The importance of the Little Mountain story and one filmmaker’s campaign to capture the struggle through a documentary film
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David Vaisbord discusses the importance of the Little Mountain story and his campaign to create a documentary film to showcase the community and residents’ struggle against the BC government.The Little Mountain story centres around Little Mountain residents – many of them seniors – fighting to remain in their apartments in Vancouver’s first social (public) housing development and demanding demolished social housing units be replaced on the site.
Find out more about David’s campaign to produce a full-length documentary – and how you can help.
Longtime public education advocate Jane Bouey on the teachers’ strike, the state of public schools in Vancouver and BC, and the Public Education Project
What is the state of public education in Vancouver and BC schools? Why do class size and composition matter? What is the context of the current teachers’ strike and the lockout initiated by the BC government?
In an in-depth conversation, former Vancouver School Board Trustee Jane Bouey discusses the state of public education in BC and Vancouver, provides the context to the current strike and lockout, and gives an update on the Vancouver School Board’s work on updating their sexual orientation and gender identity policies. A recent Georgia Straight article details the VSB’s work on updating these policies and the organized backlash that Jane Bouey describes.
Jane Bouey also explains the importance of local public education activism – and the yet-to-be-launched Public Education Project which aims to bring public education issues to the fore in Vancouver municipal politics.
In the first half of the program, Dr. Marjorie Griffin Cohen (Economist and Professor, SFU Department of Political Science and Women’s Studies) discusses current issues facing low-wage workers as well as the labour movement in British Columbia. On the podcast, we examine the intersections of economic insecurity for workers, high housing costs, and the inadequacy of current social programs and policies in the Lower Mainland.
She contextualizes current conditions facing many of the province’s low-wage and precariously employed workers by reflecting on the legacy of major labour market policy and employment standards changes following the election of the BC Liberal government in the early 2000s. Additionally, we discuss the prospects of Unifor, now Canada’s largest private sector union, and the possibilities of greater organizing potential within traditionally low-wage and non-unionized sectors.
Dr. Cohen has written extensively in the areas of political economy and public policy with special emphasis on issues concerning the Canadian economy, women, labour, electricity deregulation, energy and the environment, and international trade agreements. She was the principle investigator of a five-year SSHRC Community-University Research Alliance Grant (CURA). This project (called the Economic Security Project) focused on the study of the impact of government policies on vulnerable populations and how to construct policy to meet the needs of these people. Her most recent books are Public Policy for Women and Remapping Gender in the New Global Order.
On the second half of the program, we hear from Ben Isitt, a Victoria City Councillor, legal scholar and labour historian. He tells the often tumultuous history of British Columbia’s labour movement, and in doing so, provides a window into the movement’s past challenges and future opportunities. Ben Isitt is author of From Victoria to Vladivostok and Militant Minority.
We discuss regional planning, education, housing, poverty reduction, and the importance of progressive provincial-municipal policies. In the 2011 Vancouver-Point Grey by-election, Eby came within 600 votes of Christy Clark in the seat previously held by former Premier Gordon Campbell.
David Eby is a lawyer and the former executive director of the BC Civil Liberties Association. He has also worked for Pivot Legal Society and is adjunct professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of British Columbia.
Certified in 1979, CUPE 2278 is a local of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. The local is run by volunteer teaching assistants who are elected each year by the membership of the local. CUPE 2278 represents UBC teaching assistants, markers, tutors, and instructors at the English Language Institute and is composed of both undergraduate and graduate students. They have roughly 3,000 members. On October 30th, CUPE 2278 activated its strike mandate with a rotating job action, rather than a full work stoppage. Over the last week, the union has been picketing various buildings on campus and on November 6th, they entered into mediation with the University and a third party mediator, Vince Ready. On November 7th, the bargaining committee announced that they had reached a tentative agreement with UBC to renew the collective agreement.
We examine this current labour struggle in the city. On November 2nd, The City spoke with CUPE 2278 executive members Michael Stewart and Glynnis Kirchmeier, as well as Sage Ponder and Roger Clark. We discuss why the union is currently engaged in a job action within the global and local contexts of neoliberalism and labour mobilizations. Additionally, we discuss how UBC – and universities, generally – are adopting corporate strategies and operating more like businesses than public institutions of higher learning.
Note: This interview was taped prior to the November 7th announcement that a tentative agreement had been reached, and therefore, the discussion does not reflect this recent development.
On October 25th, 2012, the Province of BC and the City of Vancouver announced that the four remaining tenant-households at the Little Mountain social housing development would not be evicted, and that up to 50 social housing units would be fast-tracked and built on a portion of the site. Previously, the existing tenants (in the remaining townhouse who refused to be displaced) were served eviction notices, despite the fact that site redevelopment had not even reached the rezoning stage (and construction completion was still years away).
On the podcast, The City evaluates the recent social housing victory at Vancouver’s Little Mountain and we reflect on the history of the struggle. We begin with an excerpt from UBC Geography graduate student Tommy Thompson, who conducted extensive research on Little Mountain and found that “through an analysis of the distribution of benefits and losses of redevelopment to various relevant groups, Little Mountain tenants are being squeezed out of the benefits of redevelopment while bearing significant losses.”
