Monday, August 18, 2008


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


On Saturday I was invited out to a BBQ in Coquitlam. Waiting for me at Stadium sky-train was Sandra LaFramboise. Arriving on the platform as we waited for our train was none other than Executive Director of DERA, Mr Kim Kerr.

Kim Kerr joined us as Coquitlam was our collective destinations.

Mr Kerr and I were cordial and friendly. Similar to 2004 when we were on friendly terms, before his unsuccessful attempt to evict me from my home and before he managed to remove me from the DERA board because I asked tough questions at board meetings. Of course, Mr Kerr should have been more gratuitous since it was my outspokenness which created a DERA Management contract for him when other board members were skittish about the idea. But I digress.

Talking on the train with Mr Kerr was interesting. We chatted primarily about homelessness, Pivot, tent cities and the state of affairs at DERA.

It was interesting to hear that Mr Kerr agrees that tent cities are not the answer to homelessness. They in his own words "do not address homelessness, are only a band-aid solution and should only be used as an act of civil disobedience which draws attention to the issue".

As previously stated on this blog, the tent city idea propagated by Park Commissioner, Spencer Herbert and Pivot lawyer, David Eby is wrong and misguided.

Tent cities do nothing for those who are homeless and one has to be blind not to see homelessness in our City.

Allowing the pitching of tents in Parks creates homeless refugee camps and this is unacceptable. I live in Canada not a third-world country and I will fight tooth and nail against ghettoizing of my neighborhood.

Mr Kerr believes that Pivot legal has an over-all homeless plan. Tent cities are according to him part of this plan. I had the sense that Mr Kerr isn't any longer particularly fond of Pivot but this may have something to do with the lawyer who was representing DERA now being in the employ of Pivot legal.

In any event, Mr Eby and Mr Herbert probably obtained some short-lived political mileage out of the tent city which sprung up in Oppenheimer park at the same time they were promoting the idea.

The City quickly stepped in and re-located the homeless people in the tents to the Marble Arch hotel.

A nagging question though is who paid for those tents in the first place?

I suspect we will never know for sure but you can probably correctly assume it wasn't the homeless who were camping out in them.

Mr Eby sure has an interesting take on homelessness and because he is now running for Council, I think a closer examination of his ideas are in order.

Next up the Heatley Block. Stay tuned.

Jamie Lee Hamilton