The Pearson BuzzThe Pearson Buzz
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Rants and Raves

Black Towers Over There?
by Hiromi

There once was Middlegate Mall on Kingsway, two blocks west of Edmond Street. It was a dump all right, so I didnít feel a thing when the demolition started.

The new development of the site began in 2004 with a huge excavation. Neighboursóretirees with baseball caps, moms with strollers, and childrenóstopped by the fences and watched the bulldozers dig deep into the earth. Then huge trucks with concrete mixers and steel pipes came. A crane was built.

It was truly amazing to witness the progress of the construction. I have no idea whatsoever, but someone, engineers, all figured out how to build the massive buildings. They laid the foundation, installed electric and plumbing systems, and God knows what else. I saw the building growing higher and higher each day. Look what human beings are capable of! I was in awe.

But as the second, and the third highrise were getting on the way, I grew uneasy. I didnít like the buildings growing up to the sky. I didnít like their windows looking at my living room. They began to look óto meólike Sauronís Black Towers.

This is the truth: a highrise is ugly. Itís like a cardboard box stuck in the ground.

A flyer came at my door one day. A suite in Highgate Village (thatís the name of the development) is for sale. A penthouse (thatís what they said) of 850 sq. feet is 400,000 dollars.

Thatís an insult. This is not downtown Vancouver. Itís Burnaby. I donít care if itís market value or not. Itís not even  land. Only a little space up in the air!

We build condos because we need affordable housing, or so investors can play the money game? I hear a big shot with a fine suit laughing in his spectacular office. Iíd rather give the suites to the workers who built the building with their own hands. I saw them every day. In rain and through the cold winter. I saw them standing at the edge of the floor high up, washing walls and polishing the surface.

My mother-in-law tells me that there was an orchard in Burnaby fifty years ago. An orchard of apples and plums. And I imagine this place another fifty years before and fifty years from now. Do you see what I see?

We are determined to dominate. Profit is our priority. We multiply and invade the place. We call it prosperity,  but Iím not sure. Never mind me. Iím talking nonsense. Iíd better pack up and move to a mountain and live in a cave, huh?