Wednesday, October 03, 2007


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC

Residents Lives Put at Risk

Today at 5pm as I was leaving my home at the Pendera, there were many emergency crews in the 100 block West Pender. These included Fire, Ambulance, Hazmat and Police. The whole block was blocked off and I knew something big was happening. Little did I know at the time, that the emergency response involved something occurring inside my building.

As I walked down the block to catch my ride at the corner, I noticed many Anti Poverty Committee (APC) members outside the Lotus Hotel. These same APC members work at DERA. I observed Aaron Muirhead, daytime manager at the Pendera, David Cunningham, APC Leader, Lily Loncur and Kim Kerr, Executive Director of DERA. I was concerned after seeing the APC and in the pit of my stomach, I knew something was up.

After returning to my building around 7:30pm, I noticed many police and fire officials outside my building and many of the same emergency vehicles were parked outside on Pender street. Upon entering my building, I observed many police standing around, I glanced around and saw a number of APC members sitting in the front foyer. With the APC members who are now DERA staff, was Kim Kerr. Police appeared to be standing watch.

My immediate thoughts is that something terrible was happening and I was struck with a profound fear. This fear though isn't unusual since I believe my safety and security to be severely compromised as a result of so many criminally involved APC members working at DERA and more recently at the Pendera. David Cunningham, who has been charged and plead guilty to uttering threats is now a full-time staff member of my building. This is raising lots of alarm bells in my building.

What I have learned and as I write this post at 9:30pm the Hazmat team are preparing to re-move a very hazardous and explosive chemical which is sitting in the Pendera staff office. The chemical involved is called perchloric acid. I overheard police and fire stating it was highly explosive. This container apparently has crystals forming around the cap and so extreme caution needed to be taken for its removal. In fact, an explosives demolition crew had to be brought in to stabilize the container.

At this time, the Identification squad has just arrived to take photos and dust for any prints. Where I sat observing the unfolding of events, the police are now needing to clear this area for removal of the perchloric acid. I heard the various officials discussing best methods of how to safely remove the chemical. So I know it's very dangerous.

How this highly explosive chemical came to find its resting place inside the Pendera staff office needs answering. I posed this question to Mr. Kim Kerr, who claims that it was found outside at a bus stop on Pender Street and apparently according to Mr. Kerr was moved to a small opening on the front side of the Pendera building and from there, it was brought into the office of the Pendera, where APC members, Aaron Muirhead and David Cunningham are on duty. The police claim, the container was brought into the office by a DERA employee.

Why this explosive material was brought into the Pendera needs immediate answering. I'm certain, the police have already questioned the staff and they would have a few answers in this regard. Another important question is why APC leaders and DERA staff members allowed this container to be brought into the building?

To allow highly explosive chemicals into the DERA building could have had dire consequences for the tenants at the Pendera. It has been suggested this material could have caused an explosion if it came into contact with cloth or wood.

The safety and security of the tenants at the Pendera are paramount and needed answering is whether staff involved in this incident at the Pendera have the necessary skills to ensure the appropriate safety and security of the Pendera residents? Why APC DERA staff members were outside down at the end of the block observing this potentially deadly occurrence while tenants remained inside the Pendera building needs to be answered. Was the safety of Pendera residents seriously compromised when APC/DERA staff abandoned their posts?

An operational review of DERA by BC Housing was initiated a year ago. As of yet, the findings haven't been made public. Issues around livability and safety & security concerns brought forward by tenants residing in DERA buildings, haven't been adequately addressed.

It's long overdue that the BC Government properly address these significant operational problems at DERA. Honorable Rich Coleman, Minister of Housing must now act in the public interest and demand a full accounting of the problems plaguing DERA.

Jamie Lee Hamilton


At 1:20 PM, Anonymous Aaron Muirhead said...

I have no allusions, Jamie Lee, that you will actualy post this. So for your information then, the bottle was not brought into the building by DERA employees. It was brought into the Pendera office by a Pomeroy employee who was unaware of its contents or the fact that it was dangerous. He merely thought that it was not something that should be left on the street, which is where he found it. As soon as it came into my possesion I went online to discover what it was and when it was obvious that it was potentially dangerous I called 911.

So... despite your attempts to make it seem otherwise, no one acted innapropriately, in fact quite the opposite. If it had been left on the street who knows what would have happened...?

Aaron Muirhead

At 1:55 PM, Blogger Jamie Lee Hamilton said...

Thank You Mr. Muirhead for stating what you know.

My readers will find it interesting that a Construction firm working at the Pendera would not see the significance of bringing something hazzardous into the building which had the potential to harm many people.

I will not be the judge of this issue but others will be. I have stated my opinion.

