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Downtown Eastside Restaurant Target Of Protestors


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#1 DonLever

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:49 PM

Pidgin restaurant continues to draw protests

CBC News

Posted: Feb 20, 2013 9:59 AM PT

Last Updated: Feb 20, 2013 5:25 PM P


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A new high-end restaurant in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside continues to be the focus of nightly protests, amid a clash between those redeveloping the area and critics who say the poor are being pushed out.
Pidgin restaurant opened on Carrall Street in February, directly opposite Pigeon Park, a drug-dealing landmark and makeshift home for many of the area’s troubled residents.
Protesters say the restaurant -- which offers a modern menu fusing Asian and French flavours - is gentrifying the area and the premises would be better used for housing.
Co-owner Brandon Grossutti says demonstrators have been gathering outside on a nightly basis.
"They have shone flashlights into our restaurant, so we had to block out the windows," he said. "The big thing is the screaming and intimidating our guests."Posted ImageHigh-end Pidgin restaurant (on the right) sits directly opposite notorious Pigeon Park (on the left). (CBC)
Vancouver's Downtown Eastside is undergoing a dramatic transformation as trendy new restaurants and new condo developments pop up.
But Grossutti believes he has a responsibility to the neighbourhood.
"There is a guy down here who is now our dishwasher and at the time was homeless and I used to take him out for groceries all the time," he said.
"I said to him about two years ago, 'When this project takes off you have a job.'"
'Saturation point'

Grossutti said he employs as many low-income people as he can and helps local charities, but to the protesters outside the restaurant represents a tipping point.
The protestors say the area now has too many high-end businesses and still doesn’t have enough social housing.
"We are past the saturation point for that," one demonstrator told CBC News. "It means the real estate values are going up … and people get displaced."
Grossutti agreed there needs to be a dialogue about the lack of good social housing, but said it's important to have a mix of people in a neighbourhood.Posted ImageCo-owner Brandon Grossutti hoped Pidgin would open a dialogue about providing dignified housing in the area. (CBC)
"It's not the Downtown Eastside and the rest of Vancouver — it is Vancouver. It's time we start talking about how we work together," he said.
"There is a discussion that needs to be had but I still feel as though, rather than a building sitting empty with boarded up windows, this is creating jobs, paying taxes and stimulating the economy."
Protester Dave Diewert disagrees.
"We are supposed to be grateful for some of the housing in these projects but what come with the gift are the shock troops of gentrification that take over the place and render space a completely alien space for low income people," he said.
Protestors say they won't leave until the restaurant goes out of business.
But Grossutti says the protests are actually helping prevent that — the restaurant's phone has not stopped ringing with calls from supporters.

Edited by DonLever, 20 February 2013 - 11:53 PM.

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#2 Lancaster

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:14 AM

So, some poverty pimps wants to retain their clientele and perpetuate the problem.
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#3 Harbinger

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:19 AM

Not really interesting to me. Had to stop reading after I got to the guys name. Grossutti. I think his name is hilarious.
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#4 stexx

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 12:35 AM

*
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going to his restaurant tuesday before the phoenix game to support this guy he doesnt deserve this crap.
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#5 Common sense

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:09 AM

Well...what won't they protest?
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#6 Primus099

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:38 AM

waah people have more money than us so we're going to bitch and moan outside an expensive restaurant

these people are as useless as the occupy movement protestors
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#7 masutheakita

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:45 AM

you are not really poor, if you have time to make a sign and protest.
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#8 masutheakita

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:46 AM

you are not really poor, if you have time and resources to make a sign and protest.


FTFY

Edited by masutheakita, 21 February 2013 - 01:48 AM.

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#9 DeNiro

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:58 AM

I'm all for helping people in need, but I can't stand people that act as if they're owed something. Like society owes them something for them choosing a life of drugs.

To be clear, not saying all people in the downtown east side are like this, but there are lots of them that are. People that just don't wanna work, and get high all day while they collect money from other hard working taxpayers.
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#10 Buggernut

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:58 AM

If these protesters care about their neighbourhood so much, why don't they fight just as hard to push the drug dealers and other bigger blights out of their neighbourhood?

Edited by Buggernut, 21 February 2013 - 01:59 AM.

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#11 DeNiro

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:05 AM

If these protesters care about their neighbourhood so much, why don't they fight just as hard to push the drug dealers and other bigger blights out of their neighbourhood?


Because then where would they get their drugs?

Seriously though, it is hard to get on their side when there seems to be so many slimeballs among them.

If they could actually organize something meaningful, instead of childish whining and disrupting businesses, then maybe people would sympathize with them.
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#12 Primus099

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:14 AM

Because then where would they get their drugs?

Seriously though, it is hard to get on their side when there seems to be so many slimeballs among them.

If they could actually organize something meaningful, instead of childish whining and disrupting businesses, then maybe people would sympathize with them.


that's why that whole joke of a protest all those occupy losers had failed miserably, it just became a giant tent city full of heroin addicts with no coherent message. these are probably the same people
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#13 Dellins

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:14 AM

I'll make sure to drop by for lunch some day... give the protesters a good ol' Happy Lappy smile.
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#14 Salmonberries

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:17 AM

Main and Hastings was a real neighborhood when I was a kid, with real shops, department stores, restaurants ,nightclubs and movie theaters. As a kid I used to enjoy going to movies at the beautiful old City Nights Theater across from the Balmoral Hotel on Hastings that opened as a vaudeville theater in 1908 and, with the negligence of city council, was sadly demolished last winter. I would love to see the resurrection of what is an historic Vancouver neighborhood. People today would be amazed if they could have seen the area as recently as the sixties and early seventies before it went to shambles. It deserves a better fate, it was once the downtown core of this city.
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#15 DonLever

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:13 AM

Main and Hastings was a real neighborhood when I was a kid, with real shops, department stores, restaurants ,nightclubs and movie theaters. As a kid I used to enjoy going to movies at the beautiful old City Nights Theater across from the Balmoral Hotel on Hastings that opened as a vaudeville theater in 1908 and, with the negligence of city council, was sadly demolished last winter. I would love to see the resurrection of what is an historic Vancouver neighborhood. People today would be amazed if they could have seen the area as recently as the sixties and early seventies before it went to shambles. It deserves a better fate, it was once the downtown core of this city.


