The pre-construction fencing has been up around the Little Mountain site the last couple of weeks, but demolition only officially started on Friday. At that point, it sounded like protests would be minor.
This notice below, though, went out on Saturday from protesters planning to camp out on site. The city and province have to be sweating at the thought that this could turn into a major protest scene. I’ll be waiting to see myself what develops here.
IMMEDIATE RELEASE 7 NOV 2009
Vancouver, BC ` Contact Lauren Gill
HOUSING ADVOCATES TENTING
AT LITTLE MOUNTAIN DEMOLITION SITE
At 8 o’clock tonight, housing advocates established an encampment on Main Street on the grounds of the Little Mountain Housing complex. The location is right beside BC Housing’s “Relocation/Demolition” office.
The campers are protesting the:
- Proposed sale of 15 acres of prime public land to Holborn, a private developer
- BC Housing pressure tactics that caused all but eight families to leave
- Continuing absence of a development plan or consultation schedule
- 10-year completion delay announced by Holborn CEO Joo Kim Tiah yesterday
- Needless displacement, dispersal, and destruction of a vibrant and supportive community
- Vague promise of “half the net profit” being used for social housing elsewhere
- Premature destruction of scores of affordable homes in the midst of a housing crisis
- The excess profit Holborn will make if City Council allows Tiah to build
4 to 5 times more high-end condos than social housing units.
The campers warn that other public housing complexes are being targeted by the government for similar treatment. Jeff Crawford said “tenants at Skeena Terrace and Orchard Park housing complexes are at risk if the provincial government decides to redevelop their housing by privatizing the land and giving a private developer control of the process.”
On Friday at Little Mountain, two bulldozers with jaws reaching to four storeys tore down and pulverized the first building in BC Housing’s Little Mountain Demolition Plan. The building, near 33rd and Ontario, contained six apartments.
Another camper, Sandra Dunn, observed that this approach represents a return to old discredited methods of “urban renewal” in the previous century. “It’s demolish first, get the money—and plan later.”
Camper Lauren Blair said campers are officially invited guests of some of the eight remaining families, and are therefore acting within their legal rights. She said she expects significant support from the public and that the encampment is likely to remain indefinitely.