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B.C. architect building toward a solution for everyone

From Monday's Globe and Mail

Gregory Henriquez's latest development will see wealthy condo dwellers living cheek by jowl with the poor ...Read the full article

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  1. guy tozer from Saskatoon, Canada writes: The NIMBYs won't put up with that !!
  2. evelyn robinson from Canada writes: Why would wealthy buyers want to live in close proximity to sibsidized housing and their social problems.
  3. Bert Russell Paradox, BC from Canada writes:
    evelyn robinson: Jack Layton lived in subsidized housing for years ... Sven has lived in both worlds ... although he didn't do the time.
  4. Michael Powers from Canada writes: After having read this weekends story about the Vancouver's lower east side and the problems that they are having, I'd give his developement a big - NO THANKS and I'm not wealthy.

    Having 2 daughters, I have a responsibility to ensure that they are raised in a safe secure location, away from drug dealers, and others that could put them in danger. I'm not dumb enough to think that they won't be exposed to these problems but I'd like to minimize that exposure.

    Life is difficult enough, most of us don't need to look for problems in a social experiment. We'll leave that to activists that want to save the world.
  5. Vern McPherson from Canada writes:
    Bert Russell Paradox, BC from Canada writes:
    evelyn robinson: Jack Layton lived in subsidized housing for years ... Sven has lived in both worlds ... although he didn't do the time.
    Posted 16/02/09 at 1:58 AM EST | Alert an Editor | Link to Comment


    SHUT UP bert...........
  6. Whatever You Think I Am I Am from Canada writes: evelyn robinson from Canada writes: Why would wealthy buyers want to live in close proximity to sibsidized housing and their social problems.

    Wealthy doesn't make you rich - perhaps the homeless would have a problem living next to people that could care less if they live or die. As it is their is a housing shortage and his building will not sit empty.
    So be a naysayer the plan is going ahead with or without you.
  7. Paul Howe from Canada writes: The issue is not mixing poor and wealthy, it is whether the wealthy (and almost everyone else) will want to walk by people shooting up. I don't think so.
  8. Whatever You Think I Am I Am from Canada writes: Oops used the wrong there - I know how important spelling is to control freaks.
  9. Edward Eh from Bathurst, Canada writes: Good idea, beats warehousing the disenfranchised; but the dangerous amongst them, like the violent criminal in this weekend's article, need to be institutionalised. Remove 'harm's way' from the public.
  10. an individual from Canada writes: This situation is far more complex than mixed use buildings, but in that complexity lie some of the answers. This building and any others like it will fill up. Affordable housing is in too much demand for it not to go to use. As for the market condos, they too, will sell. Woodwards is right on the edge of the already desirable and gentrifying Gastown. Does this mean that mixing incomes will create a new community? Probably not as much as the idealists would like. However, the message that a good building should be brought back to life, the improvement to the built environment and the fact that the disenfranchised in the community get to participate, is a very powerful tool towards improving morale and hopefully pride in the community. Vancouver has been cursed with warm enough weather that those who could not survive elsewhere in Canada have been attracted to it. This has created a serious civic burden. On the other hand, Vancouver has been blessed with a very progressive society and smart determined people who are trying hard to improve the lives of everyone in their city, no matter where they came from. If all of Canada could learn from this example, maybe more Canadians would find support and housing in their own communities rather than being drawn to places like the Downtown East Side where they become anonymous victims. The costs of helping people in their own communities are much lower than trying to fix a migrant slum. Just look at the costs cited in this series of articles. How many communities in Canada have vacant or underutilised buildings that could be converted to housing? How many communities have colleges turning out health care and social workers willing to help people in their own communities but do not have means of support for doing this? What resources are going to waste because we lack the vision to use them?
  11. lary waldman from Qualicum Beach, Canada writes: Gordon Campbell, armed with a strong financial commitment from all level's of government must appoint a Poverty Czar. Most problems in our society today have their roots in poverty. The solution will be found by starting with the most needy, and working your way up.

