Thursday, August 07, 2008


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


Park Commissioner Spencer Herbert recently announced he would like to see the City establish a tent city to tackle the homeless issue which has mushroomed out-of-control in our City.

Mr Herbert, aided by City Council candidate David Eby would like our homeless and drug subculture groups to have the constitutional right to erect tents in our parks.

With the Herbert/Eby plan, a question as a Park board candidate which arises for me is whether we should allow our parks to become De-facto homeless shelters. I must state for the record I'm not at all comfortable with this suggestion.

Citizens are not blind and can see our homeless population and drug addicts camping out in our parks. Increasingly we see many youth sleeping in storefront doorways but whether allowing our parks to be set up as campgrounds for these terribly tragic social issues needs vigorous debate.

It is too easy to suggest that tent city's will somehow fix the homeless and drug issues in our city. This is where I think Mr Herbert and Mr Eby are misguided . While this political ploy may win them votes, whether it truly assists the downtrodden and marginalized is suspect. I also note that Mr Eby hasn't stated whether he supports shelters.

I would prefer that citizens and political candidates press our elected representatives to take bold proactive approaches so these social issues do not continue to flourish and become worse. That way, our parks can be used for what they are intended to be used for. This being recreation, festivals, heritage and places to enjoy a nice warm sunny day.

No question we need solutions but I feel those solutions must come from replacing old outdated laws which are a major stumbling block to assisting and improving the lives of our most vulnerable and marginalized citizens.

Homelessness is preventable and we must act now.

Moreover, a fairer, more accountable and democratic electoral system is an absolute necessity to ensure all citizens have representation that they can count on and have access to.

Equally noteworthy, Mr Eby and Mr Herbert have been absolutely silent on the issue of electoral and campaign finance reform. I wonder why?

Jamie Lee Hamilton


At 7:19 AM, Anonymous a quickly disappearing fan said...

Hi Jamie,

rather than making grand statements only to have them shot down, why don't you check your facts. I heard Herbert on the radio and he said he didn't believe they should be in parks, and that in fact homes were the first priority, and then shelters. Tent cities were the last possibility if nothing is done.
I like you Jamie, but you sometimes make stuff up, and that's not a good thing in a politician.
As for campaign finance reform - have you talked to either candidate about it?
If you're such a fan of campaign finance reform why are you running with the NPA a party famous for hiding who funds it, and who has done nothing to change the laws which govern campaign finance? Seems pretty hypocritical.

At 8:23 AM, Blogger Jamie Lee Hamilton said...

Disappearing fan,

And what did Vision and COPE do about finance reform when in power from 2002-2005?

Moreover, why did Mr Herbert as an elected Park Commissioner wait until three months before an election to find his voice on this issue?

Rising homelessness in our parks is a human tragedy that is easily preventable.

The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation could do so much more in championing this issue. Having a Commissioner announce a tent city in a park three months before an election is hardly a solution.


At 8:26 PM, Anonymous Audrey Laferriere 778-329-1250 said...

What I do not understand is why a tent city when there is 142 Water Street (old Storyeum location) available to be a shelter. Why is no one lobbying for it. We cannot be taken in by the coalition of housing first believers as this only works when there is affordable housing available. There is zero vacancy in Vancouver. We need shelters as an emergency measure until enough affordable housing is created.

At 9:32 PM, Anonymous erling said...

Uh, David Eby's positions on housing and campaign finance reform have been available on his campaign website since launch. Don't know where you got the idea that there's any mystery, since the information is trivially easy to find.

At 9:44 PM, Blogger Jamie Lee Hamilton said...

Erling and David Eby fans

Listing your campaign donors on your website is not campaign finance reform. Moreover, Mr Eby hasn't stated where he stands on electoral reform. He was interviewed by a CO-OP radio host three weeks ago and danced all over this question without answering whether he supports electoral reform.

His position on homelessness is really murky. He wants tent cities in parks, yet he remains silent on shelters. He takes a position of affordable housing first which begs the question what do we do for people who are homeless now.

Tents in parks is unacceptable.

At 10:33 PM, Anonymous erling said...

Sorry, a question: what electoral reform issues are you referring to? Campaign finance only, or are you also speaking to things like re-examining the ward system?

At 7:51 AM, Blogger Jamie Lee Hamilton said...

I am speaking to pro-rep. Wards are a dead issue.

Just to be clear you refer to David's website which states David Eby favours clear and workable spending and donation limits and this is very wishy-washy. What does workable mean?


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