Windsor city staff soaked the Occupy Windsor movement Thursday. But it has no plans to tell the occupiers to leave the encampment.
Earlier this week, the city warned the protestors it planned to flush the water lines in Senator David Croll Park — including the sprinkling system — so they don't freeze during the winter. The city followed through Thursday morning.
Protestors say their tents are waterproof and were not worried or deterred.
Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis says as long as occupiers remain peaceful, they can continue to call the park home.
The demonstrators have been in the park for a month and have built an entire tent city, including a healing tent and a mess hall.
Eviction notices served elsewhere
Other North American city councils, including those in New York, Toronto, Calgary and Detroit, have run out of patience with demonstrators and attempted to break up protests.
Francis wants to avoid confrontation and the possibility of damaging Windsor's reputation.
"I'm not going to give them reason or an excuse to portray Windsor in a negative light," Francis said. "To do that would be creating a situation that would be an unwelcome situation for this community, and certainly something that the city of Windsor can't afford in terms of image."
Demonstrators well behaved
There's still no hint of controversy surrounding the Occupy Windsor movement.
'We try our best to help people.'— Garnet Smuczer, Occupy Windsor demonstrator
"We haven't done any property damage or destruction or anything like that," demonstrator Garnet Smuczer told CBC News. "In fact, we try our best to help people. We'll give meals to homeless people and things like that."
The global Occupy movement was the subject of a panel discussion at the University of Windsor on Wednesday night.
Philosophy professor Jeff Noonan noted change does not come quickly.
"We're still living in the shadow of the French Revolution and American Revolution, trying to decide what equal rights mean," Noonan said. "Look at the struggles around gay marriage, for example. These are still trying to work out the implications of the rights of man and citizen."
Occupy demonstrators have a laundry list of items on their agenda, from water quality to tuition hikes and political change. But the movement mainly surrounds corporate greed and the growing gap between the rich and poor.
Occupy Windsor recently created a "winter committee" to plan for the upcoming season.
"Because there's been no leader, it's just a bunch of people who've gotten together and they're trying to get things done through consensus," said Occupy Windsor member Mohammed Almoayad. "So, we're constantly, constantly developing. New people are coming every day, some people are leaving, that kind of thing. It's constantly developing."