This post is a duplicate of a post in my Carrall Street Journal.
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!
Did someone push this guy and leave him here in front of the methadone pharmacy or did he decide to just take a rest in the cart?
This post is a duplicate of a post in my Carrall Street Journal.
This afternoon Vancouver City Council will be addressing the situation of the Boulder Hotel development proposal, which has been in the works for some time now. Incorporating the old Pig and Whistle one-story building into an innovative residential/commercial project, the developers are looking for more support from the city to bring life back into this building that hasn’t seen use on its upper floors for over 28 years. From the street it doesn’t look abandoned, as there have always been restaurants on its main floor, notably the new Boneta has been making a bit of a splash. But two floors above the restaurant have been empty for all this time.
The project has been brought by the developers twice to the civic Gastown Heritage and Planning Committee for consultation and approval of plans, particularly for heritage facade considerations. It definitely is a pity that this building which had been in the original centre of Vancouver should have been left to languish for so many years. Archival photos show this building in its heyday surrounded by bustling crowds, active and well-used. As Gastown changes, this building is in a prime location for redevelopment. There have been many delays in this project going past the planning stage, due to its need for more city support – which for some has been a contentious issue. The result of closed-door meetings between city staff and committees and the developers will be brought to Council today.
On the corner of Carrall and Cordova both the Ranier Hotel and the Boulder Hotel buildings have been unused for some time. They face each other across the intersection at Cordova. The Ranier appears to be undergoing some minor changes, but the main floor, boarded up and inactive at this time, faces the new upscale Boneta restaurant at the Boulder Hotel. It is a picture of the rate of change and the current transformation of this area.
A worker in the alley behind the hotel
Just across from the action, one of the boxes for used needles blends in with graffiti now that it has been bent over. The city has placed these needle boxes throughout the alleys in the Downtown Eastside.
Needle box in laneway off Carrall, between Pender and Hastings
Another part of the City’s Carrall Street Greenway site that is definitely worth a peek is their great interactive buildings inventory page. Mousing over the map reveals a photo of the building along with some current and historical information on it. Click on this page image to explore it for yourself.
Construction signs are up for the Carrall Greenway. It’s been a long time coming, and there will be quite a few congested days before the whole thing is completed. However, I know the finished greenway will be a real asset to the whole community. The first sign I saw was on Powell Street, warning of the Greenway construction – fantastic! Then another day, the orange sign was on Carrall, before Keefer. This city means it this time, and we’ll see a remarkable change in the nature of the street.
The Carrall Street Stewardship Group really did include all stakeholders at the table for this one, but of course there is bound to be a critique. I’d heard rumours that deals were made for access across the tracks – which would feed Carrall directly into the proposed and contested stadium. One thing the Stewardship Group endorsed was the support of the SROs in the area and a commitment to housing that would not displace those who live along the street.
Naturally there will be plenty of changes to the area over the next two years. The development on the corner of Carrall and Cordova will see renovation and development in a building whose upper floors have been vacant for over 27 years, and there is definitely something going on behind the hoarding at the old Spinning Wheel location beside the Blarney Stone. When the old bank building that faces into Pigeon Park on Hastings and Carrall finally becomes the media center which has been planned, we will see a whole new Carrall Street.
Those of us who have lived here for a while were surprised by the change that the two way street brought to us. Imagine the impact of the Greenway. Can’t wait to see how this greenway functions on this remarkable Vancouver street, which is a microcosm of Vancouver history and identity.
Great news for Carrall Street and housing advocates: Funding is finally in place to get going on the 44 unit housing project for low-income people who are at risk of becoming homeless. The building on the corner of Carrall and Hastings has been covered in murals on hoarding for years it seems. Finally some action! Construction begins January, to create 250 sq ft units that will be completed in 2008.
The ground floor will be commercial/retail, with residential floors above. Funding partners include the federal government, the City of Vancouver, Concord Pacific, and finally – the Province of BC which will kick in with rent subsidies.
“The renovated hotel will provide new homes for low-income Downtown Eastside residents and is a great example of what we can achieve by working together,” Rich Coleman, minister responsible for housing, said Friday.
But 44 units are only a start. We’re looking out for more housing for the homeless and near-homeless. This is not the time to turn our backs on those who need to have the basics of life. We need more than good wishes, but political will, funding, and intelligent partnerships to tackle this enormous social problem.