Occupy Condos Campaign Continues in DTES, Naomi Klein Lends Support
Gathering and Press Conference: Thursday December 1st at 2 pm at Pantages Site (150 East Hastings)
After a successful occupation of Paris Annex condo development on the evening of November 29, the DTES not for Developers campaign for moratorium and boycott on condo gentrification continues with support of well-known author Naomi Klein
Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territory – On Tuesday November 29th at 4pm, twenty four DTES residents and housing activists successfully occupied the Salient Group’s Paris Annex condo development in the Downtown Eastside. For over three hours, traffic all along Hastings Street was blocked as people raised the issue of gentrification in the neighbourhood, and over 100 supporters managed to halt police attempts to enter the occupied building by forming a people’s blockade around the three entrances.
The banner flown from the building read “Occupy Condos,” a nod to the international Occupy movement for economic justice, but the demand – for a moratorium on all condo development in the DTES until the area’s extreme housing and homelessness crisis is solved – is distinctly local.
“We told the city that condos are destroying the low-income housing in the DTES by driving rents up and that they are killing our community with gentrification,” says Laura Shaver, DTES SRO resident and board member with VANDU. “But City Hall is not listening. They are still permitting and giving kickbacks to developers to build condos in the DTES… and they’re still not building social housing!”
On Thursday December 1st, international best-selling author of No Logo and Shock Doctrine Naomi Klein will join the DTES Is Not For Developers campaign in a press conference at 2 pm in front of the Pantages site in the Downtown Eastside. Speakers will include representatives and DTES residents from the Aboriginal Front Door, DTES Neighbourhood Council, DTES Power of Women Group, and Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users.
Jen Allan, founder of the survival sex worker support group Jen’s Kitchen and Downtown Eastside Neighbhourhood Council board member says, “The city talks about safety for women and for survival sex workers, but safety means safe and affordable housing for sex workers and their children. Condos in the DTES will not help survival sex workers, they will hurt them.”
Beatrice Starr, member of the DTES Women Centre Power of Women Group and thirty-year resident of the neighbourhood is angry that the City and developers are complicit in escalating rents and gentrification. “The priority should be building social housing not condos. Marc Williams, Robert Fung’s Salient Group and all other gentrifying developers, real estate speculators, and greedy investors, as well the corporate-controlled City Council, should know that we will not abandon this fight,” she says.
– 30 –