The Dr. Peter Centre in the West End


The Dr. Peter Centre (DPC) is located on the corner of the Mole Hill Community Housing block. The block of renovated heritage houses consists of 178 units and is home to 300 tenants with mixed income levels. In the alley between the heritage homes is a community garden with 70 plots. On Comox St. on the Western edge of the block of Mole Hill is a Farmers Market every Saturday morning in the summer where residents from all over the West End shop for organic products. Further West on Comox St. is the YMCA Mole Hill Day Care. Across from Comox St. is Nelson Park with an elementary school, dogpark, playground for kids, community garden plots and just places to sit and relax.

Dr. Peter Centre

Situated in a densely populate residential neighbourhood, the Dr. Peter Centre is a community health service provides that is located in a vibrant community. Participants of the DPC arrive in the West End from all over the city of Vancouver. The Centre has two streams of care: One for inpatient residents and another for outpatients. The participants of the day health program come to the DPC for food, medical services and programs. As part of the medical health services that the Dr. Peter Centre provide there is a needle exchange and a safe consumption room attended by a nurse.

The participants of the programs at the Dr. Peter Centre represent some of the most vulnerable populations in Vancouver; people struggling with poverty, drug addiction, mental illness and living with HIV in some combination. These folks often experience a lot of chaos and uncertainty in their lives. Yet this chaos does not spill over into the community. This success is largely attributable to the Dr. Peter Centre, which is able to provide compassionate care to its participants while being well respected and integrated into the neighbourhood. Continue reading The Dr. Peter Centre in the West End →

The Right to the City: Impact on the Communities Coalition’s forum on civil liberties and the Olympics.

The question for Vancouver citizens running up to the Olympics and afterwards is whether or not the games have had a net benefit on the City. This was the debate that the plebiscite tested; we were asked to decide if the games were going to be in the best interest of the citizens of Vancouver? There are many claims to what the legacy of the games will be.

While much energy and money are being spent by VANOC, its sponsors and boosters to promote how wonderful the games will be, in the main stream media there is little critical discourse about the games. Most school kids know the names of Olympic Mascots, but where is the larger conversation about what the games promised and what has actually happened? As a friend of mine says: “We all want to be proud of the games when the world arrives in Vancouver, but we are not going to keep our mouths shut about what is going on in this city when they get here.”

On Monday September 28, 2009 the Impact on the Communities Coalition(IOCC) hosted a forum on civil liberties and the 2010 winter games at the SFU Harbour Centre. The forum consisted of a panel representing a broad range of what was being coined as “Olympic skeptics”. The panel was moderated by the Chair of IOCC, Am Johal.

Stefanie Ratjan, a board member of IOCC, was the first to present and spoke to David Harvey’s notion about the right to think of change in the city. David Harvey’s essay, “The right to the city” was basis of the title of the forum.
video clip of Stefanie Ratjan

I googled David Harvey and the essay is available online and the link is below. Here is quote from the essay:

“…it is a right to change ourselves by changing the city. It is, moreover, a common rather than an individual right since this transformation inevitably depends upon the exercise of a collective power to reshape the processes of urbanization. The freedom to make and remake our cities and ourselves is, I want to argue, one of the most precious yet most neglected of our human rights.”
The right to the City

David Eby, the executive director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCCLA), was also on the panel. Mr. Eby spoke about the credibility gap between what authorities responsible for the games are saying about how there will be no impact on civil liberties and the raft of new City of Vancouver Bylaws that were passed at Council last June as well as the contracts that the host city entered into with the International Olympic committee.
video clip of David Eby

The diversity of opinions on the panel ranged from speakers that were critiquing the discourse of the games to folks that were actively proposing that the games should be boycotted. Harsh Walia spoke to the contradictions of the games in regard to the vast amounts of money that are being spent on security to protect citizens from terror threats which in itself could be thought of as a form of terrorism of the state on its population. She spoke to the scope of the security of the games and the impacts on city as result.
video clip of Harsh Walia

