I went out shopping on the Drive today and had trouble making my way against the extraordinary wind. If you have ever been to Skagway, you’ll understand why I thought I was back there!
I spend a lot of time at the Central Library, all day for at least two and sometimes three days a week. And more or less I have been doing that for a couple of years. Up on the seventh floor where I do my work there are the occasional busy flashes but generally it is pretty quiet up there.
I have tried to keep weekends as free as possible and so I haven’t been visiting the Library at those times. However, because my gal has been traveling for the last couple of weeks, I have found myself doing full days there for the last two Sundays. And wow! — the place has been packed both days; seriously busy with nearly every table and work space being used.
Maybe half the crowd are ethnically-oriental students doing language homework or some such in a quiet space. The other half are actively looking up stuff from directories, old newspapers and the massively-multiple volumes of historic Vancouver photographs.
On my walks around the Library every floor seemed to be equally busy.
It is wonderful to see such a special building be so well used.
At the GWAC meeting last Monday there was circulated a notice about the development of 1534 and 1540 Grant Street, a residential area of single family homes. The plan — unfortunately not unusual these days — is to cram nine 3-storey townhouses on these two lots.
The neighbours who came to the GWAC meeting complained about such a major change to the footprint of their street, and had not been able to find out what changes to the RM4 zoning the developers are requesting.
If you are interested in discussing these issues, there is a public meeting at 1544 Grant at 7pm on Sunday (tomorrow). Karen Wilson (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Anne Worrall (email@example.com) are the organizers and can give you more information.
You were young men in the Guards
treading water in wretched trenches
swinging kitbags and rifles and broad silly grins
that two billion volumes single-spaced wouldn’t be enough
to list all of life’s treasures
you haven’t experienced yet
and still you would die
or so you thought
as you lay where
no-one could tell where
mud ended and blood began
three and four generations removed,
we lay wreathes for your wraiths
on a hollow day in November
while the parades and the poppies
an annual landscape of memory
profound today, gone tomorrow
and for three or four days the flowers fade
and the greenery browns at your memorials
and then the work crews come
young men and women with guarded futures
treading water at minimum wage
swinging brooms and shovels and black plastic bags
and when the work trucks leave
your memory has turned once again
to cold undecorated stone
and nothing can ever change
that you died before you started living.
I am very much opposed to the City’s plans to dismantle the tent city at the Occupy Vancouver site. But the fact that they will eventually do that, and without too much fuss, I’m guessing, is an indication of just how far the Occupy folks have let slip control of the action.
They have allowed the discussion to centre on saving the tents, on overdoses and rats when we are supposed to be all about reform of the global financial system and similar mega-issues. Should we spend our energies trying to solve economic and environmental problems, or should we fight to sleep overnight in the park?
The protesters have fallen into the trap of having the discussion be about unimportant details, and details that they cannot win a debate about, too.
I believe the Occupiers should pack up the tents and leave the park. This puts a complete stop to the City’s attempts to distract the protesters. The protesters should then return to the park for speeches and debates about the real issues, and they should make those discussions last as long as they can: all day, every day. The City and the police have already agreed that the park is a suitable venue for public protest — and that’s what we should concentrate on rather than fight a battle to sleep over.
Make the debates interesting and useful, make the discussions and cabaret entertaining and attractive to ever-growing crowds. Continue with the info marches around town. Get the public back on side.
Think: is it more productive to have thousands attend public debates day after day after day, or to have a couple of dozen people camp out?
That’s my two cents.