Tagged: cope

[Podcast] The Waldorf, W2, and Vancouver’s Growing Cultural Deficit

The Waldorf Hotel.

The Waldorf Hotel. Image courtesy of the Gen Why petition to save the arts/culture hub.

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On the program, we hear from a number of commentators on the possible loss of the Waldorf Hotel, an East Vancouver music hub, to condo development and the City’s response, as well as the impending eviction of the W2 Community Media Arts Society. We discuss more broadly the growing cultural deficit in the city and loss of arts and cultural venues and organizations. We also address the lack of all-ages venues and how this should be remedied.


  • Ryan McCormick has been involved in the Vancouver music community for over ten years. He is one of the founding members of the Safe Amplification Site Society and serves as the organization’s Secretary. Formerly of the bands They Shoot Horses Don’t They?, Greenbelt Collective and The Role Mach Electric Band, Ryan currently focuses his musical and artistic practice on Collapsing Opposites.
  • Tristan Markle is a founder and editor at The Mainlander and recently co-authored an article which situates the Waldorf Hotel within a broader context of condo development, speculation, and gentrification.
  • Ellen Woodsworth is a community activist, former COPE City Councillor, and a founding member of Women Transforming Cities.
  • Ned Jacobs is a community activist and development critic.

Check out the past podcast featuring the City of Vancouver’s Managing Director of Cultural Services, Richard Newirth, discussing the challenges facing the city, and especially the lack of affordable arts spaces.

Tenants speak: stop the eviction of Little Mountain tenants

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



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:

letters@globeandmail.com, sunletters@png.canwest.com, provletters@png.canwest.com, letters@straight.com, blink@vancourier.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: premier@gov.bc.ca

Minister Responsible for Housing, Rich Coleman: rich.coleman.mla@leg.bc.ca

Shayne Ramsay, CEO, BC Housing: sramsay@bchousing.org

Dale McMann, ED for Lower Mainland, BC Housingdmcmann@bchousing.org

Development team

Joo-Kim Tiah, President, Holborn Group: info@holborn.ca

James Cheng & Associates, Architectural Consultants: info@jamescheng.com

City of Vancouver

Mayor Gregor Robertson: gregor.robertson@vancouver.ca

Councillor George Affleck: clraffleck@vancouver.ca

Councillor  Elizabeth Ball: clrball@vancouver.ca

Councillor Adrienne Carr: clrcarr@vancouver.ca

Councillor  Heather Deal: clrdeal@vancouver.ca

Councillor Kerry Jang: clrjang@vancouver.ca

Councillor  Raymond Louie: clrlouie@vancouver.ca

Councillor  Geoff Meggs: clrmeggs@vancouver.ca

Councillor  Andrea Reimer: clrreimer@vancouver.ca

Councillor  Tim Stevenson: clrstevenson@vancouver.ca

Councillor Tony Tang: clrtang@vancouver.ca

CoV’s City Manager Penny Ballem: penny.ballem@vancouver.ca

CoV’s General Manager of Planning and Development: brian.jackson@vancouver.ca

CoV’s City Planning Staff: matt.shillito@vancouver.ca; patricia.st.michel@vancouver.ca; ben.johnson@vancouver.ca; graham.winterbottom@vancouver.ca

More information can be found on the Facebook page.

[Podcast] COPE Addresses Seniors’ Housing and the Musqueam Land Struggle

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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. Courtesy of Straight.com.

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. Courtesy of Coscobc.ca.

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.

[Podcast] 100 Days Later: Musqueam and the Struggle to Protect Land and Cultural History

Dispossession and displacement as active projects are very much about land as property. Property is both the point of these struggles and the medium. Struggles over the meanings and moralities of property have been central. Law, in this sense, must be conceived not simply as an instrument of colonial domination but as a means through which colonialism has itself been produced. In order to understand the historic dynamics of colonialism and its contemporary echoes, it helps if we attend to the geographies of land. The meanings and practices associated with land as property have proved critical, yet are inseparable from its spatialities. 

