Demolition at Pearson

We knew it was coming…we’ve had so many planning meetings and seen so many maps and memos – but it became real when the first Pearson building came down in August. The first buildings were old buildings – the old boiler house, unused sheds, and the old ‘Ward 7’ which had been rented by outside groups for many years.

We had a celebration in June of the ‘launch’ of redevelopment, and to honour the past. The Polio Pavilion was constructed in 1955 as an addition to George Pearson Centre (Pearson Hospital as it was then called) which was built in 1952. This Polio Pavilion became known as Ward 7 and was soon used as a ventilator ward for more than just polio patients. In the 1990s these residents moved into the main Pearson building, and Ward 7 became a rental space to community groups.

We invited some of the past residents of Ward 7 to spend some moments in that space, to remember, and to say goodbye.

GPC’s old Ward 7 – Polio Pavilion – demolished

The old Boiler Stack at GPC

 

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Accessible Garden Club continues to Grow

There is a bountiful lush green community garden tucked between buildings containing offices and bedrooms, where Pearson staff work and Pearson residents live. It is wheelchair accessible, with a wide cement patio and heavy equestrian mats between the beds. Residents have their own plot, and from March to October they plan and grow various veggies, fruit and flowers. Gardeners meet weekly, and volunteers help facilitate gardeners as needed. Gardeners choose between ground beds and raised table top beds, like the one below.

Mario’s table top garden has the most amazing snap peas this year. He’s donated a couple pounds of snap peas to the community kitchen!

Snap Peas of Mario!

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Freshly harvested Broccoli into Soup

For community kitchen last month, we turned our Garden Club’s freshly harvested broccoli into a delicious creamy broccoli soup.

We planted these babies last summer and the plants overwintered well – so in March the little sprouting broccoli started to appear, and now in April we are in full harvest mode. The harvest gave us a few pounds altogether.

Because some people are lactose intolerant, we used cannellini beans to make it creamy (and filling) instead of cream or milk. It was a hit. Here’s the basic recipe:

Able Community Kitchen’s Harvest Broccoli Soup

2 lb broccoli

oil

2 yellow onion diced

4 garlic cloves minced

2 x 15-oz can cannellini beans

5 cups vegetable stock / water

Salt n pepper

Shredded cheese for optional topping

DIRECTIONS

  1. Steam broccoli about 3 minutes. Reserve some for garnish
  2. Saute onion in oil about 10 mins, add garlic for 3-5 mins
  3. Add beans and stock, bring to simmer
  4. Add salt and pepper
  5. Remove from heat, add broccoli
  6. Puree until smooth
  7. Garnish each bowl with broccoli and cheese

Enjoy!

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Modular Housing Springs Up

Looking south, with George Pearson Centre on the left and new modular homes under construction on the right. The first new neighbours move in within a few weeks.

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Breakfast for Dinner wins again

This time, with photos. We had about 25 people for dinner, more than usual. We ran out of plates! And most of the food. For beverages, we had sparkling apple juice or fresh squeezed orange juice. The pile of oranges was much bigger than this and smelled amazing:

We also made a fruit smoothie using raspberries frozen from last year’s harvest. The residents’ gardens have a giant raspberry patch so we always have plenty to freeze.

We also made pancakes out in the main dining space so we could hand out pancakes as they came hot off the griddle! With those pancakes we had real maple syrup and orange vanilla honey yogurt.

From the oven we served Rosemary Roasted Roots (potatoes, yams & carrots). And of course, bacon – both regular bacon and turkey bacon. We also did eggs to order – fried or omelet. Now that’s something you don’t get on a hospital tray-style meal!

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Parking Lot Redevelopment

The parking lot at the main entrance of Pearson has recently been greatly reduced. We are down to about 40 parking spots – where before there were closer to 100. For now, parking on the street is free so if the lot is full, parking elsewhere isn’t too hard to find.

Watching this structure go up makes the redevelopment real. It will be 2 stories and quite large – too bad it won’t actually house anyone! That will be fulfilled by the new modular housing development that is being built at the corner of Heather and W 59th – due to open in a month or so.

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Temporary Modular Housing in Marpole

Recently, in late October, the City of Vancouver announced, without consultation, that they would be building temporary modular housing next door to George Pearson Centre, at the corner of Heather and W 59th Ave. The space has been unused lawn for as long as anyone can remember.

Looking towards Heather and W 59th Ave

 

For Pearson folks, it was a bit shocking to learn about something as a done deal, without any prior consultation. But we understand that housing the homeless is something few people advocate for in their back yard. In fact, a lot of the neighbours are protesting against it.

From the City’s website: “Our next housing development will be home to two, three-storey buildings; each with 39 homes (total of 78 homes) for homeless residents….Both buildings will be managed by Community Builders, an experienced supportive and low-income housing provider with 15 years of experience in Vancouver’s urban core area specializing in tenant support for persons with a variety of needs.”

At the recent November 14th Resident Council meeting, George Pearson Centre residents discussed this new development, which is expected to spring up very quickly, to house people this coming winter. Residents have some concerns about what new neighbours will bring, but no one suggested that this shouldn’t happen. We discussed inviting the new neighbours to events at Pearson. Everyone needs a home, said a resident.

It was heart warming to learn that some nearby high school students are standing up for this development, as well. Read more here and here.

 

 

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GPC Residents heard at City’s Public Hearing

On July 20, 2017, three GPC Residents were able to go and speak at the City of Vancouver’s public hearing on the rezoning application.

Several more were heard in a new method – pre-recorded video contribution. This enabled people who would not otherwise be heard, to speak up. Many who live at George Pearson Centre cannot easily attend an hours-long hearing in person. Kudos to the City for allowing a new form of contribution – we hope it continues.

Pat, resident of George Pearson Centre, speaks her mind at the Public Hearing.

It is unfortunate that there were no GPC residents present at the 2014 Pearson Dogwood Policy Statement hearing at the City. Their voices were missed, and decisions were made that appear to exclude the wishes of the most vulnerable residents. While the independent housing is welcomed by many, those who prefer larger group living similar to the current Pearson model are left without a home on this site.

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Feedback on Housing Design

The redevelopment planning continues for the land on which George Pearson Centre sits. In 2016, members of Resident Council became concerned that very few residents were directly engaged in the planning. It is a complex process that is inherently difficult for Pearson residents to be a part of without various kinds of support.

So, Resident Council asked VCH to fulfill its commitment made in the policy plan to consult and collaborate with Pearson residents as part of the planning process. As a result, VCH has facilitated two open houses, several focus groups and some one-on-one interviews. There will be two reports – Part 1 gathers feedback on Housing Design, while Part 2 looks at the Care Models.

The results of Part 1 are posted here. Download Report 1: Housing Design

The reports will go to the City of Vancouver as part of the rezoning application. Anyone who wishes to attend or speak at the public hearing can do so. Information can be found here:

http://vancouver.ca/your-government/public-hearings.aspx

http://vancouver.ca/your-government/speak-at-city-council-meetings.aspx

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the Great Pearson Pumpkin

Pearson’s Garden Club grew another giant pumpkin this year. We received the seedlings from a volunteer’s friend and started a friendly plant competition. One pumpkin pulled ahead in the race for biggest size. When harvested, the Great Pearson Pumpkin weighed 340 lbs. After we chopped the pumpkin up (which took considerable time and effort) some was given away for baking, cooking etc.

You can read about the 2015 pumpkin (a mere 242 lbs) here.

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