Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


The Downtown Eastside can be a dangerous place and the senseless murder of vulnerable 77 year old Carmelo Dibella drives this point home.

Mr Dibella recently moved into Tellier Tower, a building operated by the Downtown Eastside Residents Association (DERA). Last Friday his body was found deceased in his 2nd floor apartment.

DERA recently allowed the Tellier tenants common lounge to be used as a temporary homeless shelter and while this was noble on the part of DERA, however, putting strangers into a building with vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities without knowing their backgrounds is probably not wise.

While there is lots of concern around our homeless and which there should be, dumping all the homeless and its associated problems into one area of the City is just not OK.

Settling dangerous people or those with the potential to act out erratically into the Downtown Eastside has come with a myriad of problems for my neighborhood and this obviously needs correction.

The Oldtown area which includes the Downtown Eastside has always been a relatively stable neighborhood and has a strong community vibe to it. Moreover, the residents living here have always welcomed others into this neighborhood. In hindsight perhaps this has been a detriment to the safety and security of our longtime residents which include many children and youth.

I hope the murder of Carmelo Dibella serves as a wake-up call.

While I do not want to point fingers at anyone, why anyone would brutally kill a vulnerable 77 year old senior is disgusting and despicable.

It is long overdue but there must be political will to address the fact that this neighborhood is treated as a dumping ground.

If the state thinks it can continue to contain society's problems by herding dangerous people into this area, they can think again.

It is time for a clean-up of the area. If this means that those with drug addictions need to be marched into the new community court to face some consequences on how their anti social behavior is harming a community, so be it.

I don't think if people want to continue with their destructive behavior that others should pay the price and clearly which Mr Dibella did.

Our community is fed up with policies which has harmed far too many people and it must stop.

Perhaps the City of Vancouver needs new zoning in place which places limits on charity services per specified number of residents.

This way the endless Downtown Eastside gravy train which has supplied direct benefit in the form of countless jobs, careers and empire building can finally stop.

Jamie Lee Hamilton