UPDATE ON HANTZ WOODLANDS STORY AND COMMUNITY FIGHTBACK TO ESTABLISH A COMMUNITY RUN LAND TRUST RUN BY NEIGHBOURHOOD COUNCIL:
In the first half hour I spoke to CUPE 543 President Mark VanderVoort and Mike Gibbons, OPIRG board member and President of the Social Justice Club on campus about their organizations’ plans for fundraising for the Windsor Youth Coalition. As well, VanderVoort announces free swims in area pools sponsored by CUPE 543:
Next Free Swim:
Date: Saturday, December 8, 2012
Place: Windsor Water World, 400 Wyandotte Street East
Time: 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
For more information, please contact:
Mark Vander Voort, President, CUPE 543, 519-903-5515
Kevin Wilson, CUPE Communications, 416-821-6641
- CUPE 543 President Mark Vander Voort and Social Justice Club President Mike Gibbons CJAM Studios
In addition to giving residents the chance to make a splash at community pools, Local 543 will also be fundraising on behalf of the Windsor Youth Centre (WYC), which supports homeless and at-risk youth in the community. Copies of WYC’s book “What is a Home” will be available for purchase at the free swim. WYC clients and supporters will also be assisting Local 543 during the free swims.
OPIRG Windsor and the Social Justice Club are helping to sponsor this WYC fundraiser on Friday Dec 7th at the Dominion House in Sandwich:
- Click HERE for event details
In Detroit, Hantz Farms is a locally owned Limited Liability Company with a mission to “help people achieve their life dreams, and to build more sustainable communities.”
As part of this mandate the company is looking to buy about 170 acres in Detroit’s lower east side so as to plant “… trees and ornamental plants [to] provide the city with revenue from the sale of surplus property, [thereby] improve[ing] [the]quality of life in surrounding neighborhoods, and reduce city operating costs by transferring maintenance costs to a private sector company.”
On the surface this sounds good as the company is promising to remove “…city-owned blighted structures [and] [b]rush that has grown in alleyways. [As well,] fence rows will be removed to improve neighborhood beauty and safety. Illegally dumped debris will be cleaned up as part of the process of re-purposing land. Costs of cleanup work will be recovered over several years through tax credit agreements.
In effect, Hantz Woodlands will be prepaying property taxes for the land they would purchase, with the investment being focused on addressing long-standing neighborhood needs.”
These quotes are from the preamble to a petition the company has promoted to garner local support for their plans. Recently Detroit city council deferred a decision on the Hantz deal until a public meeting can be held on Dec 10th.
Detroit city Council will look at the deal again on Dec 11th.
On the line from Detroit was Lottie Spady, Associate Director of the East Michigan Environmental Action Council. I spoke with her about concerns many people and organizations have about this plan.
In the audio clip, Spady outlined what lands are for sale, the confusion over the process by which vacant lots can be purchased – confusion because it is difficult for people to buy neighbouring vacant lots while a corporation seems able to scoop up 170 acres worth of property. She describes the “mow and grow” strategy of Hantz which has people scratching their heads.
Overall, the concern is over what Spady describes as the “enclosure of the commons” and what precedent this land deal will set for the rest of the city in the future:
Sample Track: Scent of the Bloom: