DTES Workers Boycott

Property developer Marc Williams plans to build a mixed-use building called Sequel 138 on the grounds of the recently demolished Pantages Theatre. He is proposing 79 condos selling for approximately $227,000, as well as a token 18 units for social housing (as REQUIRED by the current DEOD zoning).

Sequel 138 claims to be “affordable” condos for Downtown Eastside service and agency workers and is catering its advertising blitz as “providing affordable housing for artists & for workers in non-profits helping the people of the Downtown East side.”

In reality, the majority of us who work in the Downtown Eastside, especially those with families, could not afford to buy and live in these condos.

Importantly – as advocates, service providers, and front-line and outreach workers who are committed to serving the Downtown Eastside, we support the DTES Community Resolution opposing condos in heart of this neighbourhood. We would not want to be complicit in a project that will further displace, impoverish, and police residents of the Downtown Eastside and make people feel more unwelcome in their own neighbourhood. Currently, condos are outpacing social housing affordable to DTES residents at a rate of 11:1, contrary to the City’s own Housing Plan. The critical and life-saving priority is decent, affordable housing for current residents, not condos that let developers make millions in the DTES.

Therefore, we the undersigned, who work in and serve the Downtown Eastside community in various capacities, express our opposition to condo development on the Pantages site (Sequel 138). We hold the proposed development to be unethical because of its role in gentrification and displacing low income residents in the Downtown Eastside.

(Please leave your name and any affiliation in the Comments below. Please do sign-on, we would like hundreds names if possible as part of a comprehensive boycott of this project)

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97 responses to “DTES Workers Boycott

  1. This looks really well done and would encourage people to sign on and lets take back our neighborhood from the greedy developers who get rich at the disposal of the poor.
    PAUL MARTIN , Co-President DNC.

  2. Pingback: Sep 17: Annual Women’s Housing March and DTES Block Party to Block Condos! | The DTES is not for Condo Developers

  3. Harsha Walia, Downtown Eastside Womens Centre, BCGEU

  4. Sue Rowan, Downtown Eastside Womens Centre , BCGUE

  5. Pingback: SEPT 17: Annual Women’s Housing March & Pantages Block Party | Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council – DNC

  6. I’ll have to confess here- while I live & work in the DTE, it is actually in the Downtown East, Toronto. Where the same gentrifying forces, condo developers, and business interests seek to colonize these very old neighborhoods and push out existing (long existing, some cases at least century-old) families who exhibit the unpopular condition of being poor. I support the efforts of the Vancouver DTE’ers to resist being casually thrown out of their own neighborhoods for the convenience & profit of developers & those seriously deluded customers of theirs (ie, have you watched the news from London lately?).

    Marque Brill, Disability Pensioner, active member of the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty, Toronto DTE http://www.ocap.ca/

  7. Because the government has consistently refused to provide affordable housing to poor and working class people and families, now it’s the job of developers for somehow? Now, for the low low price of 217,000 we can own a 512sq ft. matchbox. Not only is this a disgrace to any working class person in Vancouver, it’s an insult and a slap in the face to assume that we would accept such poor conditions as livable.

    DTES workers need to start demanding adequate, affordable housing for themselves (along with living wages, and better working conditions) as well as the people they serve.

  8. Rianne Svelnis

  9. Mike Scott.

  10. Lauren Gill BCGEU/CUPE 15
    Vancouver Coastal Health

  11. Lani Russwurm, ATIRA, BCGEU

  12. Andrea Lofquist
    Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre

  13. Natasha Wolfe
    Spartacus Books Collective

  14. A word about ‘mixed-use’ condos: Quite apart from the near certainty that any condo will quickly become a leaky condo, the very notion of mixing wildly different property interests in one complex is a recipe for disaster doomed to enrich the legal profession.

    We just DO NOT HAVE either the construction expertise or the legislative sophistication even to contemplate such a complex arrangement.