–Nick Blomley (Professor of Geography, SFU)

Subscribe to the podcast to have it automatically downloaded to iTunes or stream it below. Find past coverage of the issue here

In this edition of The City, we reflect upon the Musqueam’s ongoing struggle to protect their ancestral village site and burial grounds of c̓əsnaʔəm (pronounced cusnaum) from condo development. Friday, August 10th marked 100 days of the Musqueam keeping an around-the-clock vigil and occupation of at the site in the 1300-block of SW Marine Drive, which is under threat of development. Musqueam marked 100 days with a march from Granville and W 70th to c̓əsnaʔəm and a rally with other First Nations from around the province, as well as many non-Musqueam supporters and organizations.

The owners of the site are planning to have Century Group, the developer, build condominiums on the site despite over 4,000-year-old Musqueam ancestral remains have been discovered and c̓əsnaʔəm  has been recognized as a National Historic Site since the 1930s. The BC government has continued to okay the site for development based on their archaeological assessment, with the city then issuing the necessary development permit. By keeping an ongoing vigil, the Musqueam have prevented further development and desecration. Musqueam have proposed a land swap to ensure the future protection and recognition of c̓əsnaʔəm. The provincial government has been unwilling to move this proposal forward. The BC Liberal government has suggested that they will expedite payment of cash that is already owed to the band, so the band can then buy back the land from the owners/developer. The irony of buying back your own land is not lost on many. You can follow the struggle for c̓əsnaʔəm on Twitter and Facebook.

ON THE PODCAST | We hear from Musqueam’s Cecilia Point and elder Delbert Guerin, provincial NDP MLAs Jenny Kwan and Scott Fraser (Aboriginal Relations Critic), former COPE City Councillor Ellen Woodsworth, BC Nurses’ Union President Debra MacPherson and Lisa Walker. Additionally, The City speaks with Tristan Markle, co-founder and editor of The Mainlander, about  the city’s role and responsibility in the matter, specifically on why a development permit was issued. In the first part of the podcast, host Andy Longhurst reads excerpts from Nick Blomley’s (Professor of Geography, SFU) 2003 book Unsettling the City: Urban Land the Politics of Property.

The town also emerged as a vital economic and political node in a broader colonial network, directing flows of capital and command that opened up resource frontiers in the colonial interiors. All of this, of course, was pivotal to the process of colonial dispossession. But colonial towns also quickly emerged as speculative spaces. Layout was designed so as to facilitate the acquisition and transfer of urban land. Vancouver’s initial expansion, it has been argued, was largely a product of land speculation, rather than expansion in the production of goods and services. Boosterist publications marveled at the leapfrogging of prices, and the fact that areas of “wild land” could become “first-class property” in a matter of months. Vancouver “is a purely business town,” noted one observer, “a land of speculation…above all, in city lots.”

–Nick Blomley 

Vision Vancouver’s re:THINK: Obscuring the housing crisis through the spectacle of competition

Check out host and producer Andy Longhurst’s recent article published by The Mainlander.

Vision Vancouver and city planners have recently launched a series of highly branded “ideas competitions” with design-heavy titles like re:THINK and re:CONNECT. While the stated purpose of these competitions has been to generate creative new ideas for the city’s greatest planning challenges, the reality is that these events represent staged spectacles that obscure Vancouver’s housing crisis.

[Podcast] Problems and Possibilities of Interim Housing Affordability Report // Quebec Student Leaders Report from the Frontline

In this week’s podcast, I unpack Vancouver’s housing affordability interim report with Coalition of Progressive Electors‘ (COPE) former city councillor Ellen Woodsworth. On Monday, June 25th, the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability released their interim report, making a number of recommendations. They made four major recommendations with somewhat specific strategies outlined in the report:

  • Increase supply and diversity of affordable housing
  • Enhance the City’s and the community’s capacity to deliver affordable rental and social housing
  • Protect existing social and affordable rental housing and explore opportunities to renew and expand the stock
  • Streamline and create more certainty and clarity in the regulatory process, and improve public engagement
Ellen Woodsworth responds to the report (the full interview is available from the audio player below):

COPE has been calling for an independent housing authority for years. […] I’m very concerned that what we’re going to get is not real affordability, and that the report is addressing people who’s incomes are over $21,000. […] We know that we’re losing hundreds of [rental] units to renovictions, buildings are being torn down, and we’re not seeing the replacement units being real affordable units.

