Occupy Fredericton Meeting with Mayor Brad Woodside
Sections, Articles and Informal Points
Thursday, November 24th, 2011 – 10:00 am
We, the appointed representatives of the Fredericton chapter of the global Occupy Movement, on this day Thursday, November 24th, 2011, have agreed to meet with Mayor Brad Woodside of the City of Fredericton, to determine mutually beneficial terms regarding the city’s planned Christmas Tree erection and lighting Ceremony.
Pursuant to planning meetings which began in early September of 2011, Occupy Fredericton took up a lawful and peaceable occupation of the public space adjacent to City Hall, known as Phoenix Square, following a peaceful protest Rally and March, on the evening of October 15th, 2011. The group has continuously occupied Phoenix Square for 40 days, with no official public or legal objections, for the purpose of establishing a forum for direct democracy, engaging in public education and advocacy, and plannning of sustainable municipal and provincial economic development initiatives.
During one of Occupy Fredericton’s General Assembly meetings in early November, the Mayor visited the Occupy site and informed the group of the city’s plans to erect a municipal Christmas Tree in early December. The Mayor then suggested the group relocate their camp to accomodate the aforementioned traditions. The Mayor then returned several weeks later, on November 21st, and issued a written request to the same effect. It is in an effort to determine an acceptable course of action for both the Occupy Fredericton group and city representatives that we are meeting today.
The following requests are organized into Sections and Articles, on the basis of importance:
Section One (Imperative)
- We would like to continue our public service and presence in the city without fear of legal or police action. Assurances to this effect have already been documented.
- We would like to maintain some presence in Phoenix Square, the exact form of which is to be determined. Openness to this proposition has been stated.
- We would like to open an official dialog with the city regarding sustainable economic development. The terms of this partnership have yet to be discussed.
Section Two (Important)
- The use, when needed, of the nearest electrical outlet at City Hall. Extension cords are to be provided by the Occupy group. A bill (estimated) for all kilowatt hours used by the group may be issued, and fees will be paid from the group’s business account.
- The use, under fire safety regulations and upon approval by Office of the Fire Marshal, of the Occupy group’s indoor kerosene space heater. Fire safety instruction and literature will be reviewed on a weekly basis with all regular and new “occupiers”.
- The option, upon consent from the Occupy General Assembly, to temporarily reduce the camp’s size from it’s current dimensions of 15 by 30 feet to the size of no more than 15 by 15 feet (plus the exterior food preparation area, 5 x 5 ft), the storage of all promotional and informational materials (ie: banners, signs and information table), and the asthetic improvement of the tarp-assembly, for the duration of the tree lighting ceremony – but at no point entirely remove the Occupy camp from Phoenix Square.
- The option, upon consent from the Occupy General Assembly, to participate in the city’s tree lighting ceremony in a charitable capacity. To this end, the Occupy group will publicise and participate in a Food Drive (in mock competition with the Mayor) for donation to the Fredericton Food Bank, provide hot local food and beverages donated and prepared by Occupy Fredericton’s non-occupying supporters (ie: local church groups and elderly), and make a public statement (with photos for local media) formally thanking the Mayor for allowing us to remain and continue our outreach and educational efforts.
Section Three (Requests & Suggestions)
The ecoFredericton Sustainable Business and Community Development program has “donated” and volunteered to create and manage a number of local, ethically-focused, sustainable social and infrastructural projects with the goal of modernizing and greening the city. To facilitate the development of these progressive programs, the Occupy group requests:
- Convening a meeting with the City to review municipal by-laws regarding wellfield zoning and the prospect of fully organic gardening
- Convening a meeting to expand and develop the City’s Downtown Dollars program into a full-featured Community Currency program
- Convening a meeting to study the possibility of expanding or diversifying the Fredericton Farmer’s Market, with a focus on local food providers
- Convening a meeting to propose the establishment of an educational initiative devoted to training and supporting environmentally-responsible entrepreneurs
- Convening a meeting to propose the restructuring of the Fredericton public transit system, with attention to more efficient routes and wifi- based scheduling
- Convening a meeting to plan the expansion and installation of more wi-fi antennae in the Fred-eZone network
- Convening a meeting to introduce a closed-loop recycling program aimed at repurposing “waste” materials
- Convening a meeting to examine the prospect of a car sharing cooperative and bike sharing cooperative within city limits
- Convening a meeting to examine the feasibility of subsidising an environmentally-responsible and sustainable (hybrid) taxi service
- Convening a meeting to discuss a move to more environmentally responsible architecture, along the lines of LEED energy efficiency standards
- Convening a meeting to revise the City’s “Green Matters/Green Shops” program, with the goal of providing more stringent standards, sustainability consulting, and the addition of a “Platinum” level of certification
- Convening a meeting to discuss the implementation of a small business network to facilitate competition between local business and multinational corporations, conservation and sharing of resources by local business, and locally sourced materials and products
- Convening a meeting to plan a bi-monthly fundraising events and festivals to subsidize the aforementioned programs
Just to name a few.
Points for Discussion
– What the tents and/or tarps represent, locally and globally
– Impending austerity measures and the need for pro-active solutions
– Rejection of the term “Demands” in favor of “these are the Solutions we have to offer”
– Occupy as a political influence and means to engage young voters
– The pressure to “please everyone” vs “quietly” working together to improve the city
– What are the Mayor’s concerns and objections
– How we can address and alleviate these
Prepared by Arthur Taylor and the Occupy Fredericton General Assembly
Presented by Arthur Taylor, Andre Faust and Ella Henry
Posted Friday, Nov 25, 2011
(Italicised points are those accepted by the Mayor, as empowered by City Council. The Mayor declined discussion of Section Three, the group’s community and economic development initiatives.)