ENGAGE US IN GOOD FAITH OR RESIGN
Marpole citizens respond to City of Vancouver approval of Temporary Modular Housing and Demand Accountability by Mayor
Vancouver, BC – A coalition representing 6,000 Marpole residents responded today to the City of Vancouver’s approval of a Temporary Modular Housing project at W 59th and Heather. The residents group is frustrated not only by the lack of genuine public consultation and the subsequent expedited approval process, but also by the failure of the City to fully and transparently address the mix of tenants for such housing projects.
“Housing is a basic human right that contributes to the security and dignity of the person, and we are sincerely concerned about homelessness in our city,” said Derek Palaschuk, spokesperson for the Caring Citizens of Vancouver Society. “After a decade of watching homelessness become more prevalent in our city, under Mayor Robertson and his Vision Vancouver Council, we would love nothing more than to celebrate City Hall introducing these Temporary Modular Housing projects throughout the city. However, there is a notable difference between streamlining a process and hasty decision-making – the latter of which has resulted in the current situation. This project approval has been made without the City holding a proper public consultation – in particular when it comes to the appropriateness of the proposed tenant mix for this location. Simply put, without such issues being properly addressed, this remains the right idea, but the wrong location.”
Notwithstanding the hasty manner in which the project was brought forward – a process that Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson himself has described as “fast” – the Society is equally concerned about the City’s policy, which states that Temporary Modular Housing projects must include a percentage of individuals described as ‘Service Level 3.’ “It is because these Temporary Modular Housing units will include housing for individuals with a criminal history who have a high likelihood to re-offend, that we are asking City Hall to stop the development and to engage us in an open, honest, transparent consultation process, so we can welcome a project like this into our community without having to worry about the well-being of our children, seniors and homes.” said Palaschuk. He also noted that the development is within a block of three different K-12 schools with 2,500 students.
“If the lack of proper consultation and comprehensive information wasn’t enough of a slap in the face to the residents of Marpole, Robertson has dismissed our concerns as ‘vicious’ and ‘perpetuating negative stigmas’ – accusations that are neither true nor fair.”
Given the events of this past month, the Society is now drawing a line in the sand, calling on the Mayor to take accountability for the dysfunctional manner in which this process has unfolded. “We are demanding the following: first, a public apology by this Mayor for painting us as intolerant, heartless and cruel. Second, engage us in a proper consultation process that includes negotiating the tenant mix, the services that will be provided, and an accountability structure. If one or both of these demands are not met, then we will have no other option but to call for the Mayor’s resignation – as well Vision Vancouver councillors – for failing to meet their primary obligation, which is to serve all their constituents in good faith.”
CCVS Statement to the Press
Marpole Resident Joint Statement
Concerned citizen expresses the sentiment of many
Michael Lee – Supports Democratic Process for Marpole