Construction restarts at Hanlon Creek

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

  • This week, heavy machinery began work at the proposed site of a 671-acre business park at Hanlon Creek. (Greg Beneteau)

    This week, heavy machinery began work at the proposed site of a 671-acre business park at Hanlon Creek. (Greg Beneteau)

Written by Greg Beneteau

Almost a year after protesters occupied the site the Hanlon Creek Business Park, hoping to protect the area from development, the city is trying again.

Construction at the site on Downey Road went into full swing this week, with an expedited plan to move the development ahead in order to make up for lost time from the occupation.

According to the Guelph Mercury, the $3 million project conducted by Capital Paving Inc. will see new water and santitation  lines installed along Downey Road to serve the area, as well as a new storm water management pond. Two development blocks are being also graded and put up for sale as part of the planned 671-acre business park.

Additionally, Capital Paving will begin construction of a new road, Hanlon Creek Boulevard,  that will connect Downey and Laird Road.

The work is expected to continue until October, but already the city is pushing ahead, selling 40 acres of land to Cooper Construction Ltd. as part of the second phase of development.

Peter Cartwright, Guelph's manager of economic development and tourism services, told the Mercury the company hopes to begin its work this year and wrap up in Spring 2011.

When thecannon arrived at the Downey Road site, a private security detail posted at the site warned not to take pictures of the construction equipment, but eventually relented.

Last spring, environmental activists set up a tent community at the site of a planned culvert construction over concerns of environmental degredation and the destruction of habitat that might house the Jefferson Salamander, an at-risk species. The occupation lasted 19 days.

Dueling injunction notices served by the protesters and the city delayed construction for the remainder of the year. A search for the Jefferson Salamander in the area this spring turned up empty.

A lawsuit launched by the City of Guelph and Belmont Quity, seeking $5 million in damages from a group of protesters, remains before the courts.

Despite numerous campaign relations campaigns and rallies organized throughout the spring there has been no sign of opposition to  so far. A notice posted on an anti-HCBP website said protesters would continue their "opposition and resistance" to the project.

According to the website, protesters also delivered a note to the home Guelph Mayor Karen Farbridge, announcing the "development" of her house.

“We have come here today to inform you that this land is scheduled for immediate development,” the alleged note read. “Our Scientific survey shows that there are no endangered Karen Farbridges within this habitat. Our survey was conducted during prime human migratory hours 9am-3pm.”

“As such, we will continue as scheduled immediately.”

A spokesperson for the City of Guelph said Mayor Farbridge was out of town on business at the time and would not be returning until June 22.

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