Friday, November 5, 2010

Another Dad pays a visit ...

About a month ago my dad called to say that he was considering coming to visit us in Vancouver. In my 32 years on the planet my father has never taken a 'side trip' to see me so I was immediately suspicious. I had visions of Ron reviewing our budget and revising our shared equity agreement. There are still three days left in his visit so I don't put it past him that he'll want to do that but so far it's really been special to have him around. Every daughter wants their dad's approval and I am definitely no different. While in previous postings I've painted Ron Schatz as a catastrophist, you'll see from his own words below that he's really a supportive, funny and insightful dad.

Ron Schatz speaks:
I arrived in Vancouver on 31 October after spending a few days in Saskatchewan reconnecting with family. I decided to maximize my Aeroplan miles and visit with Akua and the Purdy's. I arrived to find deep trenches and Stephen the cat acting a bit skittish as his familiar marking spots in the back yard have been removed.

The visit started with a tour of Vancouver's progressive housing and city planning initiatives. Akua, in her usual participatory style, asked me to accompany her to an interview with some occupants of social housing in Gas Town, a location that she is using for an urban housing class. We then set out on tour (on foot of course) in the West End. Her positive attitude and enthusiasm is quite infectious and I needed all of it as I somehow ended up carrying her fairly heavy bag along the way. At one point I had to hand it over after I slipped down an embankment near East Lagoon and found jeans covered in mud. Suddenly with the mud enhanced appearance I had this rapid affinity with the social environment. As we passed one fellow who kind of looked like an artist with a fair amount of hair stuffed into his head gear, he muttered "f'ing fagot" as we passed. Whether it was my smile or my appearance who knows, but we had a good laugh about that. Anyway back to the mini home.

If you appreciate construction sites as I do, then the mini home now emerging is a fascinating place to be these days. In order to create a fully functional house the effort over the past few days has been on basic water supply, drainage and sanitary systems by connecting and extending (and sometimes improving) the existing systems that serve the main house of Roger and Barbara. The mini home, while relatively small in footprint, has all the technical and construction features of a house much bigger in size. One thing stays the same, and even might be more important given the infill location, that is the need for excellent project management to keep the project on track. That is where Smallworks, the design and construction company comes in and they look to be doing an excellent job.

Bruce from Smallworks on the job.

So this is Vancouver, a place of innovation in housing, transport, environment and socially responsible initiative. It has always been thus as new ideas emerge in the West and move East.

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