    Lary Waldman
  12. J.C. Davies from Canada writes:
    What a great idea now the muggers and burglars won't even have to leave home in order to find victims. How convenient!
  13. P L from Surrey, Canada writes: Affordable housing, great. About time. But what about the conditions surrounding the area? The problems that still linger and is pervasive around the eastside? What will be done to integrate new city dwellers with existing people in the area? I believe finding and developing solutions and alternatives first to mitigate or uproot the problems and then build the surrounding area accordingly to suit the needs of newcomers who are looking to live in the area....
  14. Trish Taylor from Canada writes: Henriquez may have found it 'exciting' to mingle with the grittier elements during the day but he still got to go home to the safety of his neighbourhood at night. I wouldn't move myself or my family into a building that also housed the mentally ill and drug addicted without knowing they were getting appropriate treatment...and I wouldn't know that, so I wouldn't move in. That would be bloody irresponsible on my part. All of this requires a multi-pronged deal with the mental health issues separately from the drug addiction issues separately from the communicable disease issues and the housing issues, the dealer and pimp takes an overall strategy with some tough decision-making and bold sub-strategies that might get some liberals up in arms that actually ADDRESS the issues and go beyond measures that maintain the status quo. I don't see how mixing social stratas together in one building is going to address ANY of these issues. I'm open to an explanation but initially...I really don't see this as a solution on any level other than for those who have already beat their demons. Even at that, what would be the allure for those who can afford to live in safer conditions?
  15. Marley B from Vancouver, Canada writes: This was already done several years ago albeit not mixed use. The Van Horne lofts were built right at 'ground zero' in the DTES. They put a 30 foot high fence around it and the people who live there shuttle in and out in cars. Why doesn't someone interview them and the folks on the street around it and get 5 years sample data?
  16. p.j. floyd from Jaffray B.C., Canada writes: Michael Powers, unless you are home schooling your daughters and never letting them out on their own, they are within easy reach of drug dealers and recruters wherever they are. There are these predators everywhere, including on the schoolgrounds and in the school bus.
    The real solution would include genuine mental health services (a lot of psychiatric patients medicate themselves with street drugs); genuine affordable housing as opposed to warehousing; affordable child care 24/7 along with a realistic minimum wage; and: legalizing, regulating, controlling the sale of and taxing pot, cocaine and meth;
    and legalizing, regulating and taxing brothels.
    Anything else, including the Woodwards complex, is just another band-aid-and-aspirin. All our BC government wants right now is to get the inhabitants of DES out of sight for the 2010 olympic circus.
  17. bagoverhead guy from South Delta, Canada writes: I moved to Vancouver from Denver in 1980 and was appalled at the Downtown Eastside...29 years later, it is much worse...more violent, and a larger disenfranchised population. I'm part of a volunteer group who provide food and some clothing every Saturday at Hastings/Main, and while the Woodward's Complex is very welcome, it is only one of many building blocks that must be put into place to transform this entire area. We are critically short of facilities for detox and to help the mentally ill to deal with their issues. Above all, there has been a lack of will from all levels of government of all stripes to commit long-term to transforming this inner-city ghetto into a place for all to live and work. Recently, with a provincial election looming in several months, and the 2010 Games coming to Vancouver, there has been movement on the part of city/provincial/federal governments to address homelessness....where have they been for 29 years??? I applaud Mr. Henriquez's vision for the Woodwards site, but like others, will wait with interest to see if the 'two solitudes' can really co-exist. Between now and the 2010 Games, you can rest assured the city and province will do everything to 'house' (put 'them' out of site) these unfortunate souls, so not as to tarnish the pristine image of Vancouver around the world.
  18. Club Malibu from Canada writes: It is sad to see the comments some of you are making. Do you realize that these are human beings? Canadians spend more money per capita helping third world countries, but ask them to spend some time and energy helping our own... and look what happens. You should all be ashamed. ***The mixed housing concept... the've been doing it in Amsterdam for YEARS. Their crime rate and addicition levels plumeted and it has been proven successful. The first development like it is now considered one of the most desireable in the city.***I don't suppose that anyone ever thought that maybe the majority of the people in the east side just wanted to be treated like human beings and not animals. You think people wake up one morning and say 'Hey, I want to be homeless! WOW wouldn't that be exciting!' You are all so worried about your fancy cars, your nice clothing, your $5 cups of coffee. *** Last year I made over a $100k - I live in the east side in a place I paid $750k for - you know what? My neighbourhood has the lowest crime rate in Vancouver. We don't have gang-land killings, home invasions, etc like they do in Surrey, West Van, Kits, etc. - Maybe you need to reconsider how safe you are living in suburbia. You have a 100X greater chance of getting killed by a stray bullet, your car stolen, home invaded, etc than I do in my east side neighbourhood (Main - 2 blocks from hastings). ***I locked my keys in my car, running, 2 blocks from home last week. One 'street person', Jason, offered to watch my car while I ran home and got my key... I got back and saw Jason telling people, yes in a crazy sort of way, to stay away from his friends BMW. Jason lives in social housing a block from me. Now I hear Jason telling people, 'My Friend lives right there' - and when I cook a meal... if I see him around I make extra and give him a 'to go package'. If I lived in Surrey, or west Van - my car would have been GONE. So really - who has it worse??
  19. Club Malibu from Canada writes: Here are some links that prove it works:
  20. albert rose from Canada writes: 'Affordable housing' What a strange concept.

    Ours is a culture of entitlement.

    I don't live in downtown Vancouver because I can't afford to. Call me eccentric and old fashioned, but I think I should pay for my own housing rather than demanding the state set me up with a pad in some of the priciest real estate on the planet.
  21. Shane Gleeson from Vancouver, Canada writes: club malibu, surrey and west van are big places so it would be nice if you eased up, park and rides are always going to have high car theft problems.

    That aside I think this is a great step forward for the community, the alternative is to do nothing or put some money on a stick say you helped but never get close enough to see if it made real solutions. Maybe some people fear that if they live in these new developments they'll be exposed to some seedy underbelly.

    These programs help get people out of the poverty cycle these social housing developments are made with the idea that the people going through them will start to live in a normal routine and keep a steady job. People need to slowly get out of this cycle or they just fall back in.

    One thing is for sure putting everyone that's in this cycle in to a small grouping and turning your back on it will only make things worse
  22. Club Malibu from Canada writes: Alberta Rose: The concept of affordable housing is so that you can afford to live downtown when you normally could not.

    Hence the term 'affordable'.

    I don't see how there is anything wrong with building housing for those that can not normally afford to house themselves considering how much wealth we have in this country and in particular this city.

    I have not always made the income that I make today, but after 19 years of hard work, diligence and not settling for less I am where I am today.
  23. GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: Club Malibu.... writes: '... so that you can afford to live downtown when you normally could not.'

    It's really unaffordable housing that someone else is helping you pay for.

    That 'someone' being the already heavily burdened taxpayer.
  24. Club Malibu from Canada writes: Shane Gleeson from Vancouver:

    YES, West Van, Surrey and the burbs are large places.

    That does not mitigate the fact that the burbs have signifigantly higher home invasion rate, gang occurance rate, car theft, assault, kidnapping, child assult, and murder rates than downtown. There are positives and negatives to both areas of the lower mainland, but facts are facts.

    All I am saying is that before someone from the burbs says that they would never expose themselves or their families to that, they need to stop and consider the facts.
  25. Club Malibu from Canada writes: GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: That 'someone' being the already heavily burdened taxpayer.

