Coming in From the Cold

Occupy Montreal Demands Quid Pro Quo

  • Photo Pierre Chauvin

Montreal Occupiers voted in a general assembly on Nov. 16 to take down several of their wooden structures, in accordance with a demand made from the City of Montreal.

But they won’t be doing it for free.

The City of Montreal has deemed several of the wooden structures at Occupy Montreal unsafe after an inspection by the fire department. The city raised two main concerns: one, that the structures are unsafe, as they’re neither fireproof nor able to withstand a heavy snowfall; and two, that the city does not want anything built that could be perceived as a permanent structure.

In response, and after much deliberation, the general assembly of Occupy Montreal voted in favor of removing the offending structures in return for something from the city.

“We accept the demands of the city that most of the wooden structures will be taken down by Sunday,” said a man who identified himself as Jean. “As long as the city first gives us a written guarantee of our right to occupy the Place of the People responsibly in tents as defined by Health Canada. Amendments: that the guarantee be reviewed by a lawyer. And that a press conference will be held on this occasion between the city and the occupants.”

The structures in question include teepees made of wood, a longhouse and a network of tarps that have been strung up as a roof over the individual tents.

A yurt erected at the site was not included in the ruling because there are currently no laws in Montreal regarding them.

UPDATE

Since the general assembly, the City of Montreal has responded by saying they will not be agreeing to these terms.

Media Relations Officer for the City of Montreal Gonzalo Nunez said the city’s concern is not the documentation itself.

“Our priority is to maintain the public safety at all times in Square Victoria,” he said. “Therefore, the protestors have to remove the shelters that have been deemed as dangerous, and that needs to be completed as soon as possible.”

Occupiers were informed on Nov. 11 of the city’s position.

Philip Lescarbeau, one of the occupiers living in a teepee marked to be taken down, said he is not happy with the city’s decision, since it took him two weeks of hard work to build out of recycled material.

“In my point of view, it’s super safe because it’s so warm we don’t have to heat it in anyway. As long as you don’t put any heat source in it there’s no problem.” Said Lescarbeau.

Occupy Montreal has invested in six military tents. They are insulated, warm and most importantly, fire-proof.

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