GET OFF OUR TURF!
We want equality.
People who live at the Gastown Hotel don’t even like to go out at night because they feel put down so much by the higher income white people who come in to use our neighbourhood as an entertainment and drinking district. We shouldn’t be afraid to go out in our own neighbourhood.
One of our members said, “I asked to rent a place at the Burns Block, the hotel converted into ‘micro-lofts’, and they laughed at me. They said I don’t have enough money. And they said I don’t belong.” We should feel like we belong in our own community.The people in fancy cafes look at us like we’re an art project, like we’re something to watch from their cafe window.
We are not second class-citizens. We are not junkie criminals. No body is more important than us. The Downtown Eastside is our community, it is our home, and our voice is the most important one to decide what kind of development we want here. And we say no condos until we have all the housing we need.
We need social justice and community controlled health care, not cops
Marc Williams, the Pantages site owner and Sequel 138 condo developer, is presenting his proposal as anti-drug user. He has compared drug users to vermin, claiming that his project will not displace anyone except “drug dealers and rats.” And he has put up posters mocking VANDU and bragging that he will displace drug users. They said, “Vancouver Association of Drug Dealers opposes Sequel 138 because we like all our customers to be in the same place.”
Harm reduction is closer to justice than charity. Insite and harm reduction saves lives. It gets people off the street and gives them access to make a change.
Gentrification destabilizes the drug market and that makes it more unsafe for the most vulnerable people on the street. When the cops do sweeps and clear streets for condo projects and boutiques, that’s when Aboriginal women get thrown out of hotel windows, that’s when women have to do more sex acts to line up new dealers, that’s when the lowest end men in the drug trade get beaten or killed over new turf wars.
If the city gives Sequel 138 a permit our health care will be interrupted and displaced and people will die. Sequel 138 condos are an arm of the Harper anti-harm reduction agenda dropped in the heart of the Downtown Eastside. Sequel 138 condos are against the city’s Vancouver Agreement and the 4 Pillars harm reduction strategy. Quarter-million-dollar condos will make the 100-block intimidating and threatening to drug users who need to access Insite, Onsite, and the Washington Needle Exchange. Sequel 138 condos will be a barrier to our access to necessary harm reduction.
What the city should do
Protect and expand the harm reduction resources we have.
Protect the low-income community’s sense of belonging.
Respect existing residents before permitting condo developments.
The only housing built on the 100-block should be welfare rate social housing.
Work with the province to raise welfare and get housing.
Seriously work on a national housing strategy.
We feel like the city and the developers are trying to get rid of us. They are trying to push us out of our own community… and it really hurts us. They have taken so much from us already. It’s time to come together and say NO. Now, to keep from being displaced we have to bring our community together and fight to stop Sequel 138 and get the housing we need!