    So you don't have a problem when your taxes go to building you a nice road or bridge, building a new convention centre, fireworks on Canada Day (2 million dollar price tag!?!), etc. All of which are not necessary to life, but God forbid that money should be used to support our fellow human beings and provide them with a basic human right... the right to housing.
  26. albert rose from Canada writes: Club Malibu, you wrote:

    I don't see how there is anything wrong with building housing for those that can not normally afford to house themselves considering how much wealth we have in this country and in particular this city'

    I have no problem with lending a helping a hand. But how about building 'affordable ' housing on less expensive real estate. BC has vast tracts of unoccupied and cheap land. Again I ask, why do we tolerate that these bums get to demand johnny taxpaper buy them housing in a place which happens to be obscenely expensive, when the legions of johnny taxpayers have to live within their means in the remote Fraser Valley or wherever?
  27. albert rose from Canada writes: Oh Club Malibu, you just keep them coming. 'Human Rights' is another interesting concept. The brutal truth is that there are no rights, just shades of privilege which are as ephemeral as snow in Spring.
  28. Club Malibu from Canada writes: albert rose from Canada: So you would be totally OK if they built housing for the poor right next door to you where ever it is that you live?

    The last time there was a proposal to build social housing in the burbs it was thrown out because there was so much protesting - the people in the burbs did not want them in their neighbourhoods. (There were proposals for: Surrey, Coquitlam, Delta, Whiterock, North Van, West Van, and Langley - all were too heavily objected too by residents.)

    So if they can't be downtown because the land is expensive, and they can't be in the burbs because no-one wants them there... where are they supposed to go?

    Imagine how horrible it would be if no-one wanted you.

    I KNOW!!! Maybe we should ship them all to a remote island and let them fend for themselves... OH wait that was tried once too - Australia. That was where the British shipped all of their 'undesirables'.
  29. Club Malibu from Canada writes: albert rose from Canada writes: Oh Club Malibu, you just keep them coming. 'Human Rights' is another interesting concept. The brutal truth is that there are no rights, just shades of privilege which are as ephemeral as snow in Spring.

    Hmmm... so then by your statement you don't have any basic human rights either. So... you should not get subsidized healthcare, education, etc. I mean after all - the Canadian social programs were and still are all based on the tenants of the Charter of Human Rights.
  30. GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: Club Malibu... writes: 'GlynnMhor: So you don't have a problem when your taxes go to building you a nice road or bridge...'

    Building ME that nice road or bridge. One that I can use, and that helps me out with travel or whatever else.

    '... money should be used to support our fellow human beings and provide them with a basic human right... the right to housing.'

    Housing is hardly a 'basic human right', especially if it's MY housing (as a taxpayer) that's being given away to others. And if those 'fellow human beings' gave a damn for me or for any other taxpayers, they wouldn't drive themselves into poverty in the first place.

    We have a 'basic human right' to choose to become prosperous, or to choose to become less prosperous. Those who choose the latter have made their choices.
  31. GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: Club Malibu... writes:'... social programs... based on the tenants of the Charter of Human Rights.'

    Whatever this 'Charter of Human Rights' might be, it isn't a landlord.
  32. GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: Club Malibu... writes:'Imagine how horrible it would be if no-one wanted you.'

    The time to worry about this would be BEFORE turning yourself into an undesirable.
  33. Club Malibu from Canada writes: GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: Housing is hardly a 'basic human right', especially if it's MY housing (as a taxpayer) that's being given away to others. And if those 'fellow human beings' gave a damn for me or for any other taxpayers, they wouldn't drive themselves into poverty in the first place.

    Right, so those seniors that live off of only a Canada Pension and Old Age Pension after working and paying taxes for their entire lives... yeah they CHOSE to be poor - they drove themselves into poverty. The number of seniors in the east side is staggering - I bet they feel really proud that they spent their lives building this country just that that we would all turn our backs on them.

    You know, I paid $47,000 in income tax last year, my property taxes are $4,000.00 per year, I paid $45,000.00 GST on my Condo, $11,200.00 in property transfer tax, and paid about $5,000.00 in GST on my car. So in all total I paid $112,200.00 in taxes last year - not including the gas tax, GST or PST on retail purchases, etc. Sorry - but I would rather my share of the taxes go to someone who actually needs it and not a selfish capitalist with no human compassion.
  34. Alex MacLean from Toronto, Canada writes: You're right, Evelyn, all wealthy people are self-centred and absolutely lacking in anything resembling responsibiliity for the health of the society they live in. I'm all right Jack, and screw you. Do I have that about right? (PS - I'm from East Vancouver, so don't even try it).
  35. albert rose from Canada writes: No Club Malibu, I don't think the concept of 'human rights' is enduring or universal. I am grateful and astonished by how fantastic my life has been so far, especially compared with the lives of my immediate ancestors who endured two world wars in Europe. They had the rug yanked out from under them by larger powers who had no regard for anyone's 'rights'. I see it all as privilege. I put it down to being born in the right place at the right time, but am under no illusion that I have a right to anything.
  36. Alex MacLean from Toronto, Canada writes: Albert Rose: the 'state' does a lot for homebuyers, so it's not as if you all got there without a helping hand. No man/woman is an island. You didn't do anything buy yourself - we've all had help from someone at some time. The smugness here is absolutely smothering.
  37. GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: Club Malibu... writes: 'GlynnMhor: ...I would rather my share of the taxes go to someone who actually needs it and not a selfish capitalist with no human compassion.'

    Then you're free to go donate as much money as you want to anyone you want, and if the donation can be substantiated, you can even go get yourself a tax credit (though not nearly so generous a one as if you donated to a political party).

