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 7 of 12)

3:57pm [Having apparently never heard of Williamsburg, Chelsea, or SoHo, Gellar can't conceive of the DTES becoming "another Yaletown".]

3:56pm Reimer: "Mr Gellar, I think you have a good history of misquoting me, so you speak for you and I'll speak for me."

Reimer: "So, who is holding City planners hostage?" Michael Gellar: "Wendy Peterson."

3:55pm Gellar on the social housing in the DTES LAP: "It won't happen." [He's probably right, but certainly not for the reasons he presumes.]

3:51 Ball: Are you aware of an all-rental district working elsewhere in the world? Gellar isn't even aware of one actually existing. Gellar cites a stigma for living in "the rental zone". People in the gallery are openly laughing at him. Most people in Vancouver rent, for those who haven't heard. [Also, equating bedbugs with poverty is not a good way to make friends in the gallery today.]

3:45pm Developer interests shouldn't dictate built form, says Gellar. "That's happening already," says Affleck.

3:38pm Michael Gellar does not believe banning condos will achieve the goals of more social housing. "I worry that this could prevent the revitalization of Hastings Street." Someone in the gallery pipes up, "Gentrification!"

"This plan defies the laws of fiscal gravity," says Gellar, citing Vancouver's "celebrated international reputation for mixed communities." [To which reputation is he referring? Seriously, we're not really famous for that.]

He's also leery of "7, 8FSR" buildings in East Hastings Corridor, and the effect they'll have on the area, and supports a 3-way split of condo, rental, and social housing.

3:33pm Tanya Paz, Chair of Active Transportation Policy Council mentions the pedestrian killed on DTES, the 1st of 2014: "We failed you. We didn't make the city safe for you." Paz passes around a vintage photo of Hastings Street, with bike lanes drawn on. The ATPC supports the DTES LAP, "but not every detail yet." The ATPC suggests transit and bikeway links to CRAB park, as well as "maximum parking limits" and a bike/skateboard route on Hastings. Also a pilot program for reducing speed on some local streets. "We all deserve to cross the street and make it to the other side."

3:30pm Bowen: There should be a welfare-rate cap on SROs. "There are policies that the City has that they are not enforcing to bring these SROs up to livable standards!" [The crowd loves her.]

Bowen believes in the LAPP, but doesn't think that Council should be in the driver's seat regarding what happens on the DTES. "It should be the people."

3:21pm Dalannah Bowen says, "I am a disenfranchised member of the original DTES Neighbourhood council." (Applause from the gallery)

"I make myself available for those who come to me with their issues... and there are a lot of issues." She says, "It's about community, it's an intangible." A former homeless person and addict, she has firsthand experience of how those "at the bottom of the ladder" take care of each other. "It strikes me that [the considerations in this proposal take] those intangibles into account." She says, "Consider the context of the people that live there."

"Our issues," she says, "are right out in public." Invest in the people that live here:
1. An aboriginal wellness and healing centre.
2. A DTES Centre for the Arts
3. Seniors housing in the Loggers Club. (Applause from the gallery)

3:20pm Reps of civic agencies! Anthony Norfolk, Vancovuer Heritage Commission: Expresses support for this plan. "No fewer than 40" heritage buildings covered in the DTES plan.

Deal: How has commission addressed issues of cultural heritage? Norfolk: "The extension of what 'heritage' means into the cultural side of our history, I've heard no-one argue against it."

3:18pm Carr: Does LAP Committee need more funding for the preliminary work? Chang: ... Maybe.

3:12pm Someone in the gallery yells out, "Since November the [consultation] process has been extremely watered down!"

3:05pm Local Area Plan (LAP) Committee presentations: Ian Chang and Richard Cunningham.

LAP Committee does not have majority agreement on the report. "Members said they lacked sufficient information" and needed more time to discuss with their constituencies. However, Chang says that the plan should be approved, and the disagreements hashed out later.

Cunningham: "We finally got to meet our neighbours."

Ian Chang, Richard Cunningham: LAPP Committee

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