“The building has been penetrated.” Those are the words that greeted a crew of CCAP volunteers and friends as a security guard spoke into her walkie talkie at the entrance to the building that houses Concord Pacific offices. It was hard to keep from giggling. I think some of us did.
We had come on June 13, with a giant card for Terry Hui, the head of Concord Pacific, which is building over 200 condos in the DTES. The card suggested that Hui withdraw his project or donate his proposed building at 58 W. Hastings to social housing and name it after Darrell Mikasko, a homeless man who burned to death trying to stay warm.
We also brought a big Welcome Wagon type basket to help Hui understand how to be a good neighbour in the DTES. When the media showed up, Wendy Pedersen, CCAP’s organizer, took out some of the items to show them: The Pivot book, Hope in the Shadows, poems by Sandy Cameron, Sheila Baxter’s book, Death in a Dumpster, a Carnegie Newsletter, and a jar with 2 dead bed bugs with the lable: be part of the solution not the problem.
Before we arrived with our goodies for Hui, two of our fearless reconnoiters briefed us that we wouldn’t be able to get up to the 9th floor because the elevator was locked and security guards were hanging around. All we had done was send out a news release saying that we were going to present Hui with a DTES welcome and bring him some gifts.
CCAP decided on the visit to Hui’s office after he refused to answer numerous messages asking for a meeting.
“Concord made billions off the Expo lands and can afford to give a little back, especially in our neighbourhood where people are going to be pushed out because of new condo development,” said Robert Bonner of CCAP.
Joe Le Blanc, a resident of Vet’s Manor said Concord is “putting their condos between the Portland Social Housing Project and the Grand Union Hotel, between despair and hope. We need more hope and that means more social housing.”
“It would be nice for developers to give back to the community they are making so much money off of us”, said Phoenix Winter, another CCAP member from the community, who is referring to Concord’s condos on Powell Street now under construction.
Towards the end of CCA’s caper, we asked a security guard to take the basket of gifts to Hui on the 9th floor. She agreed but later appeared to simply put the basket out the back door. Anna Truong, CCAP’s fearless former practicum student, walked right through all the security guards and retrieved the basket which was later handed to a man who claimed to work for Concord Pacific.