    Meanwhile, you shouldn't be trying to steal MY money to put to YOUR favourite uses.
  38. albert rose from Canada writes: Thanks for sharing your personal finances, Club Malibu.

    Know what? If what you wrote is true, then I make more money than you do and have a more expensive home. So my opinon trumps yours?

    You're too funny.
  39. albert rose from Canada writes: 'Alex MacLean from Toronto, Canada writes: Albert Rose: the 'state' does a lot for homebuyers, so it's not as if you all got there without a helping hand. No man/woman is an island. You didn't do anything buy yourself - we've all had help from someone at some time. The smugness here is absolutely smothering. '

    You may have read what I wrote, but you didn't understand.

    What I find 'smothering' here is illiteracy.
  40. Club Malibu from Canada writes: Alex MacLean from Toronto, Canada

  41. bob london from Canada writes: Ideological Daddy's boy.
  42. albert rose from Canada writes: Hey Alex, Club Malibu says you have a right to all kinds of stuff including education. I say: go for it, 'man/woman', and start with English.
  43. Club Malibu from Canada writes: albert rose from Canada writes: Know what? If what you wrote is true, then I make more money than you do and have a more expensive home. So my opinon trumps yours?

    Whats your point? You are the one that said you can't afford to live downtown... so if you make more money than me, it simply means that you need to learn how to better manage your money.

    You are just an elitist, arrogant self centred yuppy who can't see beyond the bridge of her own nose - one that is not most likely not the nose you were born with. You're most likely new money and take great pleasure in flaunting your wealth and rubbing peoples faces in it.

    You may make more money than me, but at least I am not an arrogant imperialist who's only contribution to society is an indifferent attitude. At least when it comes time for me to die I know that my friends and family respect me because of more than the money I leave them and my life meant more than just accumulating wealth. At least I know that I made a difference and will be remembered for it.
  44. Alex MacLean from Toronto, Canada writes: Albert, you wrote: 'Affordable housing' What a strange concept.
    Ours is a culture of entitlement.


    I'm mystified at your charge of illiteracy. Exactly what other meaning ought I - or anyone else here - be parsing from passages like the above? Is it encrypted and unavailable to the uninitiated? Pray, do share your superior intellectual gifts, break the code, and let the rest of us illiterates know how we ought to have interpreted the above passage. Because you seems to be stating quite emphatically that entitlement exists only at one end of the income scale. It doesn't.

    And illiteracy is a strong charge. How about holding up your end of the bargain and actually saying what you mean, and not expecting the rest of us lumpen proles to find meanings other than those which jump off the surface of what you wrote? What did I not understand?
  45. Club Malibu from Canada writes: One last thing and then I am done debating with the mindless wealthy...

    The concept can't be all that bad, the woodwards project was the fastest selling project in the history of Canada. The entire complex sold out in less than an hour and the waiting list to guy into it was over 15,000 strong. The penhouse sold for a ridiculous amount of money - a record amount.

    Obviously those people against this type of housing it are in the minority.
  46. Club Malibu from Canada writes: OOPS - had a typo in my zeal! Better fix it least the Stink weed from Alberta pounce!

    The entire complex sold out in less than an hour and the waiting list to BUY into it was over 15,000 strong.
  47. GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: Club Malibu... writes: 'albert rose: Whats your point?'

    One might well ask what yours was with your own vainglorious boasting about how wealthy you want to be perceived.

    BTW, have you decided yet why you thought this unknown Charter of Human Rights of your is supposed to be a landlord? With tenants no less?
  48. Ed Long from Canada writes: On Saturday, we walked from Seymour down through the DTES to the Irish Heather pub for lunch.

    I commented that the Woodward's project was distinctive, had great historical design references, and projects like this could make a difference in the area.

    I have purposely driven in from White Rock twice in the last month to walk around the DTES and have something to eat and shop.

    There is traditional low income housing just east of China Town on Pender that looks like the 'projects'. It stigmatizes the neighbourhood and I am sure the people that live there.

    Woodward's just might work.
  49. Club Malibu from Canada writes: GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: One might well ask what yours was with your own vainglorious boasting about how wealthy you want to be perceived.

    It's called proving a point. You are all whining about your tax dollars being spent on social housing. The concept is actually a rather old one... it is called putting your money where your mouth is.

    BTW, have you decided yet why you thought this unknown Charter of Human Rights of your is supposed to be a landlord? With tenants no less?

    UNKNOWN CHARTER? Being a Landlord? - I actually feel sorry for you if you do not know about or understand the Charter. As for the typo I meant 'Tenents' - most educated people would have figured that out. Sorry - did not realize that you were not.
  50. Alex MacLean from Toronto, Canada writes: Good call, Club Malibu. Someone here's self-esteem seems shaky today, and predicated on making everyone else feel inferior. We know the type. Elevating themselves by putting others down, and nit-picking over the odd misplaced keystore or two. Unfortunately, they're not all that rare.

    So, yes, Albert Rose, you win - no typos! Flawless English! Great income! You're 'da' man/woman of the Globe's comment section for Monday, February 16th. Happy now?
  51. GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: Club Malibu... writes: 'GlynnMhor: You are all whining about your tax dollars being spent on social housing. The concept is actually a rather old one... it is called putting your money where your mouth is.'

    Fine, you do that with your own money and stop pushing for everyone else's tax money to be squandered.


    Yeah. There's no such thing as a Charter of Human Rights that I know of. There's a UN declaration of that name, but not a charter. If you meant the Canadian Charter of Rights, that's different again, but most of our social programs predate that one and so couldn't have been based on it anyway.

    'As for the typo I meant 'Tenents'...'

    No, the word you sought was almost certainly 'tenets'.
  52. M B from Calgary, Canada writes: The architect is well meaning but somewhat naive when he says affordable housing is first step to eliminating homelessness. Bottom line: 'You Gotta Wanna Win'. The truly deserving homeless people, those who want to hand up, especially families, are readily able to obtain assistance from Churches and non-profits. Most of the rest need mental health assistance, let alone drug rehab. Meanwhile, lets start cracking the whip and let these people know that help is available, and get them into help, but also tell those with lay-about drug lifestyles that their behavior is permanently no longer acceptable.
  53. GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: M B... writes:'... tell those with lay-about drug lifestyles that their behavior is permanently no longer acceptable.'

    And make proof of functioning long-term passive birth control a condition for applying for welfare money.

    That will cut down on the number of doomed kids with FAS or being raised by people that either have no parenting skills or who are just too zoned out to care one way or another.
  54. Alex MacLean from Toronto, Canada writes: Glynn-whatever says: And make proof of functioning long-term passive birth control a condition for applying for welfare money.

    And deploy and army of gynaecologists and their ilk to run around the street lifting up skirts and parting junkies from their BVDs? Or how? Yeh, that sounds reasonable. You're moving closer to a final solution all the time.
  55. Club Malibu from Canada writes: GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada: Would you please actually do some research BEFORE you comment:

    The Charter of rights and freedoms is by definition the Charter of Human Rights - as it was originally called. There is also the Canadian Human Rights act, The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities which was adopted by the crown prior to our status as a nation (when we were still a dominion of the british empire). When we were defined as a nation under the commonwealth we amended the Charter and changed it's name.

    Tenents and Tenets - Look it up - they MEAN THE SAME THING. The definition of Tenents? OH wow, it refers to Tenets - hmmm...
  56. albert rose from Canada writes: 'and army of gynaecologists and their ilk '

    Oooh, I love that.

    You're right, we can't have gynaecologist ilk pestering the bums with speculums and whatnot.
  57. Ed Long from Canada writes: Club Malibu ... Uhhh, not exactly.

    The first Bill of Rights in Canada was in Saskatchewan, authored by Morris Schumiatcher, Tommy Douglas' personal assistant and the Commonweath's youngest King's Counsel.

    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, passed by the UN in 1948, was one year later.

    The Canadian Bill of Rights was based upon the Sask. model and passed by PM John Diefenbaker's government in 1960. It was a federal stature as opposed to a constitutional document and therefore was limited in scope and easily amended and had no application to provincial laws.

    Canadian Confederation celebrations in 1967 aroused interest in constitutional reforms. Pierre Trudeau, a federal cabinet minister, appointed law professor Barry Strayer to research a potential bill of rights. Trudeau became PM in 1968, and discussions with the provinces continued including the Victoria Charter of 1971, never implemented.

    Trudeau kept pushing for patriation of the Constitution, from Great Britain, and promised constitutional change during the Quebec Referedum, 1980.

    In 1982, he succeeded in passing the Canada Act 1982, which included the Constitution Act, 1982, which contains the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or The Charter. The debate of this inclusion was intense because Trudeau wanted judges as enforcers, the PCs feared bias, and the British cited their right to uphold Canada's old form of government.

    It was finally decided the responsibility should go to the courts including exclusion of evidence in breach of Charter rights. The provinces pushed for the notwithstanding clause and Quebec never did support the Charter therefore Meech Lake and Charlottetown.
  58. GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: Alex MacLean... writes: 'Glynn: ...deploy and army of gynaecologists and their ilk...'

    Those who want to apply for welfare can find out for themselves how to obtain both the conbtraceptive and the proof of its use.

    If they want to keep farrowing, then they don't need to apply for welfare; after all nobody forces anyone to do so.
  59. D Peters from Alberta, Canada writes: How come you never see homeless people in small towns? I live rural but frequent the local town on a daily basis. I have yet to see anyone living in a dumpster or cardboard box. Some people don't live in Shangrila either mind you, but they get by. Collecting bottles, dumpster diving, trading menial labour, generally making a contibution.

    Sure we have a few crackheads. I have even employed a few and simply sent them to rehab. So far so good, none have went back to thier old ways. In general I would say the crackheads here are living pretty good, 500K homes, jacked up 4x4's etc, they have good jobs.

    There is your fair share of mentally unstable folks, and we know who they are but no one is starving or living on the street over top a subway vent to stay warm.

    So maybe this guy is onto something here, by making our city areas more of a microcosim rather than a vast urban sprawl. There is no place to hide or disappear to in a smaller type community. Everybody knows. The pure embarassment of always having your hand out keeps many on the narrower path.
  60. Let me tell You How It Is from United States writes: I am sure Gregory Henriquez lives in a nice wealthy neigbourhood likely Kerrisdale or West Vancouver and doesn't have paranoid schizophrenic neighbours vomiting on the sidewalks, urinating on your door, screaming drunk at 3AM, keying your car, slashing your tires, smashing your planted pots or stealing your shrubs....what a hypocrit.
    By the way Downtown Eastside is Vancouver's slum and not Canada's. Canada has hundreds of slums nationwide including aboriginal reserves with high crime areas and violence. Face reality Canadians.
  61. Joe Lousa from Canada writes: Can't beleive some of the comments here, Greogory Henriquez is certainly not a hypocrite. Take a look at this record, he has designed countless community projects. He commits a large chuck of his personal time to many of this projects, and while he might not live in the immediate area he does choose to have his office there, as well as spend time walking the area. I don't beleive he's claiming this to be a solution to the problem but rather a piece of it.
    As for Woodwards I am one of the happy purchasers who looks forward to residing in the area in only a couple more months. I and my wife spend a fair amount of my time in the area and don't feel scared or bothered by the people.
  62. Frustrated Canadian from Canada writes: Incidentally, the Henriquez Partners Architects office is at 402 West Pender, so they he would be pretty familiar with the DTES.
  63. Scrappy Doo from Canada writes: Ever been to Detroit, Let me tell you?

    'nuff said....
  64. John Galt from Canada writes: Joe, I am happy for you that you have purchased a unit in the Woodwards building. After some time, you might start to feel some emotions about the surroundings. While Henriquez may be familiar with the area and contribute in a socially concious way, Woodwards is no 'SLUM FIX'. It is just going to be an odd duck in the pond. That pond is going to have even more social housing/services momentum in the near future NOT market housing like yours. So, the SLUM will continue to grow in capacity and service. Are you ready for that? This growth in social responsibility in the DTES is going to eclipse all the coolness about the Gastown area. In fact, the DTES and its SLUM affect is larger than the groovy Gastown bubble. You're outnumbered my freind. The optics of all the social responsibility initiative will be an increase in people seeking those services and housing in that area, thus growing, not fixing the slum. Additionally, you will see more people wandering about without anything to do unless you call deathwish-jaywalking a sport or something. Be careful driving in the DTES, traffic lights and crosswalks have no relevance to junkies. I don't have the answers to how one could FIX the SLUM, but I can tell you with some certainty that one condo building won't, and niether will building more social housing - that only grows the slum. And, there seems to be a lot of capital inputs in the social housing cause lately.
  65. Kevin Desmoulin from TO, Canada writes: They should have a DTES Olympics in tandem with the other one.
    I am sure there could be some very interesting events, I am with him when he says, the Olympics has nothing to do with DTES.
  66. John Galt from Canada writes:
    Joe, you should be scared. People are dying all around you.

    Or, are you one of those scensters that think it is cool to go 'slumming' like you have no problem sipping Pinot Noir while looking out the window onto Blood Alley watching people shoot drugs, smoke dope, defecate, and die. If that is so, I am scared for you and your soul.

    Maybe that's not you, but there are quite a few people who think that's cool and hip, and like totally now man. If you really live in a community you would not separate yourself from, or merely tolerate its problems, including the stench of urine.

    Sorry if this is sounding harsh, but people need to understand the area is no picnic. Trying to import a 'gentrification' is flawed because the majority of constituents won't really benefit from it. How would they? What are new residents like you going to do to make their lives better? Are their real estate values going to appreciate because of gentrified condos? No, because they don't own real estate. Tell me if you have a plan...
  67. Ed Long from Canada writes: Woodward's will not solve the problems but it is a right step.

    We also have to get realistic about Vancouver's accommodation of aberrant street bahaviour and drugs.

    I work with a special needs teen ager. He understands behavioral requirements of society and they do not include the drudge that occurs not only on the DTES but throughout downtown Vancouver ... and I have seen it in Victoria.

    The special interest groups claim poverty as a cause yet Canada is not even on the UN map of poverty. Over $1B has gone into this problem yet I only hear more agencies calling for more money.

    The DTES has been free for all area since my teens over forty years ago. It has only become worse.

    Woodwards' time may have come, or it could be far too soon as was International Village and thereby be a well-meaning failure.

    As far as theft and vandalism, I live in a supposedly affluent town on the ocean and vandalism and petty theft exists throughout the area. As does open drug dealing, with one group of dealers staking out an Auto-Teller regularly late at night in plain sight to the police waiting for drunks coming out of a local bar.

    DTES exists because of B.C. climate and culture, and there is no one answer. Woodwards is only one attempt at a right step. But it will only be effective if we have realistic and effective rehab. centres far away from the city and a provincial force to police the pimps and drug dealers and deviants who prey upon this open warehouse of lost souls.

    Henriquez is giving it a shot, as are the developers. Businesses keep trying and my simple act is to drive to the city and patronize them if only as encouragement.

    I can honestly say I have received more hassles from street people on Granville than on Hastings or Pender or Main.
  68. George Smiley from Canada writes: If the only tool you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail
  69. John Galt from Canada writes: Ed, What might not be apparent is the fact that the Woodwards project is a 'one-off'. You won't see it happen again in this area due to heritage designations and low density zoning. It was a compromise made by the City to accommodate the property owner. Furthermore, there is a history of well-organized resistance by the Downtown Eastside Residents Association (DERA) opposing any such developments. Therefore, my thesis is that the Woodwards building is NOT a step anywhere towards fixing the slum. The G&M proposition 'SLUM FIX' inferrs that developers will knock down blocks of decaying heritage buildings to make way for more of these Woodward's type projects. That simply won't happen a) in the current real estate market; b) due to the lack of zoning density; and, c) due to DERA opposition. Yaletown experienced a complete turnover of use from office/industrial to market housing and commercial because it didn't have a SLUM infrastructure and housing. You are not suggesting that projects like Woodwards would push out the SLUM infrastructure - that would be unsocial. NOPE, the SLUM is growing and the Government is legislating it to be so - because the people have spoken - they want to provide social services and housing for the homeless! The questions are: What is the objective function? What are trying to satisfy here? Are we just trying to give the homeless homes? That's easy. Are we trying to make Vancouver's blight look more appealing? That would mean giving the DTES residents something to do all day so their behavior wouldn't be visible. Are we trying to give people a healthy place to live a healthy life? Well, you will need to cure menthal illness, and reahabilitate the addicted, and eradicate the purveyors of the opiates. In fact, you could send an army to Afganistan to defoliate the poppy crop and cut off the head of the dragon. Oh wait, we are already there. Good luck
  70. John Galt from Canada writes:
    George, well said if you infer the condo project as hammer.
  71. Ed Long from Canada writes: John ... 'Yaletown didn't have a slum infrastructure'

    That is my point.

    Neither does south False Creek or Coal Harbour.

