Citywide Housing Coalition


Immediate Release
Contact Rider Cooey January 2011                                                                                               

“Review” Proposes More DTES Height & Density -- Risks Further Homelessness, Omits Public Benefits

(Vancouver, BC)


Citywide Housing Coalition opposes approval of Historic Area Height Review: Policy Implementation and urges Council to first ensure successful completion of two projects already underway, the Social Impact Study and the Downtown Eastside Strategy.

This two-year-long “Review” was actually a series of proposals for rezoning options to increase building heights in the Downtown Eastside and Chinatown.  Not surprisingly, the staff report recommends allowing height increases for at least seven sites, and up to 150 feet, or about 15 storeys.  Future increases are always possible.

Height increases also increase density.  We support greater density everywhere in Vancouver.
  Under current zoning 9,000 more people can already be added in the DTES.

The report includes no description of public benefits to offset height and density increases.  The social changes prompted by such height and density increases will worsen gentrification, conflict, and the harm already done to the 70% low-income residents of the community, primarily through rent increases.  Rent increases driven by gentrification doubtless contributed to the 12% homelessness increase in the last count

Before council approves additional height and density in the DTES, the social, economic, and environmental effects must be considered.  Therefore Council should not approve
HAHR: Policy Implementation until completion of two projects that are already underway-- the Social Impact Study and the DTES Strategy, the goals of which should be to secure the tenure and assets of the 70% low-income community.

In a related matter, Citywide endorses the proposal by the Carnegie Community Action Project that the City of Vancouver buy (or otherwise acquire) 10 sites per year for low income, resident-controlled social housing in the Downtown Eastside before the next municipal election. 

Contact Rider Cooey, 604.872.1382