Here’s some of what CCAP has been doing about the motion to stop gentrification in the Downtown Eastside in the last few weeks:
1 – Developed a motion to be introduced at City Council for a moratorium on market housing development. Motion endorsed by 44 groups.
2 – Met with Cameron Gray, head of City’s Housing Centre. Gray said a moratorium wouldn’t fly with council but maybe something else would and made some suggestions which CCAP turned into Plan B as follows:
Plan B: Control conflict in the DTES by controlling the rate of change, building social housing and preserving SROs
1) The city buys 12 more sites and gets an MOU with the province to build social housing on them.
2) The city starts a DTES visioning process to evolve after 1.5 years into implementation.
3) The city tries to slow soft conversions by getting the province to provide incentives to landlords (Plant and Forbes-Roberts evidently already working on this).
4) The city implements holding measures to dampen speculation until visioning is done, land is purchased and MOUs are signed:
a) 20 % social housing requirement extended to whole DTES;
b) Stop heritage density banking until implementation plan is complete;
c) Increase development cost levies on DTES to suppress land values, discourage speculation, and pay for amenities;
d) Introduce a rate of change for rental housing;
e) No towers.
3 – Met with Peter Ladner, NPA councilor and Brent Toderian, Director of Planning, re Plan B. Brent said he would defer to Cameron’s recommendation on housing, talk to the DTES planner, Jessica Chen, about visioning, and said he wouldn’t support the mechanisms we listed to slow down speculation.
Ladner said they were short of money to buy land, he could maybe go for a 6 month vision process, and he didn’t like the 20% social housing requirement if it was a code for a moratorium. He said he’d take something to the NPA caucus this week (week of June 9) and put some kind of motion on the City’s website on June 16. We asked for meetings with Vision and one is hopefully being set up. We have been emailing Cadman and keeping him up to date.
4 – Met with Jill Davidson and Andrea (Housing Centre) and Jessica Chen (DTES planner). City staff showed us a new report on DTES housing that claims we’re on track replacing the lost hotel rooms. They do this by including provincially owned hotels as NEW social housing and by NOT counting soft conversions of hotel rooms to tourist hotels and higher rents. But they did indicate that they could support some sort of visioning and developing some mechanisms of dealing with the pace of development if Council asks them to.
5 – Meanwhile we are trying to pressure Concord Pacific to hold off on their plan for 154 condos at 58 W. Hastings by generating 201 letters to the Development Permit Board opposing the development; organizing speakers at the Development Permit Board on June 23rd, getting folks to send letters to the head of Concord Pacific, Terry Hui, and, starting this week, organizing actions focused on the site, office and presentation centre.
6 – What you can do:
(a) Write a letter to Hui. Tell him to stop his development at 58 W. Hastings until the community can get a vision together and the city comes up with tools to implement the vision. Alternatively, he could build the development and then turn it over to a non profit group to run as social housing.
(b) Visit Hui in his office at 9th floor 1095 W. Pender (near Thurlow). Give him the above message.
(c) Email the Development Permit Board, c/o Alison Higginson at Alison.Higginson@vancouver.ca. Tell them not to approve the Concord Pacific condos at 58 W. Hastings until we get social housing for SRO residents and homeless people and a vision for the Downtown Eastside.
(d) Sign up to speak at the Development Permit board by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
(e) Be in touch with Carnegie Community Action Project for more information (604) 839.0379