    DTES has had a slum infrastructure as long as I have lived. In the 60's everybody knew you could live on the street and get drugs in Vancouver.

    Not only am I suggesting Woodward's will step towards eliminating the infrastructure, I say the infrastructure is the problem.

    An accompanying article talks of $1.4B that has been poured into this area. The only result I see is a definable high density area of lost souls that are basically subsidized to continue their drugs, are prey to pimps and deviants and provide the justification for umpteen agencies and study groups. It is urban anthropology. We used to call it a 'zoo trip'.

    Dismantle it.

    Rehab. in B.C. is a joke. Private money, i.e. $30,000, provides a lucky few with three months in seclusion high intensity rehab. in QUEBEC. I am mentoring a young Vancouver Island resident who just returned. B.C. rehab. had him out on the street in a month, and he made his first score within a few days.

    The pig farm murders, I know Vancouverites say it was a Coquitlam problem, but we have no B.C. provincial police and files shuffled around for years.

    Why would the owner of a slum hotel seek rezoning and development when he/she provides nothing and collects government guaranteed cheques? BTW: the same situation exists in North-east Regina, urban chaos with profits to be made.

    Vancouver has accommodated the DTES for at least forty years and it is in the best interest of a lot of groups to keep it going, except for the destroyed people who live there.

    If Woodwards is a step to dismantling that infrastructure .... good.
  72. c l from vancouver, Canada writes: For the last half month alone, there have been over 8 gun shots around other areas of Greater Vancouver - all reportedly drug-related, in areas around other parts of Metro Vancouver, none within the downtown eastside area....
    Years ago, the notoriety around the slum in Harlem had been rebuilt by concerted efforts of their Police Chief and the Mayor of New York to give the Big Appple its clean image and business and tourist attraction for more than 2 decades now. Their first line of attack was restoring decency to run-down neighbourhoods. The response was nothing but positive.
    Their's is a success story for our city before things turn worse.
  73. John Galt from Canada writes:
    Ed, wow, I didn't realize you were advocating the elimination of the slum infrastructure. That would be very complicated because of all the social housing and services there, and the fear of losing them - nevermind the cost of mitigating them.

    Fixing the Slum is a slippery slope. It means much more than fixing up the neighborhood. It means fixing people, and the bigger issues that contribute to their problems i.e. lack of mental health facilities (should we agree they should be institutionalized?) and the supply of drugs.

    Even with a drug free society and a policy of institutionalizing the mentally ill, we would still have an abundance of people relying on social housing, food lines, and basically, having nothing to do but hang around the street all day. Ok, there would be a few less individuals doing the crazy walk across traffic on Hastings. But, it wouldn't gentrify the area as long as it is home to so much social housing.

    There would need to be a wholesale change in zoning policy for there to be any significant change in terms of gentrification. And, for that you also need to have a real estate market that is willing to co-locate with existing social housing.

    Good Luck with that.
  74. John Galt from Canada writes:
    Some people might think that property owners in the DTES are getting rich by renting condemnable rooms to welfare recipients. Not possible.

    Property owners have few real options. They can't redevelop anything marketable or profitable, and they face heritage salvage costs.

    The only real option gaining traction is selling to the Province - they are largest single purchaser of property in the DTES. The Province is funding these purchases for social housing in reaction to the 'homeless situation'. And, it looks likely to continue.

    The SLUM is going to house more homeless thanks to the Taxpayer. More homeless in government sponsored and renovated homes, not more upscale condos - that is the future for the area. The SLUM infrastructure is growing deep legislated roots. The City of Vancouver is right behind it with as much force as ever seen.

    Giving homeless people a home doesn't really prove to make them less visibly 'homeless'. There is a lot of evidence to suggest we are building a ghetto - without walls mind you.

    Nevermind all the homes, it is drugs that are at the heart of the issue. Without drugs there would be more motivation and less ancillary crime and death.
  75. Randal Oulton from Canada writes: Henriquez may be right, but it's difficult not to note that the area he advocates government money for just happens to be one in which he runs a business.
  76. Alban Leurk from Ottawax, Canada writes: Really so to make politicians and bleeding hearts feel good, one has to pay high taxes, buy an expensive condo, and enjoy rubbing elbows with those who pay no taxes, get subsidized to live there. That's the 'Vancouver advantage'... Makes you really feel you're not that smart in order to live in teh same building and pay for everyone else!
  77. Lisa Moffatt from Vancouver, Canada writes: Its quite disheartening to read people's reaction to the idea of living in the downtown eastside. I don't live too far and bike to work through there everyday. Its not scary, its sad. Its sad to know that we have failed as a society and turned our backs on those most vulnerable.

    I think that the woodward's development is a bit idealistic, its my lack of faith in humanity that leads me to think this way. But I want it to succeed.

    What needs to be addressed are the real reasons the situation(s) in the DTES exist. Why are people homeless? How do woman and men fall into the sex trade? What has happened to people that they turn to drugs? These are still people. They just haven't been as lucky as you.

    We all deserve to be treated with dignity.
  78. Jaded in Vancouver from Canada writes: Between the 1950s and 1970s I grew up on ' the wrong side of the tracks ' as a poor immigrant. The neighbourhood was made up of the rich and the poor, there were troublesome teens, families and children ( see The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz - which is pretty much the environment I remember ), but everyone looked out for each other and held each other accountable.

    There are now some very wealthy individuals who do live in Vancouver's DTE; they just keep a low profile and don't brag about their philanthropy. Gregory Henriquez has the right idea, and I wish him every succcess. As a society we are way too busy ' keeping up appearances ', that we have truly forgotten how to be human.

