On July 21st, DTES groups asked the architect Tomas Wolf of Studio One to withdraw from the project until all DTES low-income residents have proper housing and were incensed by what they call “poor-bashing ads” on the firm’s website that have since been removed. The adverts claimed the project would bring an element of “accountability” to the area.
Stop condo project say Downtown Eastside residents
(Vancouver Coast Salish Territory) Stop condos in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) until we have decent housing for the low income residents who live there now. That was the message that low-income DTES residents and their supporters brought to Studio One Architects today at 11 am.
“Housing first for the people who need it,” said Anne Marie Monks, social housing resident who was recently homeless and board member of the DTES Neighbourhood Council. “The rich can buy somewhere else. They can go up to Whistler. DTES belongs to the people.”
“I only know one person who lives in a condo and she lives in Winnipeg. Their world is totally different than mine. We need social housing here, not condos,” said Sandra Pronteau, another social housing resident and member of the Carnegie Community Action Project.
Studio One Architects has submitted a development proposal to the city for 79 condos, 18 more condos that would be sold to a non profit group, and commercial space on the bottom floor. The development would be at 138 E. Hastings, bringing gentrification to the heart of the DTES.
Thirty three groups support a community resolution calling on the Pantages developer to sell his lots at this site to the city for the 2010 assessed value of $3.7 million. The resolution calls for 100% community controlled social housing at the Pantages site. Over 1100 additional people have signed a petition calling on the owner to sell the Pantages site to the city for the 2010 assessed value. At the action today DTES residents and groups called on the architects to withdraw their proposed development.
“Condos displace low income residents by pushing up land values and hotel rents,” said Fraser Stuart, SRO resident who was recently homeless and board member of the DTES Neighbourhood Council. “The city has promised that low income residents won’t be displaced but they are ignoring that promise. We still have hundreds of homeless people in our neighbourhood, and 5000 SROs that need to be replaced with decent housing low income people can afford.”
“We have a right and a responsibility to protect our neighbourhood from changing into a rich neighbourhood. Most people don’t know what is happening at these demolition sites and by the time they do, it will be too late,” said Kim Pacquette, social housing resident, recently homeless and member of the Carnegie Community Action Project.
Dave Diewert of the interfaith social justice group Streams of Justice said: “The utter disregard for the health and safety of workers, adjacent residents and pedestrians during demolition, and the architects’ poor-bashing rhetoric of social mix that accompanied the visual of Sequel 138 on their website, reveal the developer’s distain and contempt for the current residents of this community, and confirms the conviction that the project will only bring harm not benefit to the neighbourhood.”
“We have already stopped the demolition at the site,” said Beatrice Starr, of the Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre Power of Women. This community will use whatever ways we can to stop this project. It won’t be easy for the developer to put condos here.”
Organized by: DTES residents and the Aboriginal Front Door, Carnegie Community Action Project, DTES Neighbourhood Council, DTES Power of Women Group, Gallery Gachet, Streams of Justice and the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users
This is another DTES community action to “unite in fair processes, act in peaceful and necessary ways to expand our abilities, overcome adversity and protect our community” (from DTES Community Vision for Change endorsed by 38 DTES groups).
Wendy Pedersen, Carnegie Community Action Project (604 839 0379)
Dave Diewert, Streams of Justice (604 253 1782)
Harsha Walia, Power of Women (778 885 0040)
32 groups endorsing campaign so far: https://dtesnotfordevelopers.wordpress.com/savepantages/
1,125 individuals signed petition so far. Sign the petition online: http://www.petitiononline.com/nocondos/petition.html