The importance of the Little Mountain story and one filmmaker’s campaign to capture the struggle through a documentary film
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David Vaisbord discusses the importance of the Little Mountain story and his campaign to create a documentary film to showcase the community and residents’ struggle against the BC government.The Little Mountain story centres around Little Mountain residents – many of them seniors – fighting to remain in their apartments in Vancouver’s first social (public) housing development and demanding demolished social housing units be replaced on the site.
Find out more about David’s campaign to produce a full-length documentary – and how you can help.
On October 25th, 2012, the Province of BC and the City of Vancouver announced that the four remaining tenant-households at the Little Mountain social housing development would not be evicted, and that up to 50 social housing units would be fast-tracked and built on a portion of the site. Previously, the existing tenants (in the remaining townhouse who refused to be displaced) were served eviction notices, despite the fact that site redevelopment had not even reached the rezoning stage (and construction completion was still years away).
On the podcast, The City evaluates the recent social housing victory at Vancouver’s Little Mountain and we reflect on the history of the struggle. We begin with an excerpt from UBC Geography graduate student Tommy Thompson, who conducted extensive research on Little Mountain and found that “through an analysis of the distribution of benefits and losses of redevelopment to various relevant groups, Little Mountain tenants are being squeezed out of the benefits of redevelopment while bearing significant losses.”
We then hear from David Vaisbond, a documentary filmmaker, who has thoroughly and intimately documented the history of the Little Mountain housing struggle. We ask him to reflect on some of the most profound moments of documenting this struggle. Finally, former MLA and Little Mountain advocate David Chudnovsky reflects on this victory and provides a history of the proposed Little Mountain privatization and redevelopment.
The wording of the following statement has been approved by the remaining tenants of Little Mountain Housing.
All the remaining families at Vancouver’s Little Mountain Housing have been issued eviction notices. BC Housing is seeking to evict the tenants by September 30th 2012.
Please stand with the courageous tenants of Little Mountain by helping them fight this unjust eviction!
These last four families remain onsite today only because they took a stand against the travesty of justice that occurred at Little Mountain in 2009. At that time 220 of 224 families were displaced from Little Mountain, many of them bullied, and all but one building was demolished. Four families opted to stay, saying that the demolition was premature & unnecessary. Time has proven them right: for three years, the 15-acre site has sat empty, and even today redevelopment is still years away.
Just as the community destruction in 2009 was unnecessary, this summer’s eviction notices are also unnecessary. It is a simple matter for replacement social housing to be constructed without evicting the final four families. Eviction is only a point of convenience for both BC Housing and the developer, Holborn.
These particular families have been inspirational and outspoken community advocates. By keeping vigil over the site, they have helped hold the government and developer to their word.
To stop those in power from evicting the vigilant tenants, please support their simple call:
(1) Cancel the eviction notices and allow remaining tenants to stay onsite until new social housing units are ready for occupancy
(2) Save and upgrade the last building to become a fabulous, local community history museum, or a community history & arts centre
FOUR WAYS TO SUPPORT THE REMAINING TENANTS OF LITTLE MOUNTAIN
1. Sign and circulate the petition
2. Watch and share this short film about two of the tenants who are fighting the current eviction: “The Eviction of Sammy and Joan” by David Vaisbord
3. Make your voice heard by local media:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
CBC radio talkback number: 604-662-6690
CKNW radio comment line: 604-331-2784
4. Make you voice heard by officials:
Provincial Government and BC Housing
Premier Christy Clark: email@example.com
Minister Responsible for Housing, Rich Coleman: firstname.lastname@example.org
Shayne Ramsay, CEO, BC Housing: email@example.com
Dale McMann, ED for Lower Mainland, BC Housing: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joo-Kim Tiah, President, Holborn Group: email@example.com
James Cheng & Associates, Architectural Consultants: firstname.lastname@example.org
City of Vancouver
Mayor Gregor Robertson: email@example.com
Councillor George Affleck: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Elizabeth Ball: email@example.com
Councillor Adrienne Carr: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Heather Deal: email@example.com
Councillor Kerry Jang: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Raymond Louie: email@example.com
Councillor Geoff Meggs: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Andrea Reimer: email@example.com
Councillor Tim Stevenson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Councillor Tony Tang: email@example.com
CoV’s City Manager Penny Ballem: firstname.lastname@example.org
CoV’s General Manager of Planning and Development: email@example.com
CoV’s City Planning Staff: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
More information can be found on the Facebook page.
The audio for the entire panel discussion organized by the Vancouver Renters Union is available from the audio player below. During Tristan Markle’s introduction, you can hear Metro Vancouver Board Member and Vision Vancouver Councillor Geoff Megg’s attempt to interrupt the event and provide the ‘real’ or ‘actual’ facts about Heather Place (listen carefully at 4:36 and 5:15). He really didn’t like when the event organizers chose not to give him the air time that he wanted. It’s somewhat of a rare opportunity to see an elected official act in such a way, assuming that it is acceptable to interrupt a community event.
In the first part of the program, I speak with anti-poverty activist (Carnegie Community Action Project and Raise the Rates), former COPE mayoral candidate, and author (Poor Bashing: The Politics of Exclusion) Jean Swanson. We discuss, among other things, an upcoming event, The Cost of Poverty.
In the second half, we hear highlights from the June 16th panel discussion on The Future of Social Housing: From Little Mountain to Heather Place, organized by the Vancouver Renters’ Union, featuring Barry Growe (Community Advocates for Little Mountain), Maria Wallstam (Vancouver Renters’ Union), Elvin Wyly (Professor, UBC Geography), and Richard Marquez (former San Francisco community activist). The entire panel discussion will be made available soon.
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