Deri Fairman passed away on February 26 2008.
The passing of Derri Fairman was sad but noteworthy for KCAL because of his pioneering leadership in the use of the internet in a protest movement in Kingston.
Deri (Frederick) was a professor of electrical engineering at Queen's who retired in 1999.
Around that time, there was a proposal for a massive development on Block D, containing roughly what is presently being built there PLUS a conference centre and concert hall, and an arena (LVEC in today's lingo).
Along with many other people, Deri saw that plan as a serious threat to the Sydenham Ward residential area (where he lived with his wife Nancy) and to the downtown Kingston amenities. The project was strongly supported by the Mayor, the council, and downtown business interests.
Maybe this was when the term "naysayer" came into vogue.
Deri, together with Jerry Wyatt and Helen Finlay, formed a group called Citizens for Responsible Development in Kingston, CRDK. Deri organized the activities around detailed research and study of the proposal, the relevant municipal bylaws, and contacts with city staff. Email was the natural way to communicate, as many people by then had acquired home computers.
This developed into a large email network of members and supporters, which meant that news of developments was passed around very rapidly. Mary Syrett was involved in this aspect of the organization. CRDK organized two public meetings, both attended by overflow crowds of more than 400 people.
Speakers from the group undertook to address particular areas of concern at the first meeting. A world-famous architect and urban design expert, Jan Gehl, was brought to Kingston from Denmark for about week, and at the second meeting spoke about waterfront development around the world. Deri collected several thousand signatures for a petition in just two days, sitting at a table outside Tara Foods.
There was a dramatic climax when the mayor and council decided not to support the project any further, probably as a result of CRDK activity, followed by a last ditch proposal to put the proposed arena on the North Block instead of Block D, which was very quickly rejected by City Council. And that was that.
There was a LVEC-related meeting at City Hall on Tuesday May 04, 2004. Deri was there, and this was the very beginning of the LVEC issue.
Deri helped KCAL set up its activities against the LVEC, then to be located on Anglin Bay. He came to KCAL's first meeting together with his wife
Nancy, and was a strong KCAL supporter throughout.
In many ways he tutored and coached us along the way.
KCAL ows Deri a great deal. Deri was a man who made a difference.
We are all deeply saddened by his passing.