Eek O’ Density – DTES residents give list of questions to city planners

On March 22, 2008, 60-100 DTES residents packed the Carnegie Theatre to talk about condo towers coming to the DTES. Paper and pensils were passed around the theatre and residents wrote questions about eco-density for the senior planners and put them in a box. These are the questions we didn’t have time to answer. We sent them to the planners and hope to get some answers.

1. Will the Planning Department recommend that council delete action item 12 (which names the DTES for eco-density)?

2. Why does the city reward slumlords by letting them speculate for huge profits?

3. What are the objectives to preserve Heritage Bldgs and to renovate SROs/hotels social housing (rundown)?

4. Why did city council (NPA) choose eco-density over social affordable housing?

5. Density-eco? DTES is dense with poverty and homelessness. We do not want condos. We want affordable housing for many people of low income as a PRIORITY. What is ecological about condos?

6. How would the new plan benefit the poor on the eastside?

7. What will happen to the family fabric as the building from block to block speeds up?

8. Why isn’t social housing part of eco-density?

9. Exactly how does the planning dept. think it can persuade the city to protect the low income community in the dtes?

10. Where do you want to push the poor to? And will the city help move and accommodate them?
11. We need more green space, not anymore concrete slabs.

12. Why don’t you recommend rescinding eco-density Action 12?

13. 1 for 1 replacement. What about homeless, working poor, couples, families, seniors, people with disabilities?

14. What % of your position as planning staff caters to council as opposed to the community at large?

15. Do you not think that more density (ie condos) in this area will not be over-crowding? Look at Yaletown! Do we really want to look like all those condos over there?

16. Who’s responsible for providing the amenities that DTES condo owners will need? What guarantee is there that this responsibility will be fulfilled?

17. Brent and Jessica keep mentioning the ‘tools’ they have. Re: the power they say they don’t have. Why don’t they as planners, recommending to COV, suggest checks and balances to/for developers?
Eg, if a developer does guarantee “x” (in support of housing for current DTES residents), then said developer will be allowed /get “y”. Without this, the developer will call all the shots.

18. What of the water sources needed and the recycling encouragement, garbage generated?

19. Who planned where the Olympic Athletes village is located? Convince people this isn’t a quick cover-up to gentrify this area.

20. Is it possible to keep the zoning re: the buildings not to exceed 10 stories for this area? Social housing, not condos.

21. With the working poor being displaced resulting in them receiving higher priority for the available social housing units, do you propose to amend this in a timely manner?

22. Eco-Density doesn’t go with environment natural disasters Earthquake/windstorm/ fewer green-land, setting up for failures for Vancouver. Just beautifying before 2010 obviously.

23. You have said that our neighbourhood is denser than any other part of the city. If so, why would the DTES be considered for eco-density?

24. Article 12 repudiates the 2000 Gastown Heritage Management plan which repeatedly stressed retention of the “saw-tooth” architecture style of heritage buildings in Gastown. When was it decided that this no longer matters? Why does the public realm in the DE deserve different treatment when our architecture is identical?

25. Social housing programs have long waiting lists. How are we gonna rectify the problem? Homelessness/families low income. What is happening with Storyeum?

26. Why are the most basic shelter requirements not adequately provided? Many times, the Crosswalk, Belkin House, Catholic Charities, The Beacon, the Anchor, and Union Gospel Mission have all been full in recent months, especially on Sunday nights. But also sometimes on other nights. Lots of people end up sleeping on hard chairs at the contact centre, which also becomes filled to capacity. Lots of people end up outside on nights which don’t seem to meet the city’s criteria for extreme weather but seem rather cold and wet to those left outside.

26. Relaxation of building height shall be applied to social housing and seniors housing only to curb the escalating land costs in our eastside neighbourhood now. God bless the poor people.

27. It is possible for developers to place 25% of the units in their project for social housing, 2 bedroom homes for families. Why not?

28. What do you plan to do with shelters? We need more.

29. Too much rezoning is not only hurting the poor, but many small businesses in Gastown, dtes. What are your thoughts/plans on these matters?

30. The downtown eastside is too dense already. Cease and desist.

31. What’s gonna happen to CRAB beach? Are you gonna take over that too? Keep your buildings out of our neighbourhood.

32. Cost of reducing poverty: priceless.

33. Is pay in lieu still operating to eliminate social housing projects? We are supposed to have some social housing.

34. I’m roger. I’ve lived 60 years of my life in the eastside, when the Woodwards closed down all Fields, Fedcos, Woolworths, all closed so I see all the devastation of living quarters have gone from good to the worst. From Cambie and Hastings to Main and Hastings, you can see the devastation of all this area.