Sunday, February 22, 2009


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


If anyone wants proof that many people benefit from the devastation and destruction in the Oldtown/Downtown Eastside and are out to maintain the area as a drug ghetto need to look no further than the quote listed below from Wendy Pedersen who is an poverty-industry-organizer of the Carnegie Centre.

It is even more shocking that professional writer Frances Bula re-posted Ms Pedersen's writing verbatim on her State of Vancouver blog site without any editorial clarification that there are differing opinions in the DTES other than the one propagated by Carnegie and Ms Pedersen.

Here is the quote:

"I think the open drug market has been a double edged sword too. It has sheltered the 10,000 or so low-income people not in the drug trade from the impact of gentrification because I agree, its just too hard for the upper classes to take. But for those of us willing to live with it, we get cheaper stores, cheaper housing, tight knit community, decades long friendships and a sharing of resources that builds a sense of how to be together that doesn’t exist in other places in Vancouver".

It is just so revolting that Ms Pedersen doesn't understand how drugs harm people and how drug traffickers target vulnerable children and youth for their greed without any concern for the young lives they are destroying.

Interestingly, Ms Pedersen goes on to falsely claim that maintaining the area as it is, brings benefit to the community. She makes unsubstantiated claims around cheaper stores and cheaper housing etc.

In fact purchasing groceries in the DTES is often way more expensive than shopping at Safeway. On Saturday, one DTES Senior woman went to the supposed low-cost Quest Food Exchange and they didn't have any bread or juices. In fact, this longtime resident informs me that the shelves of Quest were pretty well empty. Yet Quest receives all its food by donations and in 2007 had an income of $9 million. Can you ever imagine going to a Safeway and finding the shelves empty?

SRO hotels per sq ft are way more expensive than one-bedroom West End apartments and SRO's don't even provide kitchens or private washrooms. How Ms Pedersen concludes that this is cheaper housing is absolute nonsense.

Is it any wonder the Downtown Eastside continues to be in the mess it's in when you have people like Ms Pedersen in well paid positions who actively advocate keeping people in squalid conditions for what appears to be one single reason. It keeps her and her friends in jobs managing the poor.

What I find really troubling with Ms Pedersen's stance is that she is a Mother and I wonder where Ms Bula is also coming from since she also promoted this obscene idea of maintaining the drug activities in the DTES.

I understand Ms Bula is also a mother and it sickens me to my very core that women who are Moms believe that maintaining a neighborhood with children and youth living there as the Drug and Gang capital of Canada is somehow beneficial to the community.

Jamie Lee Hamilton