Friday, December 10, 2004


Underbelly News
Downtown Eastside


Hi All!

I am participating on a project which has received funding from theVancouver park board. The Downtown Eastside Strathcona park friends group was formed as a result of three key people. They are Richard Evans, Terry Hunter and Carmen Rosen.

It was their hope to bring forth a diverse coalition to address an overall plan for the Downtown Eastside/Oldtown parks and open spaces.

Yours truly is working on the square known as Victory Square. I am quite delighted to be participating in this project as it has been a space, which until recently had been considered a dark and dangerous park. It is only a half block from my apartment.

The problem with Downtown Eastside/Oldtown parks is that drug traffickers had taken over our spaces. There seems to be consensus building that we need programs and people in our parks and open spaces. This hopefully will dislodge the creeps who have become taken over our parks.

I have put forward a proposal that the concept for Victory Square be a Peace and Justice square/park. It makes sense since the cenotaph is located there at the corner of Cambie, Hamilton and West Pender Streets.

I am working on lobbying to have the bust of longtime city councillor Harry Rankin put there. Harry was a man who built bridges and fought for the downtrodden all his life.

Since the square was originally the courthouse square, it seems only fitting that Councilor Rankin who was a lifer of the BC law society, be remembered this way. As many know, Mr Rankin was also a war veteran and I'm certain his group would be more than happy to see Harry honoured this way.

It is my hope in the new year to forward a proposal to the parks board that the square be officially re-named Harry Rankin Square.

I have spoken with Connie Fogal-Rankin, Harry's widow who is endorsing my plan.

I'll keep everyone informed of my progress.


Jamie Lee Hamilton