DJ Larkin, lawyer at Pivot Legal Society speaking at press conference at 506 W.7th this morning

Today Pivot Legal and the Social Housing Alliance and low-income tenants condemned the City of Vancouver for failing to prevent the mass eviction currently underway down the street from City hall, at Cambie and West 7th avenue. “Vision was elected on a promise to end homelessness,” said Herb Varley of the Social Housing Alliance. “Despite this the City turns a blind eye to the continued haemorrhaging of the low-income housing stock.”

Ming Sun

Today, City inspectors arrived unannounced to the Ming Sun Benevolent Association building and performed an inspection. The building, containing affordable housing, the artist collective Instant Coffee, and artist studio spaces for low-income Chinese seniors at 439 Powell has been under ongoing threat of demolition. The threat continues despite the fact that “several independent structural reports stated that the Ming Sun Building is structurally sound,” according to activists who have been fighting to save the site.

Several people who have been working to save the building had arrived early to perform repairs on the building, but were surprised by the arrival of City staff, sparking concerns that the building would be demolished immediately.

The concerns were amplified when at least a dozen vehicles from Vancouver Fire & Rescue Services arrived on the scene with lights flashing.

A coalition of citizens, called “Friends of 439,” has formed to preserve the building. This morning about a dozen concerned supporters of the building converged at 439 Powell to keep watch over the property.

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“For three years the DTES community has fought an ongoing campaign to end the discriminatory ticketing of low-income people. Last year 95% of all vending tickets and 76% of all jaywalking tickets across the city were handed out in the Downtown Eastside. In response VANDU and Pivot Legal Society filed an official complaint with the VPD. The complaint was officially dismissed by the Mayor and police board in September 2013.

An independent police watchdog, the Office of the Police Complaint Commissioner, has rejected the reasons given by the Vancouver Mayor and Police Department for dismissing the complaint of discriminatory by-law enforcement in the Downtown Eastside. Since then VANDU has requested a meeting with the Mayor on this important issue, but he has refused to respond. We have no other choice to but to march for justice.”


Season 1, Episode 11
How to build a sanctuary city

Co-hosts: Daniel Tseghay and Tristan Markle

Click HERE to listen

On this episode of Mainlander Radio:

  • Harsha Walia of No One is Illegal (Vancouver) on services denied to people with non-status and local strategies to fight border imperialism.
  • Syed Hussan of Solidarity City Network (Toronto) on the grassroots movement to make Toronto a sanctuary city.

On Vancouver Co-op Radio CFRO 100.5 FM