As we begin to gear up for the Vancouver municipal election in October, it is good to be reminded that most of what we consider to be voter apathy is in fact the politics of deliberate exclusion. Dave Meslin explained it well eight years ago:
Sometime in my very early twenties, near the beginning of the 1970s, someone turned me on to Don Marquis and his 1910s/1920s stories about Archy the cockroach, a writer of free verse, and Mehitabel the alley cat who thought she was a reincarnation of Cleopatra.
Archy would supposedly leave poems on Marquis’ desk that the cockroach typed by jumping up and down on the keys. There were never any capital letters or punctuation because he couldn’t use the shift key. Here is a typical poem “The Wisdom of Archy“:
In “Archy Hears from Mars,” extraterrestrials reach out to the roach by radio because humans proved too hard to contact. Upon their request that he tell them about his planet, Archy explains:
The block of E. 1st Avenue from Clark to McLean Drive on the north side has been owned by the City for quite some time now, and many of us have wondered what might be its ultimate fate. Now we know. According to a release dated 16th February:
“The Province is working with the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Coastal Health to build approximately 100 affordable rental homes, as well as a new withdrawal management centre for people seeking treatment for addictions …
A new evidence-based withdrawal management centre within the planned complex will replace Vancouver Coastal Health’s current withdrawal management services facility on East 2nd Ave. It will include a range of enhanced services such as inpatient and outpatient withdrawal management, and sobering and at-home withdrawal management, which are trauma-informed and culturally appropriate …
The proposed mixed-use redevelopment, located at 1636 Clark Dr. and 1321–1395 East 1st Ave., is a collaborative response to the housing crisis and the health-care needs of the community. It will serve low-to moderate-income people, and include a social enterprise space for local residents, focusing on Indigenous healing and wellness through employment and alignment with culturally informed treatment…
The Province, Vancouver Coastal Health and the City of Vancouver will work with existing tenants on site and the surrounding community to share project details. The proposed project is subject to a rezoning approval by Vancouver city council and a development permit approval process.”
I haven’t seen any design plans yet, but this sounds like a very good use for that space. More information on the project will be posted at BC Housing website.
Go along and tell them what you think. Here’s a couple of questions you might want to ask:
- As was so eloquently stated in the recent Throne Speech in Victoria: “When people can’t find an affordable home … safety and security is taken away …[and]… Businesses cannot grow when the skilled workers they need are shut out by the high cost of housing” How many of the 68 condos will be affordable (by CMHC definition) to Vancouver families earning median incomes (as defined by Stats Can) using government-regulated minimum down payments?
- How will you guarantee that all purchasers of the 68 condos are tax-paying Canadian residents?
I’m sure you can think of others.