Monthly Archives: July 2016

Chile’s migration boom has led to a major housing crisis

Chile’s healthy economy and political stability is drawing more and more economic migrants from across Latin America to pursue ‘the Chilean Dream.’

The country’s foreign-born population has doubled in the last five years, reaching 500,000 migrants. And that number is expected to double again in the next decade.

The rapid population growth has spurred a major housing crisis, as thousands of migrant families have been unable to afford a place to live.

VICE News correspondent Daniel Hernandez meets camp residents, activists, and politicians to explore how the face of Chile is changing in the wake the migration boom.

Watch the documentary on VICE News

Read the corresponding print article “Bolivians are braving land mines and the world’s driest desert to get into Chile” written by myself and colleagues Michelle Ghoussoub and Ahmed Najdat

Advertisements

Bolivians are braving land mines and the world’s driest desert to get into Chile

An encampment on the outskirts of the Chilean port city of Arica, where numerous documented migrants have been forced to settle. Photo by Jon Hernandez

An encampment on the outskirts of the Chilean port city of Arica, where numerous documented migrants have been forced to settle. Photo by Jon Hernandez

by Jon Hernandez, Michelle Ghoussoub, and Ahmed Najdat

When Guadalupe left her home in Bolivia, she hoped she would find a better life for her family. She settled on the outskirts of Arica, a major port in the north of Chile on the border with Peru, where she lives with her husband and three children.

But they do not have electricity, running water, or even a ceiling.

“The fridge doesn’t work,” she said, as the hot desert sun shone through the open roof. “And here’s where we do the dishes,” she added, pointing to a bucket of brown water.

A decrepit couch, a rusted stroller, and torn-up Chilean flags sat outside her front door, in a makeshift encampment on the fringes of the Atacama desert, the driest place on earthoutside of Antarctica.

Her next door neighbour, Maura — who, like Guadalupe, asked that her last name be omitted, for security reasons — also fled Bolivia, with the same dreams.

Read the rest of the article on VICE News


Failed reforestation attempt near Creston raises red flag

A failed operations audit has left small logging company Arrow Glenn Ltd. in hot water. Photo by Getty Images.

A failed operations audit has left small logging company Arrow Glenn Ltd. in hot water. Photo by Getty Images.

A failed reforestation effort in the Kootenays has left B.C.’s logging watchdog concerned.

Arrow Glenn Ltd, a private logging company with access to over 600 hectares of forested land in B.C., failed to reforest several clear-cuts near Creston — a direct violation of the regulatory Forest and Range Practices Act.

According to a two-year random audit from the Forest Practices Board, Arrow Glenn had seven years to replant trees in numerous clear-cuts but failed to meet minimum standards. They also failed to submit mandatory annual progress reports to the government.

“In the case of a licensee not meeting reforestation obligations, that’s not good stewardship — or stewardship period,” said Timothy Ryan, chair of the FPB.

Read the full article on CBC News


Let’s go to the dam pub: Site C wants in-camp watering hole

Site C dam's 1,600 camp workers might be getting their own bar. Photo by Shutterstock.

Site C dam’s 1,600 camp workers might be getting their own bar. Photo by Shutterstock.

Workers at the Site C Dam might soon be able tip back a cold one after a long day’s work — at their own private bar.

A liquor licence application for a new Site C lounge is making it’s way through the B.C.’s liquor control branch that hopes to bring the dam’s 1,600 workers “a glass of wine on a balmy summer evening, or a warm drink on a cold winter night,” according to the proposal.

The application was made by ACTO Two Rivers, the company hired to develop Site C’s workforce housing. The proposed tavern would open up inside worker-camp dwellings, pending the approval of a liquor-primary licence from the government.

The Site C lounge would be exclusive to workers and invited guests, offering “tantalizing appetizers”, “specialty cocktails”, and a “Happy Hour atmosphere”, according to ACTO Two Rivers.

A liquor licence application went before the Peace River Regional District board on Thursday. The board decided not to comment on the application, meaning the onus is now on the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch to determine if the bar will benefit the community.

Read the rest of the article on CBC News


‘It was loud and just really scary’: Neighbour describes harrowing escape

Five children narrowly escaped their flaming Port Moody home. Their father has been charged with arson in connection with the blaze. Photo by Jon Hernandez/CBC.

Five children narrowly escaped their flaming Port Moody home. Their father has been charged with arson in connection with the blaze. Photo by Jon Hernandez/CBC.

Kylie Schlotter was getting ready to go to a friend’s wedding when she noticed flames emerging from her neighbour’s home across the street. She knew there was a large family that lived inside.

“We saw two kids climb out through the window onto the roof,” she said. “Before we knew it, there were police cars coming, and the flames started to grow in a matter of seconds.”

Five children managed to escape their Port Moody home as the flames grew behind them. Their mother was taken to the hospital with severe burns but couldn’t be saved.

Their father has been charged with second-degree murder and two counts of arson. His identity and the details of the case are protected under a publication ban.

Read the rest of the article on CBC News


City looks to jack up parking prices in the West End

The City of Vancouver is looking to increase the price of parking permits in the West End — and introduce new meters. Photo b CBC.

The City of Vancouver is looking to increase the price of parking permits in the West End — and introduce new meters. Photo b CBC.

Parking in Vancouver’s West End could get a lot pricier.

The city is sending out feelers to West End residents in the form of an online survey to find out just how many people support a potential 700 per cent increase to annual on-street parking permits.

With enough support, the city would increase the annual permit rate from $80 to $600 and eliminate free 2-hour parking spaces in favour of meters as part of the West End Parking Strategy, pending approval from council.

According to Vancouver transportation director Lon LaClaire. the price hikes will encourage current permit holders to look for alternatives and free up parking space.

“The target is that we want to have 15 per cent of the spaces of available so you don’t spend a bunch of time driving around looking for parking, adding to congestion and to the traffic problem, “said LaClaire.

The changes would reduce the maddening hunt for parking that many West End drivers endure by five minutes and one kilometer, according to a study conducted by the City.

“We’ve had general support from across the community, with exception of the current permit holders — and that’s understandable,” he added.

The new rate would be grandfathered in, meaning only new applicants would incur the updated costs.

Read the rest of the article on CBC News


The Silent Rise of HIV in Chile

VICE News has partnered with the University of British Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism and student journalists from the International Reporting Program for Hidden in Plain Sight: stories of HIV and migration in Chile.

Around the world the number of new HIV cases is steadily dropping.

But in Chile, one of South America’s most prosperous nations, the virus is on the rise. This spike in new cases is affecting some of the country’s most vulnerable populations, including young people, women and indigenous groups.

While authorities claim they are doing what they can to stop the spread of the disease, decisive action has been limited. An estimated 50 per cent of people living with the virus in Chile remain undiagnosed. In December last year, Planned Parenthood International ranked the country’s sex education policy the worst in Latin America.

VICE News correspondent Daniel Hernandez visited the towns in Chile with the highest HIV concentrations, and speaks to activists, medical professionals, and the community at large who have taken the fight against HIV/AIDS into their own hands.

Watch the documentary on VICE News

Read the corresponding print article “HIV is spreading in Chile — and lots of people don’t know they have it” written by my colleagues Peter Mothe, Natalie Walters, Codi Hauka and Konstantine Roccas