Category Archives: Coalition Statements & News Releases

March against condo gentrification & BC Housing bailout of Sequel 138

March to block condos from the 100-block and defend Downtown Eastside low-income communities against gentrification and displacement

STOP PANTAGES CONDOS! 121211 pantages demo_FINAL
SOCIAL HOUSING NOT DISPLACEMENT!
SAY NO TO THE BC HOUSING BAILOUT OF SEQUEL 138 CONDOS!
Tuesday December 11
Rally & march meeting 2pm
In front of the Pantages demolition site at the blue wall
(About 138 E Hastings)

The developer who wants to build condos on the 100-block of E Hastings has recently announced a plan to start his sales. This project is part of a siege of the DTES by new condo projects that are driving up land prices and rents in hotels. Meanwhile, cops are clearing the streets and boutique shops are pushing out low-income serving stores and services.

The sales drive (whether imagined or a real threat) is backed by BC Housing dollars. A recent Province news article revealed that BC Housing bailed the Sequel 138 condos from the brink of foreclosure in the early summer with a low-interest $3.75M loan and promises $20M more to help with construction. Are Sequel 138 to be BC Housing’s first condos? (See more info below)

On Tuesday December 11 we will rally and march to demand social housing not expensive condos! People not profit! Stop gentrification! Community not displacement!

Organized by DTES Not for Developers Coalition
https://dtesnotfordevelopers.wordpress.com

–BACKGROUNDER–

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 6, 2012

BC HOUSING BAILS OUT CONDO DEVELOPER WHILE HOMELESSNESS CONTINUES

Vancouver, Unceded Coast Salish Territory- Residents and organizations in the Downtown Eastside are outraged and alarmed at the recent news that BC Housing gave Sequel 138 condo developer Marc Williams a $3.75 million loan (at 1.29 percent interest) for pre-construction costs and may provide around $20 million to fund construction for condos at the Pantages site. According to news reports that interest rate is well below the going bank rate of 4 to 8 percent. Continue reading

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City orders condo developer to clear all rubble from demolition site, Downtown Eastside residents call for further protections

City orders condo developer to clear all rubble from demolition site, Downtown Eastside residents call for further protections

UNCEDED COAST SALISH TERRITORIES – The City of Vancouver has issued an

City order for Marc Williams to clean up the rubble, on the remaining wall of the Pantages site

order to Marc Williams, owner of the former Pantages theatre site and target of community actions for over a year. The order, signed by Will Johnston, Director of Licenses and Inspections and Chief Building Official, says that Sequel 138 Development Corp must “remove the accumulation of construction debris, rubbish and discarded material on or before July 31, 2012.” It threatens legal action for “failure to comply with this order” including a threat that the city will undertake the clean-up work if the owner does not. (Download a pdf of the city order: 120718 City of Vancouver order to clean up Pantages)

Continue reading

Tired of rats & demolition disaster DTES community challenges city hall to act

Tired of rats & demolition disaster DTES community challenges city hall to act

Colleen Boudreau unveils model social housing built out of Pantages rubble

UNCEDED COAST SALISH TERRITORIES – On Monday July 16 Downtown Eastside (DTES) residents gathered outside the Pantages demolition site to draw attention to rats and rubble disaster that festered in their community for over a year.

“Nearly two months ago we conducted a community rat count to show that 138 East Hastings was full of rats who were using the site as a staging ground to invade neighboring hotels,” said organizer Jean Swanson. “And just last night again I counted 18 rats in five minutes.” Continue reading

Pantages rubble challenge letter to Vancouver City Council

Monday, 16 July 2012

Gregor Robertson and Members of City Council
City of Vancouver
453 West 12th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4

Mayor Robertson and Members of City Council:

We are writing as a broad coalition of residents, community members, activists and allies of the Downtown Eastside low income community to demand that you act speedily to clean up the pile of rubble at 138 East Hastings, the site of the former Pantages Theatre.  This was once a historic landmark that Vancouver’s founding neighbourhood could be proud of.  Now, thanks to the negligence of the lot’s current owner, Marc Williams, it is a toxic pile of junk that is both an eyesore and a health hazard in the heart of the community. Continue reading

Invitation to a community rat count!

May 21, 2012

YOU’RE INVITED TO A COMMUNITY RAT COUNT

Downtown Eastside residents will hold news conference near a garbage and debris filled lot that has become home to hordes of rats up to 9 inches long. They will talk about how they have been affected and then go to the site to count rats.

Residents want the city to force the owner to clean up the site according to the Standards of Maintenance Bylaw which says “Every owner of land must keep the land, and any building or accessory building on it, in such condition that it will not afford harbourage for or become infested with pests.”

When: Tuesday May 22 at 9:30 pm (late-evening)
Where: Meet on the steps of the Carnegie Centre, 401 Main St.

Contact: Jean Swanson 604 729 2380

City rubber stamps another 10-story condo tower at Main and Keefer

It didn’t make the news, but on May 7th the Vancouver Development Permit Board received an application for yet another condo tower in the Downtown Eastside. The 10-storey, 90+ feet tower on the north-west corner of Main and Keefer (189 Keefer), was presented by its architect, Foad Raffi. For those of us paying attention, Raffi is the Development Permit Board advisory member who was the most outspoken media critic of we opponents of the Pantages condo project just two weeks before his project appeared before the same board. The architect and developer could not get any civilian supporters out to speak in favor of the tower, so everyone who spoke from the public was against. (NOTE: The exception to the media blackout was the great story in The Mainlander)

The Carnegie Community Action Project presented a technical argument outlining how the proposal violates city policy. The DTES Neighbourhood Council criticized it for threatening to displace SRO hotel residents within a block of the project. And the DTES Not for Developers Coalition protested the city process that pushes through condos without any meaningful process of consultation, oversight, or control by those who stand to be most terribly impacted. See the coalition statement, “Better neighbourhood, same neighbours,” below.

The DTES low-income community member formerly known as Homeless Dave was one of the last speakers before the board voted unanimously in favor of the project. After challenging Foad Raffi for not declaring his conflict of interest, even as a point of information, H. Dave asked the board whether they had ever turned a project down. They excitedly perked up for a moment but then deflated, trying to remember which they had turned down just last year.

Dave declared that the board should be renamed the Vancouver Development Approval Board, and offered the suggestion that their new alienating hearing chambers could be decorated with a great fountain the shape of a rubber stamp.

Read the coalition statement against the condo project at 189 Keefer here:

Better neighbourhood, same neighbours
Downtown Eastside Not for Developers statement against the condo development proposal for 189 Keefer St

We are asking that the city of Vancouver Development Permit Board refuse the Development Permit application for a 10-storey condo tower at 189 Keefer Street. This condo proposal threatens existing residents with displacement by gentrification pressures. Condos at189 Keefer violate city policies that are meant to protect the low-income community. Its central tenets, “economic revitalization” and “affordable home ownership,” rest on and enforce the myth that the Vancouver housing crisis can be abated through the sacrifice of lower-income people’s housing in the Downtown Eastside (DTES). Continue reading

VANDU declaration against displacement and “Sequel 138” condos

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. Continue reading