Occupy Condos Campaign Continues in DTES, Naomi Klein Lends Support

For Immediate Release
November 30, 2011

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.

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3 responses to “Occupy Condos Campaign Continues in DTES, Naomi Klein Lends Support

  1. Pingback: “No Logo” “Shock Doctrine” Naomi Klein to join “DTES Is Not For Developers” press conference 2pm Dec 1 | CityHallWatch: Citizen Reviews of Major Policies and Rezonings in Vancouver

  2. Pingback: Unofficial transcript of Naomi Klein speech in Downtown East Side (Dec 1, 2011) for Occupy Vancouver etc. | CityHallWatch: Citizen Reviews of Major Policies and Rezonings in Vancouver

  3. I’ve lived in the DTES for a few years, and as an artist, this is pretty much the only place in Vancouver that I can afford to pay in rent costs. I walk by the Pantages on a daily basis. The 100 block of Hastings and Main is a sad depressing place and the building itself has been shuttered for years. It makes me sick that these so called activists calling for a boycott are not looking at the bigger picture. Nor do they represent the people here. They certainly are not my voice, nor the voice of reason. I suspect that the real reason behind people like Harsha Walia and Wendy Pederson opposing the building is because a healthy neighborhood threatens their jobs.

    Instead of working with the developers and small businesses and the community in general it seems from what I’ve read they’ve resorted to petty tactics bordering on criminal.

    I welcome affordable housing. I welcome the small businesses that may open on that block, I welcome the city doing something about the open and rampant drug dealing on the corner. When the ugly business of protesting is over, these social worker activists like Mona Woodward and Harsha Walia go home to their suburban houses in Burnaby and Surrey or Lauren Hill who lives according to her city nomination papers on Oxford Street where ever that is leaving people like me and some of my neighbors waiting and wondering what tomorrow will bring.

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