David Dennis, President elect, United Native Nations, spoke about the effects of power on native people and the resulting loss of language and spirituality. Mr. Dennis also noted that Bud Mercer was the RCMP officer responsible for the Oylmpics Intergrated Security team and had been involve in the Gustafsen Lake police incident. Mr. Dennis also spoke of native youths perception of games and some of their concerns.
A href=””>video clip of David Dennis
Gustafsen Lake and Bud Mercer

Alissa Westergard-Thorpe, Olympic Resistance Network, recounted events of the OPEC conference in Vancouver in 1997 as a pattern of security actions, which are the results of corporate and state interests determining citizens civil liberties.
video of Alissa Westergard-Thorpe

Matt Hern, a writer, artist, community organizer, co-founder of Car Free Day in Vancouver and author of Watch Yourself: Why Safer Isn’t Always Better was on the panel as well. Check it out – Matt has an entry in Wikipedia. Wikipediainterview of Matt by Am Johal
Matt spoke about some of the underlying logic of our notions of safety and security.
video clip of Matt Hern

Finally Jeff Derksen, an critical theory professor at SFU, poet and co-collaborator of the Flying University and author of Transnational Muscle Cars Jeff’s bookrounded out the evening by expanding on some David Harvey’s themes. Jeff spoke to the notion of how space in a city is a process. Public space is made by the activities that make it and conversely the use of security is a way of making space private.
video clip of Jeff Derksen
Flying University

The last words goes to Am Johal from his introduction to the event. Am made the point that there is a huge issue of balance in regard to how much media the positive messages around the Olympics have had. Olympic skeptics have been have been positioned by VANOC and its boosters as being too negative and one-sided in their discourse around the games. Am makes that point that in comparison to the resources that are being put into security and communications for the games,the capacity of the groups participating in the forum on the panel was quite limited. Given the uneven communication capacity it is important that citizens of Vancouver have a range of critical perspectives on the games, which activists on the panel represent.
video clip of Am

The right to the city- intro by Am Johal

The right to the city, David Dennis, part 4

David Dennis-President elect, United Native Nations, spoke about the affects of power on native people and the resulting loss of language and spirituality.

David Eby on credibility gap of civil liberties

David Eby, the executive director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCCLA). Mr. Eby spoke about the credibility gap between what authorities responsible for the games are saying about how there will be no impact on civil liberties and the raft of new City of Vancouver By-laws that were passed at Council last June and also that the contracts that the host city enter into with the International Olympic Committee.

Forum on civil liberties and 2010 Olympics tonight

IOCC- R2C panel-poster_webready

Who leaked the “privileged” legal opinions of the jurisdiction of City Manager over General Manager of the Park?

I was at Council Chambers to view democracy in action on Tuesday evening. By chance Councilor Anton had a motion about a perceived notion about the erosion of the independence of the Park Board. Rather than moving her motion she put it on notice for the next Council Meeting.

The City Manager, Dr. Penny Ballem, preparing for Anton’s motion ask the city legal department to prepare a legal opinion of the jurisdiction of the City Manager in regards to the General Manager of the Parks. She distributed the opinion to Councilors for their edification. It was not read into the record for the City clerk.

After the meeting I asked Councilor Meggs if he could make a copy of the document for me and he said: “ no, the information was privileged”

I asked Councilor Woodsworth if I could have a copy of the legal document and she thought it should be okay as it was an opinion about the Vancouver Charter and was public knowledge paid for by taxpayer’s dollars to prepare. However always being prudent she requested that I ask permission of the City Manager.

I asked the City Manager for a copy of the legal opinion and she told me it was privileged between city legal department, staff and Councilors.

Now on Thursday September 24 Francis Bula has a scanned copy of the document on her website.State of VanvouverWho gave the document to Ms. Bula? There are ten Councilors and who was most interested in the erosion of the independence of the Park Board? Which party would have the most to gain by leaking the document?

A bit of dog’s breakfast, humble pie and parliamentary behavour.

Cov Councillor Suzanne Anton

Cov Councillor Suzanne Anton

On Friday September 18, I wrote about Councillor Anton’s motion with regard to HST and landlords. Among the questions I asked was who is going to second the motion? As Councillor Anton is the sole Non Partisan Association Party councillor left she would need to work out a deal to have an councillor from Vision or Cope to second the motion to start the debate.