Good luck for any hope of resurrection in that area. Just look at this protest and other protests whenever some improvement is done in the area. Remember the Save on Meats that reopened last year. Same bunch of protestors despite the owner hiring local people.

The restaurant that opened replace a vacant storefront that has been empty for 20 years. It previously was a pawnshop. So how is it displacing residents when that building never housed people. And what do the protestors want in its place? A crack shop? Dollar store, another used goods store for buying stolen stuff?

They say they are displaced by rents going up. Come up, who is going to live in the run down, cockroached filled hotels anyway?
And any condos that go up are on former commercial property. There is not a single rundown SRO like the Balmoral that have been torn down and replaced by condos.
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#16 Salmonberries

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:32 AM

Bah. The junkies are just gonna have to get over their elitism and get used to rubbing shoulders with rest of us folks.
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#17 Offensive Threat

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:18 AM

, with the negligence of city council, was sadly demolished last winter.


Yes, the city of Vancouver, with its budget already stretched to the max should spend millions they dont have on old buildings that need to be torn down. That theatre should have gotten millions of city dollars to purchase, more to refurbish and even more every day to upkeep so you could wax nostalgic about "the good ole days". They would have to raise taxes to afford it but its a small price to pay to keep progress at bay .Keep it the way it was? For what? A sinkhole to throw our tax dollars into. A number of buildings in this city have the cultural or historical significance to keep but most are just buildings and when they outlive their purpose they get torn down. Somebody didnt want whatever was there before the theatre torn down, or the field paved over or whatever it was. City council did its job.
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#18 Mr. Ambien

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:25 AM

These protesters do not look that poor to me, more like contemporary crybabies expecting a handout.
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#19 Electro Rock

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 09:27 AM

If they ever fix up that neighborhood and clear out most of the parasites, it'll benefit the whole core of the city.

The fact that this hasn't happened years ago already, says a lot, and none of it good.
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#20 RUPERTKBD

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 10:52 AM

I saw a story about this on CBC news yesterday. There was one guy who hit the nail on the head. He said "This has to be the only city in the world where people actually protest an improvement!"

Personally, I think the cops should break this up. These people have no right to picket a restaurant just because they don't like it.
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#21 Harbinger

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:12 AM

I saw a story about this on CBC news yesterday. There was one guy who hit the nail on the head. He said "This has to be the only city in the world where people actually protest an improvement!"

Personally, I think the cops should break this up. These people have no right to picket a restaurant just because they don't like it.


You're right they don't have that right. That's actually one of the Fundamental Freedoms guaranteed by the Charter of rights and freedoms.
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#22 Special Ed

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:14 AM

going to his restaurant tuesday before the phoenix game to support this guy he doesnt deserve this crap.


Yup. Redevelope the Hastings area? Sign me up.
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#23 mpt

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:28 AM

Give them all a one way ticket back to Alberta. I'm tired of people complaining, it's not like he has shark fin soup on the menu, the guy is a legit entrepreneur doing an honest days work and even employing a now ex homeless guy.
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#24 Harbinger

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:33 AM

Give them all a one way ticket back to Alberta. I'm tired of people complaining, it's not like he has shark fin soup on the menu, the guy is a legit entrepreneur doing an honest days work and even employing a now ex homeless guy.



You should go there and support him then. You have that freedom if you want. You can just go there and either counter protest or you can go spend some money in his restaurant. Rather than simply complaining you can actually do something.
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#25 Electro Rock

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:08 PM

You should go there and support him then. You have that freedom if you want. You can just go there and either counter protest or you can go spend some money in his restaurant. Rather than simply complaining you can actually do something.


Supporting the owner with business is one thing but expecting people with lives and jobs to be out there counter-protesting is not reasonable.

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#26 literaphile

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:58 PM

Personally, I think the cops should break this up. These people have no right to picket a restaurant just because they don't like it.


Sure they do. That's what s.2 of the Charter is for:

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
a. freedom of conscience and religion;
b. freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
c. freedom of peaceful assembly; and
d. freedom of association.

(edited to fix formatting)

Edited by literaphile, 21 February 2013 - 02:00 PM.

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#27 RUPERTKBD

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:08 PM

Sure they do. That's what s.2 of the Charter is for:

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:          
a.  freedom of conscience and religion;          
b. freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
c. freedom of peaceful assembly; and
d. freedom of association.

(edited to fix formatting)


So tell me this: If someone decides they don't like your place of business, (for whatever reason they see fit) you believe it okay for them to stand outside with signs and actively trying to prevent customers from patronizing it?
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#28 Buggernut

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:15 PM

Sure they do. That's what s.2 of the Charter is for:

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
a. freedom of conscience and religion;
b. freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
c. freedom of peaceful assembly; and
d. freedom of association.

(edited to fix formatting)


Can we picket outside your house all day and night?
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#29 Wetcoaster

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:21 PM

Can we picket outside your house all day and night?

Certainly.
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#30 Buggernut

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:28 PM

Certainly.


And literaphile will have absolutely no problem with it, I imagine.
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