Thank you so much for endorsing the Community Resolution to save the Pantages site for low income people. We are now up to 37 endorsations and growing every day! We’re emailing you again because we need you to write a letter to help stop the developer’s plan for 79 condos in the heart of the DTES. We have to get our comments about the proposal to firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org by August 12th or the Director of Planning will be able to approve the plan without any community process.
We have pasted in below the community resolution that you all endorsed. We’re hoping you will take some points from the resolution and write a quick letter to the above 3 folks and send it in with a copy to CCAP (email@example.com) so we’ll know who has sent letters in. Or you could write your own letter, choosing from the points below and/or making or adding your own points.
Information on the official development plan is at: http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/developmentservices/devapps/138ehastings/index.htm
Thanks soo much for your support, Jean Swanson, CCAP.
DTES Community Resolution: Save the Pantages for low-income people
We are Downtown Eastside (DTES) organizations on Unceded Coast Salish territories who oppose the Pantages Theatre owner’s 2011 application to build a massive condo building with token amounts of social housing on the 100 block of East Hastings Street.
We call on the City to stop the Pantages development permit application because it contradicts the “without displacement” part of the city’s policy of “revitalization without displacement” in the DTES.
We call on the Pantages owner to sell the property at its 2010 assessed value of $3.7 million to the City of Vancouver.
We call on the City to buy the Pantages parcel and designate it for 100% resident controlled social housing with low-income community space on the ground floor.
We call on the City to ensure that the nature of the development of the Pantages parcel be exclusively determined by low-income residents and communities in the DTES, including control over the final tendering of the project.
Aboriginal Front Door, Carnegie Community Action Project, DTES Neighbourhood Council, DTES Power of Women Group, Gallery Gachet, Streams of Justice, Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users.
We encourage organizations within and beyond the DTES to support this important campaign and to endorse our resolutions: Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or call 604 729 2380 or 604 839 0379 to add your groups name.
Background: Why we want 100% social housing, not 80% condos 20% social housing
1) Condos at the Pantages would be a gentrification bomb in the heart of the DTES low-income community.
The 100-block of East Hastings is symbolically important because it includes single room occupancy housing for about 400 low-income people. It also includes key gathering places where low-income DTES residents feel comfortable.
The Carnegie Community Centre serves 5000 low-income people and is a hub for food and library services as well as recreational and cultural activities. Insite ensures access to critical health services for thousands of IV drug users who suffer from discrimination in other spaces. The Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre – which is a drop in and safe-space for thousands of low-income women including Chinese seniors, Indigenous women, single mothers, homeless and low-income women – is on the very edge of the 100-block. So is the Aboriginal Front Door Society, the only centre in the area run by and for Indigenous people who are disproportionately impacted by homelessness and poverty as a result of the legacy of colonialism.
Bringing condos to this block could change all of this. The condo-social housing mixed development at Woodward’s caused rents in neighbouring hotels to increase and pushed out residents who depend on welfare and old-age pension. Expensive restaurants and boutique stores replaced low-income serving stores and services. More private security guards and police pushed low-income people out of public spaces.
This is what “revitalization” (i.e. gentrification) looks like. It impacts all low-income people, especially those who are Indigenous, racialized, homeless, drug-users, street youth, transgendered people, and women in the sex trade.
2) The Pantages parcel is in the Downtown Eastside Oppenheimer District (DEOD), the only zoning area of the DTES that requires 20% social housing in all new developments.
This requirement has kept condos out of the DEOD and ensured that the area remains a sanctuary for low-income people. It has also kept land prices lower than in other areas, so lots are cheaper for governments to buy for social housing. Under the current zoning, the Pantages proposal will be required to contain 20% social housing. While getting some social housing may appear to be a good thing, it is problematic because the other 80% of the project will be condos, and this will open the flood gates to other condo developments in the DEOD.
3) Building more social housing as well as defending and preserving our DTES community assets are more important – and more life saving – than letting developers make millions in the DTES.
Worthington Properties bought the Pantages Theatre in 2004 for $440,000 and added it to four adjacent properties. The 2010 assessed value of all five of these properties was $3.7 million; probably about three-times the purchase price. The Vancouver Sun reported that Worthington posted the properties for sale in July 2010 for $9 million, almost 7 times the estimated purchase price.
The Pantages site is an opportunity to create a project that works for the low-income community in the heart of the Downtown Eastside. A 100% social housing project at Pantages can focus on the current needs of the DTES. The communities that will be most terribly impacted by a condo development on the 100-block are also those who understand and can plan a 100% social housing project to meet those needs.
We acknowledge that the Downtown Eastside is on unceded Coast Salish Territory.