I was able to make it up the Council Chambers, after dropping of kids at in-laws and Arts Umbrella for dance and madly riding the tandem up Cambie Street without my stoker, to see what would happen with Anton’s motion. Luckily the motion was last on the agenda and it turned out to be an early evening of procedures from the Roberts Rules playbook. When most people go to City Hall they hate this stuff, it seems so petty and argumentative, but really is quite interesting to see how this parliamentary process plays out. Important too, as this is how we make decision in our democracy. Continue reading A bit of dog’s breakfast, humble pie and parliamentary behavour. →

Monday’s Park Board Meeting-same old, same old thing

Susan Mundick talking with Commissioner Mackinnon

Susan Mundick talking with Commissioner Mackinnon

While there were predictions that the Park Board meeting tonight could have some intrigue and excitement because of the recent announcement of General Manger’s pending retirement, in fact, the meeting was quite routine.

One minor deviation and the little bit of excitement to the meeting was a closely scripted statement from the Chair on the Board. Commissioner Raj Hundal, praised the General Manager for her many accomplishments at the Park Board. The Chair stated that the search for the GM’s replacement would be an open search based on the principles of best practices of management policies. Mr. Hundal also clarified the decision of who would be the next GM would be a Park Board decision in consultation with the City as the GM is part of the City’s senior management team. Rumors that the City was trying to undermine the Park Board’s independence seem to be false and just political spin of desperate politicians trying out an issue to profile on.

Of interest Ian Roberson of the NPA was absent from the meeting.

There were a lot of folks out at the meeting to support the Bicycle skills area in the Vanier Park motion. It was nice to see the room packed, but it was also great to have some air to breath when the Board approved the BMX park and many folks left the room.

The Board also approved the “ Walking Figures” move to English Bay.

Another positive element of the meeting was Eleanor Hadley was there, but was not signed up as speaker. She came and listened in the front row for ten minutes and made some kind of fuss about the washroom. Staff came to her assistant and the crisis was averted.

The meeting was over in an hour in half. Pretty good timing for the Park Board and the Chair kept the meeting well timed.

Vancouver Park Board meeting tonight could be a bore

Monday, September 21 Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation, 7 pm, Park Board Office, 2099 Beach ave.

While the agenda on Monday’s Park Board Meeting may not be the most exciting ever posted, think of the debates of whales in captivity and the expansion of the Aquarium, there will be something of a buzz at the meeting given the bombshell last week when the General Manger of the Board, Susan Mundick offered her letter of retirement which was accepted.
link to agenda for the meeting

On Monday, September 14 at a special staff briefing of Park Board Commissioners, the General Manger unexpectedly announced that she was retiring. The general wisdom on her position as the “Great Helmsman” of the Board was that she would stay on until after the Olympics and then retire. After Vision’s sweep to a majority on all boards in the last election there was much speculation after Judy Rogers, the City Manger was replaced with Dr. Penny Ballem, about whether the Vision Park Commissioner would replace their General Manager? But it never happened. Somehow the case was never made on why the general manager should be replaced and it seems some sort of accord was work out between the board and her.

Why is the General Manager resigning now? Raj Hundal the Chair of the Board issued a statement on Tuesday September 15 praising Susan for her past hard work and accomplishments.The Chair’s Statement. In the statement Susan says: “I feel that leaving now is the right decision and the right time.”
The Chair’s statement goes on to say that Susan will stay on for the transition to a new manager. Not much clarity on why she is retiring now was offered.

Then on Friday September 18 there were media reports from a leaked email that the City manager “….describes Mundick’s traditional transition plans as “inappropriate” and demands that Mundick step back.”24 Hour story

Also on Friday there was a meeting between the City Manager, the General Manager of the Park Board, the Chair of Board and Commissioner Jasper. What happened at this meeting? Was another “transition plan” developed? Continue reading Vancouver Park Board meeting tonight could be a bore →