The City's website has been promoting real estate sales in SEFC on their home page
One week after their forum on housing and homelessness, several COPE-connected activists are staging a rally outside the City's big Southeast False Creek unveiling party on Saturday. Am Johal, Rider Cooey and Tami Starlight will be conducting a press conference just outside the Olympic Athletes Village property, at 85 West 1st AVE (at the Olympic Village Plaza, North of Salt Building) just before 11am Saturday.
It's probably no coincidence that the activists' presser is happening just as Gregor Robertson and John Furlong begin making their speeches inside at the public open house of the Athlete's Village. The City of Vancouver has taken the unusual step of using the City's website to plug the real estate sales for Bob Rennie, whose company is tasked with getting back the City's investment in the property with interest.
A rally to address Vision's "false promise" on protecting low-income housing in Southeast False Creek will be staged just outside the property, with protesters marshalling outside Science World at 2:30pm Saturday. The organizer's release states:
Mayor Gregor Robertson’s recently commissioned homeless count shows a 12% increase in homelessness since 2008, the year of his election to office. Although Robertson and the Vision caucus promised to end homelessness, they have responded to this increase with the unaccompanied strategy of millions of dollars for increased policing. Now, as of April 2010, the social housing component of the Olympic Village is being handed over to the police and other Vancouver “public safety” workers. The original promise of 33% low-income units has dwindled to a token amount, if not 0%.
They also point out that –
Gregor Robertson was elected in the Fall of 2008 with a mandate to “end homelessness” but has instead continued the NPAs strategy of criminalizing the poor and abandoning housing commitments. To meet the staffing demands of Project Civil City and the ticketing quota and warrants system, Gregor has hired 100 extra cops, giving an extra $13 million to the VPD in 2009 alone. Now, in order to house these new cops, Gregor has, as of April 20, 2010, announced the elimination of the vast majority of promised dedicated low-income social housing in the Olympic Village.
The group has a website set up with their release, their endorsers and a list of demands:
1) Implement original commitment of 2/3rds affordable housing in the Olympic Village, half of which is low-income.
2) Apologize publicly for replacing the low-income units with police housing.
3) Stop criminalizing the poor: scrap Project Civil City.
4) Stop facilitating luxury condo construction, real estate speculation, and gentrification.
To item #3 Vision might say, "Whoa, hey, we did that already!" As for the "police housing" and other requests, we're not so sure that Vision is willing to budge on those items.
As for their political action, the group have created this interesting little pamphlet featuring a not-so-debonair looking photo of Mayor Gregor Robertson. As well they've mapped out the "failed promise" on social housing in this pretty effective graphic featuring single-family homes.
So it seems that the blush might be off the rose when it comes to COPE accommodating Vision, at least for the rank and file at this moment. Whether this is a sign of COPE beginning to stake its political ground again, or just a few agitators going offside with party officials won't be seen for months to come. For now the group is urging those who are listening to heed their words:
As the politicians stop consulting with the people affected by their decisions, and as they increasingly break promises behind closed doors, it is important to be pro-active and get the message out through public demonstrations.