    Bottom line: Who would be responsible for maintenance/repairs and who would pay? Answer: taxpayers!

    This scheme is nothing more or less than a plot to subsidize publicly a third-rate housing construction industry. Don’t stand for it!

  15. signed.
    romham padraig gallacher
    Radical Access Mapping Project, Vancouver

  16. Meris Goodman

  17. Alex Danard

  18. Alice Kendall, Centre Coordinator Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre

  19. Corinthia Kelly, Support Worker – Raincity Housing

  20. Although I definitely support you for being against condo development and sequel 138, I’ll ask one simple question. What difference does it make if you oppose that here. City council has passed all its resolutions despite overwhelming oppositon, and sequel 138 will pass too, based on Vision’s majority status. What is needed is direct action. No more words !

  21. Culum Osborne

  22. Myrna Cranmer: Atira

  23. Sarah White

  24. Alex Mah, Raincity Housing, BCGEU, the BC Compassion Club Society.

  25. Michael O'Neill

    Accomodation is largely unaffordable because of land prices, speculation by investors and real estate agents. We need to act to terminate these forces that make housing unaffordable for most people and make social housing also a major monetary commitment. Income tax rules need to make huge capital gains taxes on speculative investment with funds used to fund social housing. ….as a start…end parasitism of these real estate speculators…

  26. Geordan Hankinson
    Crossroads Community Project

  27. Geordan Hankinson

    Geordan Hankinson

  28. Susan Henry

  29. We will not let condos become the tombstones of our community.

  30. Aiyanas Ormond

    Aiyanas Ormond, Community Organizer, Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU)

  31. Sinead O’Brien

  32. I whole heartedly support the fight against this condo development and believe it should be 100% social housing with the bottom areas being made available to local arts group in the DTES – ones that actually are located and connected to the local community!
    Lara Fitzgerald
    Programming Director, Gallery Gachet
    88 East Cordova Street

  33. Ray Hsu
    Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow
    Creative Writing Program
    UBC

  34. Peter Driftmier

    Peter Driftmier- Breakfast Program Assistant, Strathcona Neighbourhood House; Server, Save On Meats.

  35. Michelle Wishart

  36. Rachel Goodine

    Rachel Goodine
    volunteer, WISH drop-in centre

  37. Ladan Bay-Meh, RN @ Insite

  38. Cathy Collison-Rube

    Respect the poor.

  39. Sr. Elizabeth Kelliher,SA

    There is no affordable housing for Low Income Families.

    That is destructive of future generations of Children. Why are we not
    committing the land on which the Pantasia stands to invest in the best
    interest of the future of Vancouver by building Social housing on tht site,
    even if only 25% of the units were allocated for Social Housing,

    Sr. Elizabeth Kelliher,SA

  40. Jean R. Macintyre

    As long as the neo-Liberals are in power there will be children in poverty and people sleeping on the streets while up-scale condos are built for the rich.
    There’s a good solution . . . . . . .

  41. Hendrik Beune, chez soi / at home project

  42. WHY do politicians imagine the current crisis in affordable housing in Vancouver is somehow less immediate and less worthy of a tripartite – federal, provincial, municipal – govt initiative to address it than the one the boys and their families faced at the end of World War II, when so much of the city’s still great housing was built? … It is still a mystery to me why the city allowed developers to tear down good veterans housing to make way for their overpriced leaky condos. Why? … Follow the money!

  43. Tina Eastman, president of The All Nation Cultural Circle Society
    No condos!

  44. Sr. Elizabeth Kelliher,SA

    It is unconcionable for the City and or Province to allow developers to
    invade the Downtown Eastside with expensive condos, when the
    citicens of the neighborhooh have been in desperate need of Social
    Housing for over 20 years.

    Our elected officials have a responsibility to the People not to the profit
    makers. The developers seem to be telling the city what they want to do,
    and the City islistening to them and NOT serving the largest part of the
    population. THAT IS BLATANTLY UNJUST.

