Sequel 138 Decision and Process Ignores DTES Low Income Community
By Greg Williams, DTES Not for Developers Coalition & UBC Social Justice Centre
Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories – Last Monday, protected by a phalanx of 21 uniformed police officers, the City of Vancouver’s Development Permit board ignored over six hours of testimony given by members and allies of the DTES low-income community and approved condos at the Pantages site on the 100-block of East Hastings. Continue reading
Originally published on The Mainlander
Don’t let one man’s property rights outweigh the needs and will of an entire community
By: Ivan Drury
DTES Community organizing against Sequel 138 condos shows united opposition to displacement-by-gentrification and will reveal the priorities of city hall
The date is looming for the City’s Development Permit Board meeting to decide the fate of the Sequel 138 condo proposal. It’s been a year since nine major Downtown Eastside (DTES) community organizations formed a coalition to stop Sequel 138 condos. Their campaign involves thousands of DTES residents, workers, social housing providers, artists… united in opposition to a bad proposal for a destructive condo project in the heart of the most vulnerable urban community in the country. Continue reading
Letter sent on Friday, April 20th to Development Permit Board in advance of hearing Monday, April 23rd 3pm:
Director, Development Services
Chair, Development Permit Board
City of Vancouver, 453 West 12th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4
April 20 2012
Re: Development permit request for Sequel 138 project, 138 East Hastings St.
Dear Ms. Potter:
We, the undersigned, are professors and instructors at local universities and colleges. We write to you because we share a deep interest in the future of Vancouver. More specifically, we write to you in your capacity as Chair of the City’s Development Permit Board to express our concern about the development permit application for the Sequel 138 project at 138 East Hastings St. and its likely negative impacts on the low-income population of the city’s Downtown Eastside. Continue reading
April 13, 2012
Re: “Condo building protested as threat to ‘drug market’” (Globe and Mail, Thursday April 12 2012)
Dear Mayor and Councillors,
We are writing to ask for your support of the low-income community in the Downtown Eastside, and particularly those of us who use illicit drugs against discriminatory attitudes which surfaced in the media today. We hope that you can take this opportunity to publicly clarify that displacing low-income people, including low-income illicit drug users, is against Vancouver city council policy and that council will not consider development projects that promise such violent displacement. Continue reading
The DNC Committee on Homeless Shelters is against this condo
development project known as Sequel 138 on the 100 block of east
Hastings. We believe that the gentrifying pressures of this condo
project will lead to increased homelessness from rents being driven up
in the neighbourhood and lack of affordable food and services for the
low income population of the DTES. We feel that these new condo
residents will displace the current population, will complain about
the food lines, and the homeless shelter population, and the very
existence of the shelters, and attempt to eliminate or relocate these
We feel that only 100% social housing at welfare rates on this site
will allow the nearby homeless shelter population to have any hope for
safety, dignity and self determination.
The Eastside Illicit Drinkers Group for Education (EIDGE) is a group of people who use illicit alcohol. We work to improve the lives of illicit drinkers through education and support. We work together to end discrimination against illicit drinkers and to promote safety amongst our members.
Illicit drinkers are the most low-income, most stigmatized, most abused, least respected people in the Downtown Eastside. We are mostly Aboriginal people. We are nearly all homeless or underhoused in dangerous and unhealthy hotels. We are the ones that cops push off the street when the city wants to put in expensive shops and restaurants.
Sequel 138 condos on the 100-block will be another form of ethnic cleansing against us. We know that if yuppies moving across from the bottle depot and Insite, they will call the cops and call the mayor to send the cops to bust up the block so that they don’t have to look at us. They pay lots of taxes and think they deserve special treatment from the cops. And we are the ones who suffer police brutality the most when they want to clear the block.
The Pantages theatre has been sitting empty in our community for more than a decade. The owner of all the property between the Regent and the Brandiz says that our home is a “dead zone”. He says he’s going to save it by selling it to middle-class condo buyers. But our block never has been and is not for sale. The DTES is our neighbourhood and the 100-block is the centre of our neighbourhood; it is the heart of the whole city.
We are the ones who are already paying for the quarter million dollar condos on the 100-block.
We are paying with our health today, and we will pay with our housing tomorrow.
The government has tried for 200 years to assimilate or exterminate Indigenous people. This demolition is an example of how they are killing urban Aboriginal people and other low-income people with health and environmental conditions that the government supports, allows and encourages from private developers like Marc Williams. They talk about “affordable condos” but these “Sequel 138” condos seem more like another small pox blanket for us.
We are outreach workers, social workers, project coordinators, nurses, building maintenance workers, and others working in the Downtown Eastside and services throughout the lower mainland.
We refuse to take part in the brutal displacement of the people we love and care for. We denounce the marketing of Sequel 138 condos to us DTES workers.
and We stand in solidarity with DTES residents and community groups. All of the services that exist here today are the result of grass roots activism and organizing and would not be here today if it was not for the people that live here. The displacement of DTES residents threatens the very foundations of these services that exist for and by the residents here.
Five great displacements
In the last 100 years of the City of Vancouver’s existence there have been four great displacements of oppressed peoples’ communities from the territory we know as the Downtown Eastside. We are now facing the prospect of a fifth great displacement, which history may show to be the second largest and most devastating of all, second only to the original colonial dispossession and displacement of the Coast Salish nations.
The first four great displacements have been:
ONE: COLONIAL (1887-1913)
The displacement of the Coast Salish nations out of Vancouver city was done through planning and making the city streets and buildings. This administrative development was ordered by City Council and carried out through the planning decisions of bureaucrats. It always appeared – to the city council and settlers with power – to be neutral, legal, and even inevitable.
The Tsleil Waututh lived in what the city government called “Indian camps” around the edges of today’s Downtown Eastside, especially on the east end of the neighbourhood near the mills and docks where many men worked seasonally. In 1910 Vancouver City Council made it illegal for “Indians to camp” within city limits. In 1913 one of the last remaining camps at the foot of Pandora Street, was razed by road building crews when the board of works made an administrative order to extend the street over the train tracks.
And, also in 1913, a major village of the Squamish nation was moved en masse from the north shore of the Burrard Inlet 99 years ago by barge through negotiation by city planners.
The Carnegie Community Centre Association (CCCA) represents about 5000 members who use the Carnegie Centre. Our Centre is the living room for thousands of low income people in the DTES who feel safe here and need our services and programmes in a space where they are comfortable.
We fear that our food services could be strained by newer people who are not low income. If City Council allows Sequel to go ahead with 79 new condos, the mandate of our Centre to serve low income people could be challenged. New condos in the 100 Block of E. Hastings will promote even more gentrification in our neighbourhood and put pressure on rents of hundreds of people who live in privately owned hotels in this block.
We urge the city to turn down the Sequel 138 development proposal.