Time to take back Olympic Plaza!

This embarrassing and expensive scene has gone on long enough. A small collection of squatters has been camped in our taxfunded park illegally for weeks now and the damages and costs are beginning to mount up. These kids have done an estimated $40,000 in damage alone to our park and the costs will only rise.

The Muslim Heritage day event which was booked and paid for in good faith will now have to hold their event in a dirty park (cant maintain and clean properly with squatters camping) and they will have less space than anticipated due to these tenters. Another group that had booked the plaza for Monday is now seeking a new location as will another group that is booked for Wednesday if we do not kick these kids out of our park.

Olympic Plaza was never designed for camping and due to that the damages are mounting up fast. Costs for extra policing and additional maintenance are building up. How many thousands of dollars will have to be refunded to the legitimate groups that have booked and paid for the plaza that will have to relocated due to the city allowing illegal squatting in our park?

This is a sad and expensive joke and is an embarrassment to our city. There is NO reason that we can’t evict these squatters from our park. There is a hollow and weak case being made that these squatters are protected by the Canadian Charter in this. That again is simply a load of BS. Speech is protected as is expression. Both speech and expression are possible without illegally camping in a downtown park. No rights are being repressed through evicting these kids.

If indeed that cowardly excuse of possible charter issues is valid, then I suggest that none of us in the entire city of Calgary need abide by bylaws ever again. The “occupy” group has never really explained exactly what they are protesting. I guess those of us who ignore other bylaws will not need a real reason for our protest either. If I refuse to licence my dog, I have a charter defense in it. I need only say “I don’t like social inequity and I am not licencing in protest”. By city council logic I am covered by the charter. Can I use this defense if I don’t pay parking tickets? Can I occupy a free seat on the C-Train in protest and make a charter challenge if I get a ticket?

Storage is expensive. I suggest that people should park their RVs and fifth-wheels in Calgary parks. Heck you can even camp there when you please. Dig a firepit for yourself. Vandalize the local bathrooms and displace other people using the park. It is OK. Just claim some vapid complaint about the way the world is and claim your action is your means of expression.

Is it becoming clear yet why making an exception in our bylaws for this gang of camping kids is a big deal? To most people it is something of a no-brainer.

Our city council is hiding in collective fear of the potentially poor optics that may happen if we actually enforce the law and kick these kids from the park. We need to take away their excuses. The fear of a charter challenge is utter BS as demonstrated above. I don’t think we really need to sweat a bunch of ragtag hipsters organizing and taking the city to court on a charter challenge anyway. That is simply way too much work for them. There is no charter right for squatting.

Another common dodge used by city councilors is claiming that there have been few complaints. From what I heard from the person on the other end of a 311 call, there have been many complaints already. Still, we need to ramp up the complaints.

Don’t let our city officials hide on this issue and lets not let these squatters cost the taxpayers any more than they already have!!

We must register our complaints and it must spread. Below are the means to contact city hall and your councilors. Use them and spread the word to neighbors and coworkers who are tired of this. Clearly city hall won’t move without some heavy prodding on this issue.

To begin with, simply call 311. There is an option for bylaw complaints. While on a coffee break give the number a dial and make a formal complaint of people camping after-hours in Olympic Plaza.

Calling is most effective but online complaints can be filed here if that is preferred.

Contacting the aldermen themselves is effective as well. They do try to hide direct contact information when possible. The beginnings of contact information for aldermen can be found here and here though.

On twitter many of our aldermen follow the #yyccc hashtag. Tweet them directly if you are on and demand that our park be cleaned up. Some but not all of our city council is on twitter. Their twitter handles are below.

@nenshi @yycgael @councilorkeats @pootmans @aldjonmar @bpincott @bigredyyc @peterdemong @druhfarrell

This issue will not go away until we as citizens make it go away. We can’t let city hall bury their heads on this while countless thousands of dollars are wasted, our park gets further damaged and innocent groups get displaced from events booked and paid for in good faith. Email tweet and call whoever you can on this folks. It has to come to an end and soon.

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11 thoughts on “Time to take back Olympic Plaza!

  1. Well Mike it looks like the same vague laundry list of generalized complaints that pretty much every outside observer of the “occupation” has noted. No clarity and no justification for squatting in and damaging a city park. Thanks for posting the link though.

  2. All I read in that occupy group manifesto is a bunch of jingoistic generalities with no understanding about how the real world works.

    That’s great and everything, but instead of sitting around and wasting time in a squatters camp, why don’t you actually plug into the system. You know run for office, volunteer for a civic, provincial or regional candidate.

    I wanted to ask, how many of you actually voted in the last election? Or did you sit around and look at each other and say our vote means nothing.

    I’m not part of the 1%, I’m not part of the 99% that you claim to represent You talk about changes to a banking system that you don’t understand, to regulation that you don’t understand, and campaign rules that you don’t understand, and then cover it with the boogey boogey its secret explanation.

    I’m just curious to see if you’ve made arrangements to pay for the cleanup thats going to happen after your done with your gathering. If your going to pay for the damage to the public toilets, if your going to compensate the people that you claim to represent when we’re left on the hook for the winter prep work thats being delay and is going to require overtime to repair.

    Did you offer to pay part of the fees that the Muslim Friendship Festival paid since you’re taking up half the park?