    THE PANTAGES PROPERTY MUST BE, AT LEAST, 50% SOCIAL
    HOUSING.

    SR. ELIZABETH KELLIHER, SA

  45. Vilayvanh Sengsouvanh

    Vilayvanh Sengsouvanh, Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre

  46. Lindsey Pagdin

    RainCity Housing and Support Society, WISH Drop-In Centre, BCGEU

  47. Pingback: Downtown Eastside Workers Call for Boycott of Pantages/Sequel 138 Condo Project | robwerks.com

  48. Sara Nunez

  49. Bonnie Henry

  50. Didi Dufresne

  51. Proma Tagore, Downtown Eastside Women’s Centre, BCGEU

  52. Darcie Bennett
    Pivot Legal Society

  53. Jason Wood
    Servants Vancouver

  54. Ali Lohan

  55. cant afford it and dont want it!

  56. The lack of an overall plan for the DTES leads to situations like this. The city has been dragging its feet. It should have consulted with residents by now to designate certain blocks for social housing, locally run small businesses, artist studios, and social agencies. Condos next to Carnegie is ridiculous. This has got to be stopped. Back to the drawing board.

    Patrick Foley, Carnegie regular, playwright, and senior citizen.

  57. This is not affordable housing for this area. This does not help the housing crises here. This is not for the DTES. There are many issues, reality and valid concerns which were not taken account in this plan, which, however, many others have already addressed so I won’t bother.
    Just for once, will the City of Vancouver listen with respect to the people who live and work here, who know what will work, what won’t and what we and this community needs, and make plans based on that? Just for once.

  58. Well, I think affordable housing is a problem for everybody, almost everywhere, not necessarily only the DTES. That neighbourhood is changing, whether one likes it or not … note the endless coffee houses and art galleries … still no shoe store, no approachable, middle of the road grocery store, no toy store, no real bookstore, just art galleries and coffee shops. I doubt whether or not anyone can change the fact that the concept of the DTES as a “low income, artist driven” is really a thing of the past. I am also wondering why nobody has even raised an eyebrow about a very similar project co-developed by Habitat for Humanity and, I think the Portland Hotel Society on Cordova, near Woodwards. Condos, mostly to be occupied by PHS staff … costing in the low $200,000 range. That project is almost at completion, and not one peep about it. Even though $200,000+ is out of the range of a lot of east Van people, it is still very low in terms of condos in this city. So, who knows! The DTES has already changed. Many of the staff of those socially responsible groups in the DTES have already or will loose their jobs anyway and won’t be able to live in the city due to funding cuts and program cuts at Federal, Provincial and/civic programs. So, it’s a mute point.

  59. Lisi Feng, PhD Candidate at Urban Planning, UBC

  60. Ross Harvey

    Executive Director, Positive Living Society of BC

  61. Yoel Kornreich

    Yoel Kornreich
    Doctoral Student, UBC

  62. Maria Wallstam, Insite

  63. Anthony Goertz

    Those who wish to build condos on the DTES fail to see what the DTES is all about.

  64. I took one of their insulting flyers of a community notice board today. I felt someone is trying to insult my intelligence when I read that flyer. Shame!

  65. Stephanie Smith
    Rainier Hotel Housing

  66. Irwin Oostindie, W2 Community Media Arts Society

  67. Adrienne Macallum

    I am feeling my hood being invaded more and more every day.

