Yukon North Of Ordinary

News archive for November 9, 2011

Group plots strategy in wake of eviction notice

Mark Bowers and the Occupy Whitehorse group aren’t sure if they are going to leave tent city.

By Nadine Sander-Green on November 9, 2011 at 5:22 pm


Photo by Vince Fedoroff

COMPANY MEANS BUSINESS – To complement its signs near the Yukon government administration building, the White Pass and Yukon Route served an eviction notice on the Occupy Whitehorse movement Tuesday (top). ORDER NOT APPRECIATED – Mark Bowers says he wasn’t thrilled to receive the notice to leave the area he parked his camper on last month.

Mark Bowers and the Occupy Whitehorse group aren’t sure if they are going to leave tent city.

Bowers was hand-delivered a trespass notice from the White Pass and Yukon Route on Tuesday morning.

It gave him and other tent city resident 48 hours to remove themselves from the lawn outside the Yukon Legislative Assembly.

To the surprise of many, a strip of land from Second Avenue to the banks of the Yukon River is owned by White Pass, not the territorial government.

Tent city is right in the middle of a chunk of that land.

White Pass wants the campers out.

The letter says the company can appreciate the cause for the protest, but anticipated the demonstration would have been over by now.

“We have been patient for several months,” the letter reads.

It says violence, vandalism, nudity, destruction of property and littering have risen significantly since the tent city protest began.

As well, the accumulations of human waste, pet feces and garbage are posing serious health risks, the letter adds.

White Pass officials were not available for further comment today. How they plan to take further action, if it’s needed, remains unclear.

The Occupy Whitehorse movement — which Bowers emphasized is comprised of a core group of 10 or so people and even more on online— had its annual general meeting last weekend.

Members decided Bowers, the only Occupy member in tent city, should move out. He just received knee surgery, and said things are “tender.”

They’re also worried about personal safety.

Helen Hollywood, the woman who started tent city last June, is using an open flame propane heater in her tent, Bowers told the Star yesterday.

“We’re worried about Helen,” Bowers said. “That in a nylon tent is a major fire issue.”

The Occupy group decided to put together some money to buy two carbon monoxide detectors for tent city dwellers.

Bowers emphasized that tent city and Occupy Whitehorse are two separate movements.

He moved to tent city with his family camper on Oct. 19.

He was planning on pulling his camper off the lawn sometime this week. A husband and the father of two, Bowers has a job with the Yukon government.

Now that he’s received the eviction notice, Occupy Whitehorse is rethinking its decision to leave.

“The letter said they were hoping winter would kill this thing,” said Bowers. “Well, it didn’t.”

He said that before he received the notice, he had “heard” he was on White Pass land.

“But did we know for sure? No.”

Bowers said he doesn’t take kindly to “large American corporations extending their power across boundaries.” (The main White Pass offices are in Skagway.)

But as of this morning, Occupy Whitehorse’s online presence seems to have grown.

Raising awareness is what the whole movement is about, Bowers said.

He and the rest of the Occupy group planned to come up with a response this afternoon.

But not every tent city resident received an eviction notice.

Hollywood, deemed the “unofficial mayor” of tent city, didn’t.

She’s hoping the other few tenters left on the legislature’s lawn will move off White Pass land and off YTG property.

According to buzz on the ArtsNet mailing list this morning, residents have been offered rooms in the Stratford Hotel on Fourth Avenue.

Hollywood told the Star this morning she’s been offered a room at the Chilkoot Hotel.

“I wish it was Stratford.”

She said the Chilkoot has “deplorable living standards.

“I don’t even know why they would even let anyone live in that place,” she said.

Hollywood is planning on staying the winter in tent city and wants to make more room in her two other tents so other Yukoners can “keep warm.

“I’ve got a heating system inside and a carbon monoxide detector, so nothing’s going to happen,” Hollywood said.

“I’ve got many people in the health department, nurses, everybody contributing to my safety within my space. They’ve come in and seen it and said, ‘Hey, who could ask for more!’”

Occupy group in London, Ont. cleared out by police ...

CommentsAdd a comment

Francias Pillman

Nov 9, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Why does this story constantly make front page news? What does Helen do? Nothing, except sit there and complain. It’s unbelievable she is offered a FREE place to go but it’s not up to her standards. Give us all a break and do something with your life. You are owed NOTHING.

Sick and tired

Nov 10, 2011 at 11:53 am

A couple things about Mr Bowers rub me the wrong way.

First, as a supervisor in the Yukon Government he is likely shaking down around $80K with full benefits. 

He IS the 1%!

Second, his one man protest seems to be more about inflating his ego than helping the people he claims to represent.  Squatting on privately held land does nothing to further the cause he claims to represent.  The only thing it does accomplish is getting his mug in the paper on a slow news day.

If I were to set up camp in his front yard what do you suppose the reaction would be?  Why doesn’t he move Helen et al up to his property, he could even let someone sleep in his camper.

You think that is gonna happen?

Francias Pillman

Nov 10, 2011 at 3:19 pm

Another thing that makes me mad is his line about an American company putting profits before people. I had to read that line twice. Either he is playing stupid or is the latter. They are protecting their butts from your ILLEGAL occupation. And did he take sick days for the time he wasn’t at work? This is turning into a real joke.

NOT the 1%

Nov 11, 2011 at 9:59 pm

Dear sick and tired and others…

I make around 90k per year. I have a family to support, and although we have most of the things we would like to have, we have to save and make appropriate choices, and we have few luxuries. My mortgage costs me about 40% of my net income and I pay heat and utilities and property taxes on top of that. I do not get any kind of subsidies for daycare or anything else, and I can be counted amongst the most heavily taxed group in Canada. If my children want to go to university, they will have to work hard, apply for bursaries and loans, and perhaps work part-time whilst attending school. My retirement will be very modest on my pension - I believe that the funds like CPP that I have been making maximum contributions to for my whole working life will be gone by the time my turn comes.

People in my income bracket work hard and pay a ton of taxes to support our lush social system. We are bearing the burden of social programs supporting the elderly, and the burden our children will be even greater than ours. While we are fortunate to be employed and earning a good income, we are the ones being squeezed dry.

WE ARE NOT THE ONE PERCENT - and it is suggestions of same that indicate to us the ignorance of those who would say such things - and this is why we turn from your cause in disgust.

Work harder - and you can join the ranks of those of us who are supporting you.

People in my income bracket

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