Letter: Mt. Pleasant residents' needs more dire than Western Front’s ‘starving artists’

Re: “Developer dollars enable Western Front to buy building,” Jan. 11.

While directing $1.5 million dollars towards the Western Front’s real estate portfolio and private bar will meet the COV’s goals of buying votes from behind closed doors, the needs of too many Mount Pleasant residents living east of Main Street remain far more dire.

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Just across the street from the Western Front, those who are still able to will line up at the Mount Pleasant Community Centre/1 Kingsway to access the local distribution of generosity from the Vancouver Food Bank and sadly years after this private organization stepped-up to fill the gap that need is greater than ever in Mount Pleasant.

East Mount Pleasant elementary schools still operate food programs decades after they first began and the majority of Mount Pleasant’s social service agencies and social housing is located east of Main Street as mandated by Vancouver city hall and their well-healed supporters.

Local deficiencies in neighbourhood recreation are so expansive some of our inner-city parks have children’s play structures and park benches that are so old the Vancouver Park Board has no records of when they were first installed, yet the COV spent more money on removing/repairing/replacing the “Dude Chilling” sign at Guelph Park than anything else in that park in recent history.

I doubt that any of the “starving artists” from the Western Front are standing in line at local food banks or forced to rely on the free food and clothes our hard-working local agencies provide without judgment.

But hey, as we’ve seen before with Vision Vancouver there’s no easier way to curry favour with “artists” than to keep shovelling money into their maelstrom of self-importance, the city even gives them priority to scarce subsidized housing while the divide between the haves and have-nots in Mount Pleasant widens.

That windfall of “Community Amenity Contribution” monies, not “special interest group” monies could have improved far more lives if distributed through the local agencies that need it the most, but once again the secret negotiations between the bag-men and hand-picked Vision staffers reaffirms that CAC’s enable developers to pass the buck and buy their way out of true social responsibility as long as it meets Vision’s priorities.

While the hob-knobbers will continue to gather at the Western Front there’ll still be citizens of Vancouver living on the streets within the sight of their doors.

Perhaps the managers at the WF could at least allow local binners first dibs at their booze empties.

George Brissette, Vancouver

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