As an employee of DERA I think you might want to brush up on a few courses regarding safety and security issues. Your in my opinion innappropriate response of allowing, a highly toxic and potentially explosive chemical into the Pendera building will be judged by others.

Thanks Mr Muirhead for presenting your thoughts on this matter. I always moderate through comments as long as they do not personally attack or libel anyone.

At 4:17 AM, Anonymous stephanie smith said...

Clearly the contractor didn't know it was potentially explosive, or he wouldn't have brought it into the building. I don't know about you, but if I spotted an explosive on the street, the last thing I'd do it pick it up and carry it around - so barring any faith in the contractor's competence, perhaps you might want to consider his instinct for self-preservation, which is presumably functioning perfectly well.

And that the contractor he didn't know the potential hazard is hardly unusual - the last time I checked, neither construction workers nor building staff were required to be trained chemists. I'm going to guess that BC Housing will agree that being able to identify perchlorites on sight isn't a top priority for their staff.

Had it been necessary to evacuate the building, the hazmat crew would have ordered it. That's their job.

That mountain is looking an awful lot like a molehill to me.

At 11:48 AM, Blogger Jamie Lee Hamilton said...

Once again Stephanie rushes to defend her friends at APC/DERA.

Dangerous chemicals are labelled. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out you don't bring items into a building which are left outside and clearly marked as hazzardous.

Poor judgement was exercised by the construction crew and DERA staff and I suspect anyone with half a brain would understand this.

At 6:37 PM, Anonymous stephanie smith said...

Just waiting for that last comment to go through: no libel, no personal attacks, unlike that "half-a-brain" thing you threw at me.

What's the deal with not permitting personal attacks in the comment section, anyhow? The main body of the blog consists of virtually nothing else.

At 10:38 PM, Blogger Jamie Lee Hamilton said...

I do not moderate through personal attacks since my readers would find this juvenile and boring.

Sorry Stephanie that you take everything personally. That is your problem not mine.

Just so you know, I didn't moderate through your second comment before this third and latest one since it really didn't say anything different from your original comments regarding your defence of your friends at APC.

At 4:02 PM, Anonymous Nicky Dunlop said...

I won't repeat the points made by Aaron or Stephanie, although I would like to say that I fully support them. I would like to comment on additional false statements you made, which I took offence to. Your statements were clearly made with no knowledge or attempt on your part to obtain the facts. Your post made reference to a group of APC members outside the building "observing" the situation and an accusation that staff members of the building had abandoned their posts. Firstly there were approximately 7 staff members who went immediately to the building as soon as they heard of the situation out of concern. A number of them remained at the building well after the time that they were being paid. One staff member was even on vacation that day, yet attended the building because they were concerned about the tenants. Secondly, staff were not permitted in the building and were told that they had to stay outside the flagged off area. As soon as they were allowed back into the building they did so to offer any assistance. No staff member abondoned their post and in fact went above and beyond the call of duty out of concern and compassion.

Nicky Dunlop

At 4:46 PM, Blogger Jamie Lee Hamilton said...

To my readers.

Nicky Dunlop is a senior staff member of DERA and supporter of the Anti Poverty Committee.

She makes false accusations when she states I had no knowledge of the situation. Her comments go directly to why there are so many difficulties and problems occurring in the DERA operated buildings.

For the record, DERA/APC staff were at the end of the block on West Pender St in front of the Lotus Hotel at 5pm, just shortly after they allowed an explosive chemical to be brought into the PENDERA building. I observed with my own eyes these staff. No staff were present in the PENDERA building at this time.

Upon my return to the PENDERA at 7:30pm., DERA staff including Kim Kerr, Aaron Muirhead and David Cunningham were sitting on tenant chairs in the front lobby of the Pendera. A number of Vancouver Police members were also present.

None of these staff were interacting with tenants and moreover, they certainly were not knocking on doors informing residents of the potential explosive chemical inside the building.

I engaged Mr Kerr in a conversation to find out what was happening. He said in his own words that a chemical had been found outside and brought into the building. He wasn't exactly forthcoming with information, however, I guess that was his choice.

While Ms Dunlop can gush all she wants about how a staff member stayed behind outside his normal working hours, one would certainly expect that from professional staff who are well trained, which I would say the APC staff members at DERA certainly are not.

Instead of sitting on their asses on chairs belonging to the tenants, in fact, Mr David Cunningham was continually on his cellphone and this really shows such a great concern for the tenants well-being doesn't it Ms Dunlop?

At 3:49 AM, Blogger Steve said...

My tax dollars are supporting this?

Yes, and they are also supporting such licentious activities such as consumption of recreational drugs, excessive drinking, thuggery, and harassment.

Today, APC/DERA. Tomorrow, the dismantling of democracy, one cowturd at a time.

Frances Carlough would be proud!


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