcement office, backed
by direct communication from Miller himself.  This eviction is also
purportedly due to the Bremner St. expansion, even though development of
the disputed land is not scheduled for 3-10 years.
Today, the intransigence of the Mayor's Office and officials continued.
While the hours passed without sign of city crews, with the police
hovering on nearby streets, a large group of residents and supporters
decided to make their way to Miller's office at City Hall.  Sean
Goetz-Gadden, the Mayor's representative, piled nonsense on top of
double-speak as he tried to justify the so-called "compassionate" mayor
sending police after people who have done nothing except try to survive in
a city plagued by a brutal housing crisis and lack of services.  He
claimed to speak for the Mayor himself when he said that no meeting with
residents was possible, that no compromise was available and that the
eviction order stood.  He tried to lay blame on the construction company,
and then on city bylaw officers, and when it all pointed back at Miller in
the end, he declared the meeting over and retreated behind locked doors
into the Mayor's inner sanctum.
It is not acceptable that the residents under the Bridge have their homes
and belongings bulldozed, that they be threatened with criminal charges
should they fail to leave their community, that efforts to negotiate have
been ignored by David Miller and his bureaucrats.  The Ontario Coalition
Against Poverty stands with those prepared to defend their homes in a city
where affordable housing is sorely lacking, and condemns the Mayor and
city officials for their ruthless plan of eviction.  A workable solution
must be found.
 On Saturday, May 29th at 4pm, people will gather to clean up the area
under the bridge where homes have been built and a meal will be served.
Come out to lend a hand and show support for the community of people who
are refusing to back down in the face of the City's scare tactics.
 Bathurst Street Bridge
(Bathurst, just north of Lakeshore, westside)
4 pm
Saturday May 29th, 2004
 Supplies are welcome: gloves, rakes, bottled water, salads, fruit ...
If you have a vehicle to help transport, please call us before the weekend.
Ontario Coalition Against Poverty
10 Britain St. Toronto, ON  M5A 1R6
416-925-6939  ocap@tao.ca www.ocap.ca
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