OV vows to be back by springtime; what are the odds the same problems follow them around in OV 2.0? (ODs, lack of leadership, no focus to the issues, blatant disregard for the law, media censorship, etc)We’ll be back in the spring, Occupiers warn
Stung by comments from city officials about the costs of policing a tent protest in the downtown core, Occupy Vancouver members are warning there will be more events like it come spring.
Sarah Beuhler of the Occupy Vancouver communications committee said at a press conference Thursday that many protesters have regrets about a decision to peacefully dismantle the tent encampment at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
She said the tent city provided a real focal point for the movement and there are discussions under way about a possible return to that site or another location.
“What I have heard from the Occupy Wall Street movement is that this spring is going to be an explosion of encampments and an explosion of political expression, and I believe we’ll be part of that,” she said.
“I believe the movement as a whole is taking this winter to think about this sort of thing … we’ve made our point. People are aware of us. We’ve really brought a lot of attention. We’ve changed the national conversation. What we need to do now is consolidate our processes, work together …[and] whatever is coming next, we have to be ready for it,” Ms. Beuhler said.
She said Occupy Vancouver members were outraged by comments from city staff that pegged the cost of policing and resolving the protest at nearly $1-million.
A Dec. 19 memo to council from Penny Ballem, city manager, and Sadhu Johnston, deputy manager, stated the major cost was $590,000 in overtime payments to the Vancouver Police Department.
The engineering department, which provided sanitation in the form of portable toilets and grounds cleaning, billed $345,878, largely in overtime and materials. The emergency operations centre costs were put at $15,274 and Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services incurred $16,730 in overtime and staffing costs, the memo states.
It says that Vancouver’s costs “are in-line with other North American cities dealing with the Occupy Movement,” noting that Portland, Ore., spent over $1.4-million in policing and park restoration, while Oakland, Calif., paid more than $2.4-million and New York police put in an overtime bill of over $7-million.
The memo said cost figures weren’t available yet for Toronto, Calgary and Edmonton.
But Ms. Beuhler disputed the Vancouver estimates, saying the city failed to take into account all of the services the protesters provided, such as feeding people and making medical treatment available in the tent city.
“So what that space provided was [a place] where no one had to go searching for food all the time; the medical tent was there to take care [of people and] we generated a community that allowed us to look at the issues,” she said.
Ms. Beuhler noted that the tent camp provided shelter for 80 people, about 30 of whom would have otherwise been defined as “street homeless,” thereby providing a housing service the city should have been taking care of.
She said the estimated cost per mat for emergency shelters is $83 per night, which means that over the 37 days of the Vancouver Art Gallery occupation, “the protest site provided approximately $92,130 worth of housing services.”
Ms. Beuhler said city officials had promised to help homeless protesters find places to live, but 13 still remain without homes.
The protest began in Vancouver in October and the tent camp was dismantled last month.http://www.theglobea...content=2281518