    Like Mother Teresa said - Don't wait for leaders, do it person to person.
  79. S. K. from Snowcouver, Canada writes: In my opinion, if they don't take care of the Downtown Eastside soon, the problem will balloon into a much bigger problem down the road... There are several examples around the world of what happens if you don't fix these urban-social problems - one example would be for example Rio de Janeiro - what was a very small number of (very small, just a couple of houses!) favellas 100 years ago, now ballooned into an almost unmanageable slum problem. Some 'favelas' there (for example Rocinha) are said to have more than 200,000 inhabitants. It doesn't take much imagination to extrapolate this to the Downtown Eastside, and see how this whole sorry state of affairs could propagate to west Burnaby, or further south, for example.
  80. Donald Wilson from Canada writes: Over many years I've lived many places including a short time in downtown Vancouver . It was an easier time back then - Vancouver was still a place one could walk around in safety after dark . There were a couple hooker bars but they were still decent people not controlled by drugs . I don't see the economic benefit nor any other benefit of trying to house challenged people , usually poor , on some of the most expensive real estate in B.C. They won't learn a new lifestyle simply by living next door to someone that works for a living . The Woodward conversion is simply sustaining the plight of these people . Mixing Gettos with Condos will benefit neither . Raising teens is difficult enough these days without subjecting them to drug dealers daily . Sure there are some DD in all schools but not like it is on the streets of DES . These challenged folks need communities of their own where society can try to help those that want to be helped . And house the rest until they pass on . And do that on less pricy real estate . Sell the high price land and channel the funds into affordable housing at another location . Move all the destitute out of the DES into decent digs , and then crack down on any dealers left strolling the streets .
  81. nancy s from Calgary, Canada writes: It is more than 40 years ago since I lived in West Van and we used to go downtown on the bus and shop at Woodward's and other stores nearby...I was in high school then. Obviously the whole area has changed radically and for the worse. Anything that the City of Vancouver can do to prevent the further worsening of the DTES should be applauded, including innovative architecture of the abandoned Woodward's site. That is a 'no man's land' in a way now and most visitors to the lower mainland would avoid being there. Sorry to be negative in my assessment but that's how I see it from a distance.
  82. james greystone from Canada writes: donald wilson - your post should be copied and memorized by city councils throughout n. america. i have seen so many misguided attempts to help people who usually just want to be left alone. main and hastings area has been a dump for over 60 years! that area has to be rebuilt, never mind the addicts, the poverty, or whatever.
    attempting to warehouse 'these people' never works.
  83. liz vander zaag from Vancouver, Canada writes: John Galt is right on with his comment that drugs are at the root of homelessness. We have a building in the DTES zone and we try to have a no drug policy. We have many people in recovery and sometimes we call it a relapse house but by providing a clean safe place to live their recovery has generally been solid. DERA, one of the 'entrenched services' that maintain the 'slumification' of this area told us that we are not actually allowed to discriminate against drug users. Well I can tell you a few stories about what drug users have done to their rooms. Let's just say it isn't pretty and you need heavy gloves to clean up after them. The $200 damage deposit does not begin to cover the damages that they can do. Housing drug users is a completely different issue than housing people and different standards should be allowed. They will rip the tap out of the room for a fix.
    The other side of the problem is the city permits department. We put steel doors on our rooms and neglected to get get a permit. Boy did we get in trouble. We are in constant battle with the city to do improvements to the building and are criminalized while the crack dealers stand outside blithely dealing their 'illegal' product.
    We constantly hear of the gangsters shooting each other in their drug turf wars. Where are the victims of this war? The addicts in the DTES are a visible manifestation of the incredible invasion of the drug cartels in this city.
  84. little Bear from Canada writes: I think there is more than one issue here.

    The poor is one and throwing money at it will help a bit but working with them to feel more a part of the community is more important.

    The issue that would prevent me from buying into a complex like this is the druggies. Many of you have never been to the Vancouver East Hastings area. It is something to behold. Drunks and druggies on most blocks and the main transportation is the paddy wagon and ambulances hauling somebody to jail or the hospital.

    Keep in mind you will be within easy reach of some of the worst flop houses around and they are not going away.

    Lary Waldman - Take a trip over sometime and walk down that area at night. It is easy sitting in Quality Foods in Qualicum and pontificating quite another to be there at night in the middle of it.

    I have friends on the Vancouver Police department and they don't feel safe down there unless there are a couple of them.

    No thanks life is too short as it is.
  85. Mickey Shell from Grand Marais, United States writes: The 'highest and best use' approach to taxation, in which people are taxes for what others want to do with their property. That has turned communities into rich vs poor ghettos. When I was a girl living in a small town, the mayor lived in a fancy 'mansion' next door to his friend, a writer/intellectual, who lived in a tiny house--all he could afford--on a huge lot. Both benefited from being neighbors. That sort of thing is no more in the US. Mostly because of tax laws, it's now 'us vs them.'
  86. Lee C from Vancouver, Canada writes: There are aparatments all over our city that house a portion of the suites to the disabled, homeless, mentally challenged, those trying to change their addicted lifestyles, single families, refugees or new immigrants. They are in every area including the up scale trendy ones. Those living here aren't stigmatized like those in cities where several blocks of housing are designated for low income housing. I've lived in one for msny years and only recall one incident with a mentally ill person who was speaking loudly. I believe that person had to leave. Obviously, people will be placed with some thought behind it and where they are better suited. It proves that they have been successful because the public isn't even aware of it.
  87. GlynnMhor of Skywall from Canada writes: Feed the homeless....

    To the hungry.

    They ARE 'free-range', after all.
  88. S. K. from Vancouver, Canada writes: Another thing: I don't know personally this architect (Gregory Henriquez), but many architects are in search of problem for their solutions, instead of in search of a solution for a problem. Many architects are idealists with little contact with social reality, and this project smacks of this too. I personally don't think it will work.

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