Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hundreds Rally Against Gateway Project

An overflowing crowd packed the East Delta Community Hall to hear speakers call for a stop to the South Fraser Perimeter Road, Deltaport Expansion and the province's "Gateway Project." Organizers estimated that close to a thousand people came to at least part of the rally.

The Gateway Project includes a plan to expand a long stretch of Highway One leading into Vancouver and twin the Port Mann bridge. Another part of the project, the South Fraser Perimeter Road, will destroy Burn's Bog, remove over a thousand acres of farm land and increase pollution around several schools in Delta.

Although people came from West Vancouver, Lion's Bay and Vancouver, it was clear that majority of the those present were from south of the Fraser River. Proponents of the province's plan have tried to claim that there is near universal support for their project in communities south of the Fraser.

A group of 17 cyclists travelled from Vancouver to the rally and cyclists also rode from Surrey.

Speakers included politicians from the federal Conservative Party, the federal Green Party, the provincial NDP, local municipal governments and a former Socred minister. Environmentalists and academics also spoke about the dangers of port and highway expansion.

The speakers were often interrupted by shouts and applause from the rather boisterous crowd. Many speakers pointed out the threat to democracy from the Liberal government that is forcing this project on communities without public input.

One family whose community will be directly impacted by the South Fraser Perimeter road said this was the first protest they had ever attended.
Hundreds Rally Against Gateway Project Hundreds Rally Against Gateway Project Stop Gateway Rally - Delta, B_C_ Stop Gateway Rally Draws Large Crowd

Tags: Environment | changeeverything.ca | freebetty | gateway project | highway expansion | stopgateway | Vancouver

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Trucks on the Port Mann

The recent Vancouver Sun editorial (“Gateway is important for our future economic well-being” March 22nd) repeated the big lie that Highway One expansion is necessary to accommodate truck traffic volumes.

In actual fact only 10% of the traffic on the Port Mann bridge is truck traffic. If the other 90% of drivers were given viable public transit options there would be more than enough room for truck traffic on the existing bridge.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Protesters Outnumber Supporters at 2010 Olympic Ceremony

Protesters greatly outnumbered public supporters at Olympic flag lighting ceremony in Vancouver. In the public viewing area the chants of the protesters drowned out the speakers for most of the ceremony. People chanted “Homes not Games,” “No Olympics on Stolen Native Lands,” and “No Justice, No Peace.”

Security for the event at city hall was tighter than at previous Olympic ceremonies and some commented this was an ominous indication of things to come for the city of Vancouver. Police and other security personnel ringed the entire two blocks and everyone who entered city hall grounds was supposed to be subjected to a search. Early on police turned away one person because he was wearing a bandanna. He was able to enter the grounds later.

When a large group of protesters arrived at the site the police initially tried to prevent them from entering the grounds. However, the crowd moved on to a different location where they overwhelmed the police and passed the perimeter. The police made a few more attempts to prevent protesters from reaching the fenced off area where the ceremony was to take place. But in the end all protesters were allowed to move freely about the public viewing area.

Speakers and others participating in the ceremony itself were kept behind two fences and two rows of police.

The ceremony itself seemed somewhat disorganized. There were long gaps in the program, speakers seemed distracted by the protesters and the flag lighting itself seemed rather anti-climatic.
Police Hassle Native Protestor with Squamish Nation Flag Protesters Outnumber Supporters at 2010 Olympic Ceremony Police attempt to prevent protesters from entering City Hall grounds Protesters Outnumber Supporters at 2010 Olympic Ceremony Protesters Outnumber Supporters at 2010 Olympic Ceremony Protesters Outnumber Supporters at 2010 Olympic Ceremony

Tags: Vancouver | protest | Olympics | Flag | Culture | Ceremoney | 2010Protest | 2010

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Update on Arrests at Betty Krawczyk's Sentencing

The two supporters of Betty Krawczyk who were arrested following her
sentencing were released without a clear explanation of what they
were charged with and with no date to appear in court.

One of those arrested said he assumed that they would be charged with
violating the court injunction that was read to them. He hopes to
challenge it in court. The court order was against anyone blocking
doors in the courthouse and he believe that the bailiffs were the one
primarily blocking the doors.



Highway activists remain defiant in spite of the sentence given to Krawczyk.
The organizer behind gatewaysucks.org said, “Ten months in prison,
the judge said, is necessary as a "deterrent" to
further action – Betty's, and ours.In spite of all the injustice
surrounding her treatment, we must remember the fundamental reason
why Betty is in jail now. She is there because it is fully unjust,
corrupt and obscene to continue building highways through living
communities, whether inhabited by eagles or humans...We shall not be
deterred.”



A local environmental consultant said that this story needs to be “send
it to newspapers all over . ....you might get a ruckus happening over
there calling for the head of VANOC and Minister Falcon. It’s worth
a try…, , , other countries would love to run this story about
barbaric North Americans politicians sending elderly women to jail…”




The next major event for those working to stop highway expansions will be
a Mass Rallyfor Sustainable Transportation held Saturday, March 31st,
2007 in Delta. It will take place from 2:00
– 5:00 pm at the East Delta Community Hall 10379 Ladner Trunk Road,
Delta (Between Highway 99 and Burns Bog). Speakers will include Gord
Price, Livable Region Coalition; Donna Passmore, Gateway 30 Network;
Representative, BC Liberal Government (invited!); Adriane Carr, Green
Party of Canada; David Chudnovsky, NDP Transportation Critic; Jim
Houlahan, CAW local 111 (Bus Drivers)



Transportation options for getting there: Translink's C76 Community Shuttle from
the Ladner or Scottsdale Exchanges. Or put your bike on the 351 bus
in downtown Vancouver and ride from the highway 99 / highway 10
intersection.


Tags: Vancouver | stopgateway | highway expansion | gateway project | freebetty | Environment

Monday, March 05, 2007

Wilderness Protector Sentenced to 10 months – Law Courts Locked Down.

Betty Krawczyk was sentenced to 10 months in prison today for her involvement in protests against highway expansion at Eagleridge Bluffs. When observers of the proceedings attempted to ask questions about the extraordinary security measures in place, the court security responded by locking down the courts for almost two hours.



Hundreds of people had shown up well before the 9 AM start time for the hearing. Many were angry that Krawczyk was being sentenced by the same judge who had recently sentenced Harriet Nahanee. Nahanee died from pneumonia which she may have picked up while in jail.



Courtroom security decided to implement extraordinary security measures, checking bags, refusing entry to those with bags and even doing prolonged inspections of bicycle helmets. These security measures had not been in place for any other trail involving Eagleridge Bluff protesters.



By slowing the process for people entering the courtroom, less than one third of the observers were able to get into the courtroom before the sentence was passed.



When Krawczyk's supporters asked members of the sherrif's department why they public was not allowed full access to the hearing, they were told to go to an office in the
court building.



A short while later these supporters re-entered the law courts building and headed toward the office they had been told to visit. However, security forcibly prevented them
from entering the office and formed a blockade in front of the
offices. The supporters sat down waiting to talk with someone about
lack of public access to the courts. In response, the law courts
security decided to lock down parts of the court preventing everyone
except lawyers from entering.



They kept the lock down in place for about two hours. At the that time an injunction was read to the
supporters sitting in the building foyer. Most chose to leave but
two were arrested.


Wilderness Protector Sentenced to 10 months – Law Courts Locked Down. Entrance and Tree Sit Injunction Served

Tags: Vancouver | INJUNCTION | highway expansion | Eagleridge | Courts | Krawczyk | freebetty | Environment