Two condo towers down and five to go
Downtown Eastside residents had a little victory on Jan. 20th. 80 people signed up to speak at City Hall, 29 professors signed a very public letter, and a group of high profile folks, including former Premier Mike Harcourt and former Carnegie Director Michael Clague in the Building Community Society also wrote a letter that became public.
The issue was this: Will Council adopt a new policy that allows developers to build higher condo towers in the DTES?
The pressure was too great for Council. At the very last minute they cancelled all the speakers and passed a motion. The motion stops developers from building 15 story condo towers at 99 W. Pender and 425 Carrall St. and stops them from buildings 12 story towers in the Main and Hastings area for at least a year. But Council sent plans to allow developers to build at least 5, 15 story condo towers on Main St. between Keefer and Union to a public hearing probably in February.
The motion also sets up a Local Area Planning Committee for the entire DTES except for Chinatown. And it said that the Committee will be co-chaired by a person from the Building Communities Society and the DTES Neighbourhood Council. This committee is supposed to “enhance and accelerate a DTES local areas plan and to develop a clear strategy to implement the existing Council approved DTES Housing Plan.” The co-chairs will select the other committee members. One of them must be from the Strathcona Residents’ Association. The co-chairs will also decide on the terms of reference. The City Manager is supposed to “ensure that appropriate resources are allocated” to ensure that the project is done by Dec. 31, 2011.
Rezoning of 99 W. Pender, 425 Carrall and the Main and Hastings area will be considered after the planning committee reports at the end of December. The Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council will consider whether to participate or not or under what conditions, at its next meeting on Feb. 5 from 2pm-3pm at the First United Church (Hastings & Gore). This meeting is open to non-members as well.