Yet another chapter was written in the history of the Vancouver Olympic Village on Feb. 26 with a pro-housing protest turned awry.
I’m not in Vancouver this weekend. I’m instead in Los Angeles, where the 1984 Olympic Village was a truly sustainable project that left a legacy of student housing.
The Vancouver project was marketed as sustainable. Sure, it has green roofing, energy use monitors and other pioneering features. But, until proven otherwise, it is a financial disaster. Activists are also quick to remind us that it is also not socially sustainable. The promised 252 affordable units were halved.
The tent village threatened for Feb. 12 didn’t happen. It was delayed two weeks, but is unlikely to become an ongoing protest. The weather and the police may have the last say. Here are two reports from those involved in the incident.
From Tristan Markle of VAN.ACT at 6:16 p.m.
On February 26th 2011, housing activists and community groups set up a tent city in the public square in the Athlete’s Village. The police shut it down. The activists moved to an unused lot near the Athlete’s Village and the police once again kicked them off the land. Determined not to be intimidated by the police and to still draw attention to the lack of social housing at the Athlete’s Village and on the Downtown Eastside, activists have now, as of 6:00pm, occupied a large suite on the main floor in the Athlete’s Village.
Text message from activist Alissa Westergard-Thorpe at 8:36 p.m.
“Nine or 10 arrests for break and enter and assault by trespass (not for violence but only criminal charge that exists for trespass), for all — as we heard it anyway. Person in Olympic Village suites opened door on 1st between Ontario and Manitoba and as many got in as could or wanted to before shutout. We protested outside and they put up signs inside and took cops a while to arrest them. Before that, 100 plus people moved by cops as (the people) tried to tent in a couple places and cops blocked entry to Creekside centre. No tents stayed up, replanning before next try.”
Were you a witness? Were you a protester? Do you live in the Village on False Creek? I want to hear from you. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
News and views on Vancouver 2010 (and beyond) from Bob Mackin.