The sky is falling on the 100-block of E. Hastings

August 21, 2011 - One Response

Watch your head on the 100-block… the sky really is falling
Weekly disaster report from the Pantages demolition

August 21, 2011

Over the last couple weeks the contractor at the Pantages demolition has removed the tunnel over the sidewalk, ditched the flaggers who shepherded pedestrians along the sidewalk when there was a risk of falling rock and other debris, and put up a scaffolding wrapped in blue netting. This was one piece of what DTES residents, groups, and allies have been asking for in the form of basic health and safety protections for 100-block residents against the reckless, irresponsible and disrespectful demolition job being carried out by the contractor under property owner Marc Williams and developer Sequel 138. Basic safety, which we feel would have been standard in any other residential (or shopping) neighbourhood in the city, would include netting over the front of the building to prevent loose rock fall, and also a plywood tunnel to protect pedestrians. It would mean that loose rubble in the demolition site would be sprayed with water regularly to stop dust, dry rat droppings, asbestos, lead paint, and mold spores from blowing up into the open windows of homes overlooking the site. And it would mean that rubble would not be left standing for four months as both a fire and a down-wind contaminant hazard.(*see note at bottom)

For four months we have been calling and writing the city and worksafe BC and saying, “Someone is going to get hurt. People are going to get sick. Someone is going to get hurt.”

The "yawning, fuel filled interior" of the Pantages demolition site (Thx Rider Cooey for the pic and the caption)

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City enforcement of basic health and safety regulations at Pantages is the result of persistent community organizing

June 29, 2011 - Leave a Response

NOTE: I’ve kept this empty blog for quite awhile and have been meaning to start posting with article and thought-pieces processing my political thinking. I’ve decided now to just jump in with an entry on my organizing work in the Downtown Eastside. This reflective work is useful for me and it might be for others too.

June 28, 2011

Today Downtown Eastside (DTES) residents scored a minor but significant victory at the Pantages demolition site on the 100-block of East Hastings: City building inspectors came down and shut down the worksite until the contractor can assure basic health and safety conditions for neighbours of the demolition site and passers-by. Like other community victories for the upholding of rights that are standard and expected in other areas of Vancouver, the Pantages demolition story is a saga of Downtown Eastside community persistence.

When the owner of the Pantages theatre was awarded a demolition permit in April he had already hired local crews of workers to illegally strip and rip at the abandoned buildings adjacent to the Pantages on the 100 block on East Hastings. His fly-by-night demolition project was held up by community advocates with the Carnegie Community Action Project who called the city daily and reminded them that the demolition was not permitted, and that it should not be happening. Their phone calls held up the illegal demo work for a day or two and then it started up again. And the advocates at CCAP called the city again.

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