City Hall liveblog: Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan debate

Live from Vancouver City Hall: Deciding the fate of the DTES.

It might get loud.

(Page 5 of 12)

That homelessness has been normalized "is an indictment" on Canadian society. The housing crisis extends to those spending half of their income on housing. The shelter rate is too slow, she says, and hasn't caught up with the real cost of living in Vancouver.

Redefining social housing to exclude lower-income people is "a disturbing step in the wrong direction," says Diewert. He's the second one to mention Stephen Lippman by name when discussing developers and landlords whose projects displace the poor.

6:09pm Dinner break. Back at 7pm for the 7-10 stretch.

Continuation will likely be on Friday, and not Saturday.

5:55pm Ivan Drury: We need an aboriginal health and wellness centre. Feels weird about the 60/40, but sees it as "the lonesome anchor against the push of development." The development-driven market "does not hesitate to displace people who cannot pay high prices." People should be able to live without "the constant fear of eviction." However, the definition of "social housing" undermines the very notion of the 60/40 split, effectively excluding low-income residents. He calls for stopping the loss of low-income housing, and for rent control bylaws.

LAP's loose definition of "social housing" is open to exploitation, says Drury. Carr agrees that what passes for social housing in Vancouver is "quite high" in terms of rent.

5:53pm Sam Snobelen: Here to support the Low-Income Caucus. 60/40 will "keep gentrification down a little bit", but he's concerned about current SRO residents' ability to afford the new units. He also supports an aboriginal mixed-generational living space.

5:50 Amanda Gibbs, DTES LAPP Committee: "I'm nervous because this has been two years of our lives together." DTES is probably "the most contested economic zone in North America," and "the site of a lot of proxy wars."

If social justice is in Vancouver's DNA, then we need to consider that the talk of cleaning up the neighbourhood is "code for poor-bashing". Gibbs "wholeheartedly support[s]" the 60/40 split.  "We would like to have a citizen-led reference group" for LAPP implementation.

5:46pm Scott Clarke, Aboriginal Life in Vancouver Enhancement: Involved in LAPP for over two years, hosted several forums. He's speaking to truth and reconciliation, and the "total systems failures" regarding urban aboriginals. Not just a DTES issue, he says. Violence against aboriginal women is still a spectre looming over the city. "We need fierce advocacy", he says, for our most vulnerable populations. 2% of Vancouverites are aboriginal, but bad things happen to them at a remarkably disproportionate rate.

Scott Clarke

We do support the LAPP, Clarke says, provided those segments of the population are looked after.

5:40 Leanore Sali, Gastown Business Improvement Society: "Lots of challenges, but lots of opportunities." Blood Alley could become "The heart of Gastown." The social-housing requirements in the plan "raises the question of viability" due to the lack of Provincial or Federal money.

5:35pm Jacek Lorek, Downtown Eastside Market: "Most people on welfare can't afford to buy anything, and I mean anything. The money is not going to last more than a week or two."

5:20pm Roland Clarke, Secretary Treasurer of DTES Neighbourhood Council: "100% of our board is on welfare or disability." He says, "The DTES is infamous for containing the poorest postal code in Canada", but it has an extremely stable population. The entire population, he says, is actively interested in the future of their neighbourhood. "There are real divisions of class and ideology," as well as divisions in tact and rhetoric. He says that there's no disagreement that there's a housing crisis. They don't agree that high-rises are the answer, though.

Clarke calls out Vision Vancouver on its promise to end homelessness, saying that the shelter system has actually gotten worse. He calls it "a collective failure". Stable housing would solve lots of policing and health-care problems, he says [Ambulance calls ain't cheap], but we're not spending our money wisely. "I urge you to not lose sight of the big picture... we need a partner in our city government" to properly fight for social housing.

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