Category Archives: Culture

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


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


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


City of Vancouver set to increase housing options for families

 

If approved, the housing mix policy would mandate more units for families in new strata and rental developments. Photo by the Canadian Press.

If approved, the housing mix policy would mandate more units for families in new strata and rental developments. Photo by the Canadian Press.

Vancouver council will consider measures next week designed to increase the number of family homes in new strata and rental buildings.

New policies outlined in a staff report to council would alter the housing mix in new condos by increasing the number of two and three bedroom apartments to create more options for families.

According to an official statement from Mayor Gregor Robertson, the housing mix policy “will help make our neighbourhoods more family friendly and vibrant, and ensure that as Vancouver grows, families can find housing options that work for them.”

Under the proposal, developers would have to ensure at least 35 per cent of the apartments in a new building contain two or three bedrooms to accommodate families.

The policy would apply to rezonings city-wide and would supersede existing family housing requirements in council-approved community plans such as Joyce-Collingwood or the Cambie Corridor.

Read the full article on CBC News


B.C.’s ‘Bollywood Boyz’ slam their way to the big leagues

Burnaby brothers Harv (left) and Gurv Sihra (right) made their WWE debut on June 23rd. Photo provided by the Bollywood Boyz.

Burnaby brothers Harv (left) and Gurv Sihra (right) made their WWE debut on June 23rd. Photo provided by the Harv Sihra.

“You can’t hold back true talent.”

That’s what professional wrestling icon Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart told Burnaby brothers and aspiring wrestlers Harv and Gurv Sihra in 2008, when they ran into the Canadian legend at wrestling event in Las Vegas.

“Over the last 10 years, whether we’re wrestling in front of 50 people in Winnipeg or 1,000 people in Vegas, we never forget that advice,” said Harv Sihra.

The Sihra brothers are better known by their in-ring alter egos, The Bollywood Boyz. They’re one of the highlights of the B.C.-based Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling promotion.

Once a month, you can find them sporting tights and tassels at the Russian Community Centre in Kitsilano, eliciting cheers, dancing and chants of “Butter Chicken!” from the crowd.

Read the rest of the article on CBC News


Sto:lo Nation Elders Lodge has growing wait list

Mary Emery sits quietly with her walker. Photo by Ricardo Khayatte

Mary Emery sits quietly with her walker. Photo by Ricardo Khayatte

When Bernice Williams wheels herself through the halls of her home, she passes by a framed obituary of her uncle, just one of many memoirs of the Sto:lo Nation’s most influential elders that hang on the walls.

After suffering years of domestic abuse and living on the streets of Chilliwack, B.C. without a home, Williams was able to find shelter in the Sto:lo Nation Elders Lodge — the only assisted-living facility for aboriginal seniors in British Columbia.

“I’m in a good place. I’ll never be homeless; I’ll never be hungry again. No beatings, no more black eyes, no more fat lips, no more broken bones — unless I fall down or something,” she said…

Read the story on CBC News British Columbia, including the radio version featured on Vancouver’s Early Edition

Read the story on UBC’s Indigenous Reporting webpage

Written by Jon Hernandez and Ricardo Khayatte


Record Store Day: A Hipster’s Black Friday

Long live the independent record store! Illustration by Brandon Cotter

Long live the independent record store! Illustration by Brandon Cotter

It’s that magical time of the year again where the music aficionados of Vancouver get tostorm the city’s record stores in search of great deals, live shows, and that golden vinyl that’s been evading them for so manyyears. But more importantly, it’s a chance to celebrate the great revival: the resurgence ofthe independent record store, and the unique culture that comes with it.

What most vinyl collectors will agree on is the record store atmosphere: music you’ve never heard spinning off the speakers, walls of pretty album covers that keep you occupied for hours, and a person behind the counter that knows way more about music than you do. In short, walking into these shops and picking up an album is a lot more fun than downloading anything online. And providing this experience is something that many record retailers across the city take pride in. “We’re trying to really celebrate the art, the artistic aspect of record collecting,” says Daniel Geddes, musician and co-founder of Horses Records, one of Vancouver’s newest vinyl shops. “We see records as the best way to listen to and collect music, and that’s one facet of our interest in art in general. The store is a celebration of intellect and creativity.”

Read the rest of the article in Discorder Magazine