The Pantages theatre has been sitting empty in our community for more than a decade. The owner of all the property between the Regent and the Brandiz says that our home is a “dead zone”. He says he’s going to save it by selling it to middle-class condo buyers. But our block never has been and is not for sale. The DTES is our neighbourhood and the 100-block is the centre of our neighbourhood; it is the heart of the whole city.
We are the ones who are already paying for the quarter million dollar condos on the 100-block.
We are paying with our health today, and we will pay with our housing tomorrow.
The government has tried for 200 years to assimilate or exterminate Indigenous people. This demolition is an example of how they are killing urban Aboriginal people and other low-income people with health and environmental conditions that the government supports, allows and encourages from private developers like Marc Williams. They talk about “affordable condos” but these “Sequel 138” condos seem more like another small pox blanket for us.
The Pantages demolition is killing us.
Wally who lives in the Regent said, “I haven’t had an asthma attack in years. And just after the demolition started I got a cough that wouldn’t go away. They diagnosed me with asthma again.”
And Bill, another Regent resident said, “I have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and since the demolition started, my lung function has gotten worse than it ever was.”
James, who lives across the street in the Balmoral, said, “I almost died in July from a lung infection and had to have an emergency operation. The doctors had no idea where it came from and neither did I until I heard all these other stories.”
We know more than a dozen residents of the Regent, the Brandiz, the Balmoral, and the Washington hotels who have respiratory problems that have gotten worse since the demolition started. Premier Christy Clark says ‘families first’: The demolition is hurting the families of the DTES. Are we not a family to you? Where is the health department? Where is Premier Clark?
Any building can be replaced but not our health, not our lives
Residents’ health needs to be the priority. Even though we’re not rich, we are human beings. Residents whose health has been sacrificed for the Pantages demolition need to be compensated. The city has a duty to care for the vulnerable people in our neighbourhood.
We need welfare and pension rate affordable resident controlled, safe social housing
The residents of the 100-block are vulnerable people who need good quality homes where we feel safe and healthy. We are people with disabilities, we struggle with mental and physical health and addictions, we are low-income white men, we are women, we are elders, we are aboriginal people. And we need good homes.
In the hotels on the 100-block everywhere outside of your room is public space. There are a lot of women living in the hotels on the 100-block. When women leave their rooms at night to take a leak in the common bathroom we wonder if there is a man behind our door. We wonder if there is a man in the bathroom. And when we come back we wonder if there is a man waiting for us in our rooms. We feel locked up in our own rooms.
There are many disabled people, people in wheelchairs, who live in the hotels on the 100-block.
There are many elders who live in hotels on the 100-block. The hotels are not safe for us. We need safe and healthy housing. We need social housing.
Pantages condos will displace us.
The Pantages condos plan is coming as a promise of home ownership for hypothetical middle-class artists and social workers who don’t exist on the 100-block today. This condo plan is a threat of the housing that we do have. Our housing needs to be replaced, but it needs to be replaced by housing for us.
Condos on the 100-block are not for us.
We are the real existing people who live on the 100-block. City hall and Christy Clark need to build housing for real existing people who are here right now, not for hypothetical artists and social workers.
Any housing built on the 100-block should be for people who live here already. 100-block residents have senority here. We have been waiting for years on social housing wait lists in rat, roach and bedbug infested hotel rooms. This is our community and we need social housing here. This is the only place we have left in the city where we can afford to live
• This is our turf!
• This is where our friends are
• This is where our roots are
Marc Williams must cease and desist with his dirty demolition and crappy condos. This is a warning:
• We will stop your condo project.
• Sell the Pantages lot to the city for 100% social housing or lose it all.
• This is our block.
• This is our community and it’s not for sale.