Updated on April 5, 2009
Woodwards: “what dad built”
In a hectic 60-minute tour of the Woodwards project today, organized by developer Ian Gillespie and architect Gregory Henriquez for Premier Gordon Campbell, Mayor Gregor Robertson and city councillors, the most important speech was made by construction worker Gilbert Morven.
A member of the Nisga’a Nation, Morven is one of 18 Bladerunners working on the project who began as a trainee and begins work tomorrow as a crew lead hand.
Bladerunners takes street youth, often aboriginal, and supports them to undertake jobs in the construction industry.
Morven told the visitors of how the job, which he started “when it was just a hole,” has changed his life.
As a result of his time with Bladerunners, Morven hasl eft behind a very bad period. He still has little money, because he’s retiring his debts, but expects to qualify soon as a rebar worker with Red Seal certification. “After that, my wage bumps up and I’ll be happy as hell.” The VIPs burst into applause.
The experience has been so transformative that Morven has begun reaching out to other aboriginal young people who could benefit from his story and the program. It was a small example of the changes former councillor Jim Green, who was also on the tour, has always promised could flow from thoughtful development.
My favourite shots from the tour, including views from the roof, here.