on May 14, 2015 by test_editor in Archive_2015, May, Print Articles, Comments Off on May 14, 2015: The Little Media Campaign That Didn’t; Orange bike blaze faded.

May 14, 2015: The Little Media Campaign That Didn’t; Orange bike blaze faded.

May 14, 2015: The Little Media Campaign That Didn’t;
Orange bike blaze faded.

By Debra Huron.

Orange bikes labelled ‘zibi.ca/bike’ began appearing on Wellington Street West on April 10th. By April 20, the advertising campaign by Windmill Development Group for its controversial proposal to create a mega condo/ hotel/office project on Chaudière and Albert Islands in the Ottawa River ended, thanks to citizen protests, and the City’s by-law services folks who told the company that using public space to advertise private products breaks the law.

Why oppose what Windmill touted as a feel-good initiative that involved them donating $1 to Causeway Work Centre for every selfie taken with an orange bike and posted to Twitter? And who opposed it?

Cyclists were upset because the orange ads were locked to public bike racks. Across the city, they began putting stickers on the bikes. Kathryn Hunt, in her blog, The Incidental Cyclist wrote: “…they’re taking up bike parking in a city where there are already too few bike racks. Inconveniencing the very people you want, eventually, to ride their environmentally conscious bikes to your shiny new eco-district to ethically spend their dollars.”

Did you know that this shiny new eco-district has detractors? I am one of them. So is Douglas Cardinal, the Métis / Blackfoot architect Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau commissioned to design the Museum of Civilization.

Still vibrant at 81, Mr. Cardinal is one of 5 people appealing to the Ontario Municipal Board to rule against an attempt by the City of Ottawa to rezone Chaudière and Albert Islands from parkland to commercial/residential use—providing the wealthy with high-rise views up and down an historic river. The late Algonquin Elder, William Commanda, wanted to see the three islands (Victoria Island is the third) returned to a truly “green” and natural state. He lobbied, as does Mr. Cardinal, for a place to celebrate and recognize Indigenous culture, people, history, and values in our nation’s capital.

Ottawa’s mayor, the head of the National Capital Commission, and this city’s mainstream media would have you believe Windmill’s proposed development is all nicely tied up. And it is. In the courts. Aside from the OMB case, a second legal battle is underway.

In November 2014, five Algonquin groups and one individual filed a unified statement of claim in Ontario Superior Court of Justice that asserts Indigenous title to traditional lands in the Ottawa River watershed. The claim includes Chaudière and Albert Islands, along with sacred Chaudière Falls. Windmill Development Group is named as a defendant, as are the City of Ottawa, the NCC and others.

That’s why I began using the hash-tag #uncededbikeracks on Twitter to protest the use of public space (bike racks) to advertise what is anything but a “done deal” on these islands. Can Windmill prove that it owns Chaudière or Albert Islands? I challenge it to do so.

Until it can, you and I must realize that these islands at the foot of a once magnificent waterfall are on their way to being returned to non-commercial stewardship by Indigenous peoples who never gave up on them. Or gave them away.

Advertising on middle of bike frame

Crass Testing the Bylaws?

Photo Caption: Zibi bike campaign misses its mark. Photo by D. Huron.

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