    You continue to compare yourself to the Arab Spring where people put their lives on the line to topple brutal sadistic dictators, but you’re not in that area.

    If you want to show your solidarity with the occupy movements, get on a bus and join your brothers and sisters in New York or Washington where they have real economic problems, tell them what our economy is like and how our banking system works, how we have low unemployment and generous social and immigration programs, and I bet they would be glad to move up here.

    If your going to effect change, move past jingo’s and guesses and stuff that you read out of a crumpled pamphlet that someone handed you on the corner of 7th and 1st.

    Get educated about what your protesting about, and join the system.

  3. Sorry Greg, I won’t be joining(at least further than I’ve been forced to) your corrupt and exploitative system. I do hope I’ll be able to do my part in the destroying it and replacing it something that won’t destroy us. Have fun thinking your vote counts, of course it does, choosing between Ignatieff and Harper gives you the privilege of choosing one elitist jerk over another, probably based on who ran the most damning attack ads, if that’s the system then the system is useless.

  4. Thomas? Was Jack Layton an “elitist jerk” also?
    And you want to “replace it with something that won’t destroy us.” WHAT IS IT!! This protest/movement has had two weeks or more to come up with something. Anything!! All I hear down at Olympic Plaza is whining and more than a couple of conspiracy theories. Today the whine was all about the media and how they’re reporting nothing but lies. If you had a constructive message the media would have something to report. Believe me, CBC is bending over backwards to do favorable stories. They’re more frustrated with your lot than anyone. This is nothing more than a leftist fair which is fine. All the books in the library are left wing/socialist titles so it’s no doubt where you’re coming from, just admit it and get on with it.

  5. It’s interesting Cory how you can be so lucid and concise in other posts, yet on these “Occupy Calgary”, you deride these people with generalizations that truly weaken your points.
    As a active political person, ask for the invoice and pictures of said “damage”. I don’t see it and I photographed the site a month ago and
    re-visited it today.
    I personally think that they have made their point…for now.
    But, one can overstay their visit. In my opinion they have although I endorse their position.

  6. Whenever we actually see full interviews and quotes from these occupiers, we see that these guys really have no solid case for well….. pretty much anything. They are their own worst enemies when trying to make their cases valid. This “occupier” in Calgary certainly makes an intesting case to justify the occupation. Note around the 12:50 mark when he calls President Obama a “house nigger”. Classy work guys. Of course occupiers will claim this fellow speaks alone but how much longer can you guys keep distancing yourselves from each other when somebody actually listens to you as you demand?
    http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xm13zi_occupy-calgary-interview-at-olympic-plaza-october-29-2011_webcam

  7. Gee Thomas, your exactly the type of person that should be down at Occupy Calgary. You have no idea about how the system that your complaining about works. And yet you talk about what works out to be a basically one man crusade to destroy it.

    So you think that your signs and posters and sitting in a tent is going to change things? That its somehow going to bring key people to some kind of negotiating table?

    You basically stated that you don’t vote, therefore you are not part of the system, and therefore because you threw away your democratic right and voice you have no reason to complain about the system and have anybody listen to you or care about your opinion.

    I hate to break it to you, and with all due respect, but your protest, it will fade and vanish when you face the difficulties of the cold and the rain and the snow, and all you will have accomplished was wasting your time.

    Tuning out might have worked in the 60’s, but it doesn’t work in the new millennium.

  8. Cory. I’m going to try to explain this to you, personally, and it’s going to take a very long time. First, you need to understand that a government is an organization which exists only through violence. Do you disagree with that?

  9. Keep up the good work sir. The squaters here in Vancouver will be gone soon as the Grey Cup gets near. I myself have just returned from Afghanistan (8 months ago), after my 9th tour.
    To return home and have to endure this crazy “cause” is just sad. I myself have not been able to find work, yet instead of going on welfare or the like I tried a novel approach….I live off my savings from 20 years of hard work. They protest being the 99% yet they are the same panhandlers, junkies, petty thieves I have seen in downtown since I was a child..maybe different faces but the same street vermin. Maybe take art courses in college AFTER you take a real degree/trade. Maybe call yourselves the .0023% , as I have yet to see 3 998 999 people at the Art Gallery or even 10 000 for that matter. What they are protesting in my view is the fact that their parents stopped paying their way, and now welfare doesn’t afford them the lifestyle they feel entited to. If they are poor why is there so many drugs there? Last I heard drugs are not cheap, why do they smoke cigs if they are poor? I was never told I have to live in my expensive neighborhood, I chose to and worked for it. If you can’t afford to live by the beach move to where you can afford to live. It is not a right to be given a condo on the water or by the best bars, it is a right to work hard to live there though. It is also my right to enjoy my local parks that my property, income, investment taxes help to pay for. Maybe they should move to say…Prince George or Abbotsford etc as the cost of living is lower and their welfare cheques will go farther. There is no right that says you should live beyond your means. Thank you for letting me vent , keep up the good work. p.s. If they were actually proud of their “cause” or their actions, they wouldn’t wear masks.

  10. Protestors eating pizza–last night, my husband and 4 year old son stopped by our local pizzaeria and pub for our monthly pizza night out. Much to our astonishment, it was full of the Occupied Calgary crowd. We left and will never ever go back. My husband said that someone should have removed all the tents while these bums ate pizza. Maybe that did happen

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