One of the First Nations participants of Occupy Vancouver came to me a couple weeks ago and asked a favor. He told me about the water fountain that was installed in Grandview park in memory of Curtis Brick- a First Nations man who died of dehydration on July 29th 2009.
It was the hottest day that summer, Mr. Brick was first noticed laying in the park at 9am and appeared to be sleeping. Then at 4pm, someone noticed he was “in obvious physical distress”. Emergency services were called, and were not friendly when they arrived, they yelled to wake him up, and forced an oxygen mask on his face causing him to bleed. Nearby where many people enjoying a day at the park, and nobody else bothered to check on him all day.
Vancouver was disgraced. I remember reading about this from Montreal- a truly horrible chapter in our city’s history.
On September 17, 2011, Mayor Gregor dedicated a water fountain in Mr Brick’s memory. I’ve been told his speech mentioned that the fountain was placed there “So this never happens again”. Sounds good, right?
Well, I went to the fountain a few days ago and was appauled to see that the fountain is not working! How can this be! According to the city, the fountain has been turned-off for the winter. Something just doesn’t seem right about this…
Then, a day later, I was walking down Robson Street and saw a unique kind of water fountain. The top had a fountain for people, and the bottom had a fountain for dogs. And, you’d never believe it- but, both of these fountains are working!
I’m not sure what the message is here- but, I must say, it seems a bit crazy that a fountain for dogs works while a fountain meant to stop homeless people from dehydrating doesn’t. I’m sure there is a technical excuse- that said, it seems rather disrespectful…