Occupy Fredericton Challenges Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside’s Rationale For Eviction

Occupy Fredericton -  Eve  of Evection

Occupier at work doing research

FREDERICTON – Occupy Fredericton had their 9th visit from Fredericton mayor, Brad Woodside, yesterday morning. Mayor Woodside said “This is a great opportunity for Occupy to say to the people of Fredericton ‘we still have a message…we’re working cooperatively here,’” before voicing his concern for the safety of the occupiers, making it clear that no one should suffer through Canadian winters in such conditions.

“We recognize the concern for those who are braving the cold, which is exactly why we must take action on issues like poverty, housing, and cuts to social programs and job security. There are thousands of New Brunswickers who are affected by these harsh realities, and it is of paramount importance that we address these issues together,” said occupier Julian Renaud. “Mayor Woodside is right. We cannot let people be left out in the cold any longer. It is admirable of the mayor to show this level of compassion. It is important for the community to know and understand that we need to stick together, especially during the current economic crisis,” said Simon Dugre-Rezun, an economics student with the group’s General Assembly planning committee.

“This cold weather is really bothering me. I do not want anything to happen to anybody,” said Woodside during yesterday’s visit to the camp. Alex Davenport, one of the occupiers, agreed, even in light of his military training to cope with such frigid conditions.

“Alex and Bryan [Foglia], regular occupiers at the camp, have several years of military training, and Bryan – a combat engineer – designed the camp to military standards and gave a lecture on winter survival techniques. In fact, the only people allowed to sleep at the camp are those with similar camping or survival training. We’re actually quite comfortable,” said occupier Arthur Taylor, coordinator of a local business organization. In response to Mayor Woodside’s inconsistent statements yesterday, Mr. Taylor added, “This new timeline for our community development initiatives just doesn’t make sense. He said in all of our previous meetings that he supports our efforts and our proposed initiatives. I don’t understand why he’s setting this deadline for before the end of our ten-day Christmas presentation ceremony on the 25th. We can’t possibly get any significant public involvement given this new situation.”

Woodside hasn’t issued a formal eviction to the group, promising that “the police are not going to touch you,” but suggested yesterday that he will instead send civilian city workers to remove the group of concerned citizens. With regards to the possibility of helping to speed up the launch of the group’s community development projects, Woodside said “I’ll pursue that with anything I find necessary.”
All safety measures have been consistently observed, and conform to the standards imposed by city police and fire departments. Trained military personnel are present at the camp at all times, acting as fire safety, emergency medical and security capacities. The camp is equipped with several articles of military winter clothing, a 10,000 BTU kerosene heater, and several wool blankets and arctic sleeping bags. The tarp assembly is sewn together with wire and has an internal wooden frame to resist snow accumulation, and offers several layers of thermal protection, including two internal tents.
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