Category Archives: Vancouver

One Tree Removed Today, Plus Pigeon Park

Tree:

I was informed today that one tree was being removed from in front of Bodega Studios. When I contacted the city, I was reminded that it was in the original plan,  creating a wheelchair ramp.

“Please note, there is one tree that will be removed on the west side (immediately south of Blood Alley) in order to accommodate construction of a wheelchair ramp. Removal of this tree was shown in the original concept plan for this block as approved by City Council.”

Park:

I wasn’t able to attend the meeting in Strathcona where the plans for the Pigeon Park upgrades were being presented and discussed. There have been very few people around the Pigeon Park area for the past few weeks – anybody know why?

Plans for Pigeon Park

existing-pigeon-park-site

Michel Desroches, Planner for Parks and Recreation, City of Vancouver, proposes the following objectives for renovating the Pigeon park:

First objective is to preserve the features that make the park popular with the community – preserving as many trees as possible;  preserve sitting/relaxing as primary activity in the park; preserve the open area in the centre of the park as a ‘living room’;

In addition, the City will replace many of the aging features in the park with new features; replacing the base surface in the park, so that it is easy to maintain and has as few trip hazards as possible; replacing the park benches, drinking fountain and lamp post. Also planned is to rebuild the elevated planter around the big tree.
A handful of features will be added to the park. These would include: a handful of “side tables” next to some of the benches, a garbage can, and a public washroom; the rail line as a historic feature and an electrical outlet to support events in the park.

He will present the Pigeon Park concept plan to the Park Board Commissioners on March 2nd  so that, if approved, the renovation could proceed in the summer of 2009, which is when the Carrall Greenway (Hastings to Cordova) is scheduled for construction. The thought is that the overall level of disruption during the construction period would be minimized if the two projects were constructed simultaneously.

Take a look at the proposed plan here:

pigeon-park-concept-plan-revised-draft-for-review-2009-feb-05

You can download a pdf of this proposed concept plan here.

Contact Michel Desroches if you wish to discuss the plan further. See more on the Carrall Greenway here on the City Website.

Talks at the Opening of Pennsylvania Hotel

Speakers included: Liz Evans, Executive Director of Portland Hotel Society, Hon. Rich Coleman, Minister of Housing and Social Services, Tom Siems, CMHC, Mayor Gregor Robertson, Wayne Wright, Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation, Peter Webb, Concord Pacific Group, Earl Crowe, Pennsylvania Hotel Resident. Blessing song from Dalannah Gail Bowen.

Pennsylvania Hotel Opening

At the opening of the Pennsylvania Hotel this morning, I took some quick videos of the event:

Portland Hotel Society opened the Pennsylvania Hotel today with a pancake breakfast, gospel choir, speeches and official sign-lighting. Spot the local activists, developers, and politicians in the crowd. Opening of the Pennsylvania Hotel for housing in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. 412 Carrall Street.

The historic neon sign lights up

New Year 2009

We’re looking forward to 2009 and the upcoming opening of the block between Pender and Hastings along Carrall. It has been a long slog, and it looks like we won’t see much Greenway activity for a while. City budget changes listed the next area to be done to be Maple Tree Square, unless by some miracle the Hastings-Cordova section gets the green light after all. It will be years until the promised rows of trees and pedestrian/cyclist space is as planned. Meanwhile, kudos to the Pennsylvania Hotel, with the beautiful restored neon sign now gracing the Hastings side of the building.

Its been a cold few weeks with many of the homeless sleeping in the alcoves by the abandoned Ranier Hotel. And only a block away, up from the Feminist show at the ArtSpeak Gallery there were hipsters lined up to take advantage of a boxing day sale at one of the trendy shops.

It was good to see the Irish Heather was open for a pint on Christmas – nice, warm, hospitable. As I walked to Glory Foods to pick up a little milk this morning, I passed the Salty Tongue and saw Scott Hawthorne was getting a coffee, while artist Robert Chaplin stood waiting his turn.

Performance on Carrall Street this Tuesday

Art on Carrall – literally about Carrall Street. This is the kind of thing I’ve been thinking about for years, and now it looks like Althea Thauberger is making art about this street and its complexities.

Can’t wait to walk out my door and see what she has put together.

ARTSPEAK | CARRALL STREET | ALTHEA THAUBERGER | SEP 30
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CARRALL STREET | ALTHEA THAUBERGER

Tuesday, September 30, 2008
8-11pm in the 200 block of Carrall Street, Vancouver

Carrall Street Public Forum
Thursday, October 2, 2008
7pm at 33 West Cordova Street

Althea Thauberger’s one-night performance, Carrall Street, will present the
street (brightly lit like a film set at nighttime) as a stage, or zone of
illumination where the roles of performer and spectator blur. The
interweaving of organized performers, passers-by and audience members will
allow for unforeseen interactions to take place that reveal something of
the street’s history, its current issues, as well as its future. Carrall
Street is planned in collaboration with local directors, performers and
community members.

Carrall Street is one of the oldest streets in Vancouver. It can be argued
that the entire history (and pre-history) of the city can be mapped along
its six blocks. Caught between urban gentrification and decay, the street
marks transitions from the most touristic parts of the city to what is
often described as the poorest neighbourhood in Canada. In ways that are
both unique and similar to other inner cities, it has been affected by
development, public policy neglect and polarized politics.

A publication accompanying the project will be available in 2009.

Althea Thauberger is an artist based in Vancouver. Her work involves
research and collaboration that result in performances, films, photographs,
audio recordings and books.

The performance and forum are free and open to the public.

This project has been supported by Arts Partners in Creative Development,
The Canada Council for the Arts, the City of Vancouver and the Portland
Hotel Society.

City Strike Grinds On

Carrall Street has been kept relatively clean by volunteers, the United We Can folks, and as a result the whole place doesn’t look too bad, or seem too terribly unhealthy, despite the city strike.

However, the Carrall Street Greenway has been very affected by the strike, and no work has been done on the whole thing for much of the summer. Tall grass and weeds are growing in the square areas that had been left for tree planting on the one area that had been constructed so far. The whole schedule for this improvement has been suspended, and this could have serious repercussions in the timeline. Hopefully there will be a resolution to the strike soon.

Meanwhile, September brings new exhibitions in the galleries, ACCESS, ArtSpeak, InterUrban and Centre A.

The New York Times Style Magazine this Sunday featured the designer at Richard Kidd, and positive mention of Carrall Street’s Irish Heather and Hunt and Gather.

Now equinox is past, we will see earlier nights, and that also means colder nights for the homeless. People are seriously nested in under the awning on Cordova Street just west of the old Pig and Whistle, and also in any nook to be found in doorways of the old Ranier Hotel. That place has been increasingly covered in graffiti through the summer, with more coming along through the month of August and early September. Almost every brick in the doorway to the former chicken place has a tag of some kind.

That’s the September wrap-up for this street of high contrast!