We then hear from David Vaisbond, a documentary filmmaker, who has thoroughly and intimately documented the history of the Little Mountain housing struggle. We ask him to reflect on some of the most profound moments of documenting this struggle. Finally, former MLA and Little Mountain advocate David Chudnovsky reflects on this victory and provides a history of the proposed Little Mountain privatization and redevelopment.
The wording of the following statement has been approved by the remaining tenants of Little Mountain Housing.
All the remaining families at Vancouver’s Little Mountain Housing have been issued eviction notices. BC Housing is seeking to evict the tenants by September 30th 2012.
Please stand with the courageous tenants of Little Mountain by helping them fight this unjust eviction!
These last four families remain onsite today only because they took a stand against the travesty of justice that occurred at Little Mountain in 2009. At that time 220 of 224 families were displaced from Little Mountain, many of them bullied, and all but one building was demolished. Four families opted to stay, saying that the demolition was premature & unnecessary. Time has proven them right: for three years, the 15-acre site has sat empty, and even today redevelopment is still years away.
Just as the community destruction in 2009 was unnecessary, this summer’s eviction notices are also unnecessary. It is a simple matter for replacement social housing to be constructed without evicting the final four families. Eviction is only a point of convenience for both BC Housing and the developer, Holborn.
These particular families have been inspirational and outspoken community advocates. By keeping vigil over the site, they have helped hold the government and developer to their word.
To stop those in power from evicting the vigilant tenants, please support their simple call:
(1) Cancel the eviction notices and allow remaining tenants to stay onsite until new social housing units are ready for occupancy
(2) Save and upgrade the last building to become a fabulous, local community history museum, or a community history & arts centre
FOUR WAYS TO SUPPORT THE REMAINING TENANTS OF LITTLE MOUNTAIN
1. Sign and circulate the petition
2. Watch and share this short film about two of the tenants who are fighting the current eviction: “The Eviction of Sammy and Joan” by David Vaisbord
3. Make your voice heard by local media:
email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
CBC radio talkback number: 604-662-6690
CKNW radio comment line: 604-331-2784
4. Make you voice heard by officials:
Provincial Government and BC Housing
Premier Christy Clark: firstname.lastname@example.org
Minister Responsible for Housing, Rich Coleman: email@example.com
Shayne Ramsay, CEO, BC Housing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dale McMann, ED for Lower Mainland, BC Housing: email@example.com
Joo-Kim Tiah, President, Holborn Group: firstname.lastname@example.org
James Cheng & Associates, Architectural Consultants: email@example.com
City of Vancouver
Mayor Gregor Robertson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor George Affleck: email@example.com
Councillor Elizabeth Ball: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Adrienne Carr: email@example.com
Councillor Heather Deal: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Kerry Jang: email@example.com
Councillor Raymond Louie: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Geoff Meggs: email@example.com
Councillor Andrea Reimer: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Tim Stevenson: email@example.com
Councillor Tony Tang: firstname.lastname@example.org
CoV’s City Manager Penny Ballem: email@example.com
CoV’s General Manager of Planning and Development: firstname.lastname@example.org
CoV’s City Planning Staff: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
More information can be found on the Facebook page.
The Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) brought seniors’ housing issues and Musqueam’s ongoing land struggle to the forefront with guest speakers at their recent general membership meeting held on September 9th, 2012.
Rhiannon Bennett, a Musqueam band member, reflected on the ongoing 130+ day struggle to protect their burial grounds from condo development in South Vancouver.
Gail Harmer, seniors’ advocate and housing activist, addressed the challenges moderate and low-income seniors face when trying to find affordable and appropriate housing in Vancouver. She discussed some of the specific issues faced by seniors in neighbourhoods which have high concentrations of seniors, including Strathcona and Killarney.
Today, August 10th, marked 100 days of the Musqueam Band protecting their ancestral burial grounds of c̓əsnaʔəm in the Marpole neighbourhood of south Vancouver. They have kept an around-the-clock presence at a site in the 1300-block of Southwest Marine Drive which is intended to be developed into luxury condominiums by Century Group. Over 4,000-year-old intact Musqueam ancestral remains are buried on the site. The Musqueam have called for a land swap to ensure that the ancestral burial grounds of c̓əsnaʔəm are protected.
Below are photos from the march starting from Granville Street and West 70th and ending at c̓əsnaʔəm in the 1300-block of SW Marine Drive. The march ended with a rally and speeches. NDP MLAs Jenny Kwan and Scott Fraser (Aboriginal Relations Critic), former COPE City Councillor Ellen Woodsworth, BC Nurses Union President Debra MacPherson, and Musqueam spokesperson Cecilia Point, among other Musqueam representatives, addressed the crowd. Following the speeches, Musqueam runners left to deliver the petition signed by over 3,000 people to Premier Christy Clark’s West 4th Avenue constituency office.