16 days and Pantages demolition still shut down

Hello CCAP supporters.

Reminder to sign our petition for 100% social housing at the Pantages: http://dtesnotfordevelopers.wordpress.com/savepantages/

Thanks to new groups endorsing: Indigenous Action Movement, Latin-American Collective – Vancouver, Association of Chinese Canadians for Equality and Solidarity Society, Harmony of Nations Drum Group, Longhouse Ministry Church, PHS Community Services Society, Lookout Emergency Aid Society, Citywide Housing Coalition, Purple Thistle, Pivot Legal Society, Vancouver Catholic Worker, Teaching Support Staff Union Social Justice Committee, Mosaic @ the Space, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Helpers Project, Council of Senior Citizens Organization of BC, First United Church, Oppenheimer Park Ladies Tea Party, Vancouver Rape Relief and Vancouver Transgender Day of Rememberance.

We’ve had a mini victory!

It’s day 16 since we shut down the unsafe demolition site at the Pantages. Thanks to the DTES Neighbourhood Council and CCAP, inspectors ordered the owner to put up mesh to protect residents of the Regent and Brandiz from contaminated dust, to put in better hoarding to protect pedestrians and to implement better safety equipment and procedures for the workers. The owner’s disregard for the safety of our community does not bode well for the future. Every day that goes by without demolition is one step closer to winning 100% social housing at that site.

Thanks to Starlight for these photos.

Demolition safety concerns raised at Pantages: http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/News/local/2011/06/28/18348461.html

For Immediate Release
June 28, 2011

DTES residents to meet with inspector and demand: SHUT DOWN THE PANTAGES DEMOLITION SITE!

On the morning of Tuesday June 28th, when a Worksafe BC site inspector shows up to inspect the demolition site at the Pantages Theatre, Downtown Eastside residents will gather to demand Worksafe BC and the city rule it hazardous to workers and residents and shut it down. Is the city using double standards of health and safety when they permit demolition sites in different neighbourhoods? Come see for yourself:

DTES residents gather at Pantages Theatre TUESDAY JUNE 28 9:30AM PANTAGES THEATRE (140 E. Hastings St)

The scene at the Pantages demolition site is shocking:

Workers hired from the neighbourhood are tearing at the facade five stories up with crowbars. They are leaning over the edge and prying at the bricks. None of them have safety harnesses or respirators. The building frontage is not netted or protected from falling into the street. On the street below a lone flag person looks up, waiting for rubble to fall, suddenly leaps forward to shepherd passers-by out of harm’s way. Shirtless men without eye protection chip away in the back lot with pick hammers at bricks caked in fibrous fillers and masonry and stack the clean bricks in pallets of 500 for $25 a pallet.

It is no safer for pedestrians and traffic below:

Rather than the full plywood tunnels common beneath construction sites in other neighbourhoods, the 100-block of east Hastings got only a cobbled together scaffold and a precariously balanced fence that cuts off part of the sidewalk. Rubble from the demolition falls on the scaffold, fractures, and bounces into the street. The site supervisor told a DNC complainant to shut up, saying, “It’s just little bits of rock.”

The doors of adjoining buildings had been torn off in previous days’
demolitions and rubble poured out onto the sidewalk. The rubble is a mixture of brick, lead paint, rat droppings, cockroach casings, and ancient dust. Residents are worried that there could be asbestos in the wreckage. On each side of the open demolition site, without even a fixed fence on the back side of the open lot, are the open windows of the Regent and Brandiz hotel rooms. The only windows for these tiny rooms look out on a site that reeks badly of mold, mildew, and rot.

DNC board member Ivan Drury said, “I called Worksafe BC because the conditions of the demolition at Pantages are so different than what would be allowed in any other residential area in the city. The city and Worksafe BC are using a double standard where health and safety conditions in the DTES are concerned.”

On Friday Drury called 9-11 and then left messages with 3-11 and the city building inspector directly. He called Worksafe BC and spoke with a safety officer, who promised to send an inspector to the jobsite on Monday morning. None of the other inspection departments called back.

On Monday the site was still running the same as on Friday. Worksafe BC apologized for not doing a site inspection Monday and safety officer Ron Morehouse promised to send the regional inspector to the Pantages jobsite first thing Tuesday morning.

On Tuesday morning the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council will gather to meet the site inspector and demand that the same safety and health standards common in other neighbourhoods be enforced in the Downtown Eastside.

The Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council will demand:

1) The city and Worksafe BC must end the double standard and enforce demolition site health and safety conditions in the Downtown Eastside.

2) Worksafe BC must shut down the Pantages demolition site until the health and safety of workers, neighbours and pedestrians are secured.

For information on the Pantages demolition jobsite:

Ron Dyke, City of Vancouver Building Inspections manager

Ron Morehouse, Worksafe BC Safety Officer in charge of the Pantages complaint 1-888-621-7233, ext 1546

Ivan Drury, Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council

For more information:
Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council