In the second part of the podcast, we hear from President and Vice-President of La Fédération étudiante universitaire du Québec, Martine Desjardins and Yanick Grégoire, as they report back from the frontline of the largest student mobilization in Quebec’s history. They spoke at an event hosted by the BC Federation of Labour and the Canadian Federation of Students at the Vancouver Public Library on June 19.

Writer, community activist Sean Antrim chosen as new COPE executive director

Today the Coalition of Progressive Electors (COPE) announced that they had selected TheMainlander.com and Vancouver Renters’ Union co-founder Sean Antrim as the new executive director. He will fill the position after Alvin Singh held the position for two years and resigned earlier this year. Sean is known for being critical of the developer-supported Non-Partisan Association and Vision Vancouver.

See the press release below. You can find more coverage in The Tyee and the Georgia Straight online.

 For Immediate Release: June 18, 2012

COPE Welcomes New Executive Director

The COPE Executive is happy to announce the appointment of Sean Antrim as the party’s new Executive Director.  Sean is known to many through his activism with the Residents Association of Mount Pleasant (RAMP) and the Vancouver Renters’ Union, his energetic participation in COPE’s Council Caucus, and his journalism with themainlander.com.  He will be joining COPE from his current position at GVC Credit Union.

“After a very competitive hiring process, Sean impressed us with his positive energy and his ability to bring people together, along with the strong organizational skills needed to build COPE for the next election,” said COPE Internal Chair Sarena Talbot.

“The COPE Executive is looking forward to supporting Sean in this important role,” said COPE External Chair RJ Aquino. “We are confident that COPE members will find that Sean’s talent and enthusiasm will serve the party and the city well.”

The Big Download Hits Cities // Redevelopment of Historic Avalon Dairy Farm // Women Transforming Cities

The June 12th podcast is available here.

In the first part of the program, I discuss the ‘big download’ with Charley Beresford (Executive Director, Centre for Civic Governance at the Columbia Institute). Provincial and federal governments are increasingly shifting costs and responsibilities onto municipalities, which have extremely limited tools to generate revenue. The Tyee‘s Adam Pez reported on this topic in a recent article.

In the second half, I talk with south Vancouver community activist Ian Mass about the proposed redevelopment of the historic Avalon Dairy farm lands, and efforts underway to ensure an agricultural, educational, and heritage legacy on the site. We also hear from Ellen Woodworth (Founder, Women Transforming Cities; former COPE City Councillor) and Penny Gurstein (Professor and Director, UBC School of Community and Regional Planning) about the launch of Women Transforming Cities and the importance in creating the ideal city for women and girls.

Professor Penny Gurstein’s complete speech at the Women Transforming Cities launch on why cities need to address gender equity (especially in Vancouver) is provided below. .

Charlie Smith: Vision Vancouver’s efforts to deify Jim Green are a tad unsavoury

The cynical side of me wonders if Vision Vancouver politicians are caught up in a sort of Jim Green fever because it helps convince themselves that they’re more progressive than they really are.

Here’s an important and interesting take on Vision Vancouver’s very public recognition of the late Jim Green, former COPE Councillor and Vision Vancouver mayoral candidate. You can find the commentary by The Georgia Straight‘s Charlie Smith here.

February 21 Podcast: Planner Bill Rees on the climate, economy, and crisis | Proposed 19-storey Rize development in Mt. Pleasant

Thank you for tuning into the first show. The podcast is available HERE.

The first half of the show includes Planning Professor Bill Rees‘ keynote address from the 2012 UBC School of Community and Regional Planning (SCARP) Symposium. Prof. Rees is co-originator of the ecological footprint analysis, and he frames our urban and social condition within the necessary ecological context.

In the second half of the show, I speak with Stephen Bohus and Sandeep Johal of the Residents Association of Mount Pleasant (RAMP) and Sean Antrim of The Mainlander. We discuss the proposed 19-storey development in Mount Pleasant.