Saturday, July 28, 2007

Gordon Campbell's Greedy, Sticky Fingers in Riverview and Tsawwassen

On Friday, July 27, 2007, Rich Coleman set his status on his Facebook page as "thinking big about Riverview." Once a mental health facility, it closed down in the 1990s as the model for mental health administration changed.

But now, Coleman, Minister of Forests and Range and a-ha! Minister Responsible for Housing, sees great things for the vast under-[market]-utilized tract of land: condos!

Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan, not one to embrace humility, consensus, community-building or progressive social change, has embraced the province's decision to develop Riverview. And why not. Why bother with pesky social housing in Vancouver itself. Why bother with dealing with social decay, homelessness, abject poverty and drug addiction by accommodating people actually in our city when the province is thinking of sucking land out of decades of imprisonment at Riverview for market housing...oh yes, let's send the ne'er-do-wells out there. NIMBY institutionalized!

Why bother developing the land solely for mental health and social needs when you can plunk some market housing there. After all, people live on the former BC Penitentiary site.

Coleman mentally meanders about like this: "We should blend in some social housing and seniors housing for folks [folks=the kind of people George w.Caesar talks to/about] who need it, and also some types of supportive housing for families and for seniors and the health side [and the health side? this is now in the running for political vagueness sound bite of the month] and then you have a lot of land there that may be allowed to where you could maybe do some market housing would help pay for those facilities on behalf of taxpayers, I think it's something that we'd have to look at." [my emphasis]

Absolutely, Mr. I-Want-To-Defeat-Carole-Taylor-As-Next-BC-Premier, we kinda think that maybe there's land there so maybe kinda we could I dunno, sell it?...and make some cash to pay for, you know, all the cost and stuff for taking care of like old people and the mentally and socially challenged...yeah.

God only knows that taxes are an evil burden, even to pay for, hmmm, "supportive housing for families and for seniors and the health side" because the taxpayer wants value for their money. Value in the form of massive tax cuts so we don't to pay for them. Shudder.

But not to be outdone by the Riverview condo fire sale, we also have the new treaty between the province and the Tsawwassen First Nation. Sure, there are many points on the political continuum of First Nations relations with this "Canada" thing and while the Tsawwassen First Nation will certainly gain from the deal in some tangible ways, many see it as a sell-out doing dirty deals with occupiers in many other ways.

Despite whatever spin whoever wants to put on the treaty, a potent template for urban treaty negotiations, there are several facts here that make Gordon Campbell et al grin. Land will be removed from the socialist Agricultural Land Reserve. That land will be paved so containers coming in and out of DeltaPort can rest on their long Pacific Rim journey inside BC's great golden Gateway Plan of fossil fuel worship that includes twinning the Port Mann Bridge. Instead of just pulling land out of the ALR despite legislative processes, it is certainly less politically ugly for the province to sign a treaty and co-opt one of so many generationally oppressed First Nations to get the land out of the ALR for container storage.

In all, it has been a good week for the BC Liberals neoliberal land reform program.

I see it as a bad week for mental health programs, socially progressive housing, government as service provider for the needy and disenfranchised, social and economic justice, sound ecological stewardship, respect for aboriginal title, and universality and equality in society.

Or maybe I should just stop complaining, invest in a container shipping firm and buy a river view condo in Coquitlam.

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2 Comments:

robbins said...

May I post your 'Sticky Fingers' article on my site?

Glen
www.robbinssceresearch.com

July 30, 2007 9:10 AM  
stephen elliott-buckley said...

well, the short answer is no.

the long answer is that i don't post my articles anywhere except on my site. occasionally a situation will come up where i find it quite worthwhile to have them elsewhere as well.

also, since i find the logic you use in interpreting your poll "data" to be suspect, i can't see how putting my article on your site is worthwhile or consistent with my concerns about your website itself.

like every other webpage on the internet, though, feel free to link to my post and respond to it as you will.

finally, to be blunt, after the suspicions you have leveled at me on your website, i can't see why you would want a post on your site if it's from a muckraker who you feel may be far from exhibiting full integrity.

so, why do you want to post my article?

July 30, 2007 6:13 PM  

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