  68. Please add my name to this boycott. We stand stronger together!

  69. Kim Rebecca Hearty
    PHS

  70. As a former resident of dtes social housing and worker in the down town east side I can say with absolute certainty that most social housing in the down town east side is abused by residents for the purposes of continuing a drug addiction that is fuelled by the nearby open open drug market on main and hastings. SFU studies have shown IV drug users fare much better outside of the down town east side (duh). Mayor Gregor Robertsons’s housing plan and social services plan reflects this shift away from the dtes. Anyone that I remotely give a shit about I would not to remain in most Dtes SRO’s longer than 6 months. Most of these bed bug infested hell holes are unlivable to 99.9% of the population. They are of course an invaluable service to the hard to house addicts that will live in the alleyways otherwise, but nothing more. Even for this extremely marginalized population, once housed, it should only be transitional. They should be encouraged to leave the neighbourhood at any cost. I realize there are friendships and bonds that form in the dtes and that this community is valuable. But sobriety or at least a life free of the abuse, disease and bed bugs is itself more valuable than any sense of community anywhere. Life in the dtes sucks most of the time and its time for advocates to stop pretending that its this great “community” when in reality it’s a daily nightmare for most residents. Its also time for the rest of Vancouver stop turning a blind eye and wake up to this reality and start providing these people with some real and viable transitional housing options outside of the dtes. Otherwise nothing will change. Most of what I am saying here is the direct testimony of residents. Many residents have told me they that they hate their current living situation but they feel they have no options and are in complete dispair. It’s better to stop fighting “the man” for a shitty social housing building that most likely will turn into a bed bug infest shit house and maybe use this energy to help these people get a decent place outside the unhealthy, addiction triggeringng, open drug market dtes and find a place that supports them in getting clean, maybe getting a job and getting their dignity back. Different people in the dtes are in different places but there should be good housing and care options for these marginalized people outside the dtes no matter what their position or place. That is where the fight it is people. Wake up!

  71. Brad Peppinck

  72. Jesse Manderson

    Jesse Manderson
    PHS

  73. Jeffffffff Reeeeedy ………… NIMBY … Why the hell would anyone want to live in a condo in that block of E. Hastings anyway??? If not to “make trouble” with the locals …… highly suspect …. MUCH more social housing needed ……

  74. Jayce Salloum

  75. Teresa Vandertuin

  76. Laura Brown, support worker DEWC, BCGEU

  77. Pingback: DTES Block Party to Block Condos on the 100 BLOCK of Vancouver Downtown Eastside (DTES) « AHA Media

  78. Shallom Johnson. Ministry of Propaganda.

  79. signed.
    Evelyn Edwards

  80. cry ll you want. When they start this project, there will be a line around the block and every unit will be sold before the first brick is laid.

  81. Maybe so. But this time, when the usual ‘deficiencies’ are once again discovered and the building reveals in the typical time frame once again all the hallmarks of ‘leaky condo/co-op syndrome,’ because of the quagmire of property interests this type of complex so stupidly combines, it will be TAXPAYERS – not just condo owners – who are on the hook for ‘restoration’ and/or major repairs!

    If leaky condos were not so profitable to so many, the province would properly warn buyers against the risk (some might call it a near certainty) of a 30-year housing failure epidemic. But they are. So they don’t.

    This crazy soup of rental and co-op with condos represents the beginning of a new phase of B.C.’s leaky condo/co-op epidemic – this is the part in which ALL the risk is shifted onto B.C. taxpayers. … Am I again the only one who can see this train wreck coming? …

  82. !

  83. Vancouver observer

    Isn’t it time to admit failure? What we’ve been doing in the DTES satisfies no one, on any side of the spectrum. It’s time for new choices.
    Here’s an important new think piece about the options, and about a healthier future in the DTES. It’s in the Vancouver Courier: http://owl.li/7n2wH
    We must never be afraid of new solutions to old problems. Time for real change and progressive policies in the DTES. Knee-jerk, reactionary ‘solutions’ repeated over and over have fixed nothing. Those old ‘solutions’ are not a platform. They are a treadmill.

  84. It’s really not that hard to work through the city’s housing needs unless the developer with the approval of city council is stupidly, willfully blindly determined to create one complex that meets all needs. Wrong! People with addiction/mental health issues that pose a risk to themselves and/or others need secure housing like half-way hospitals staffed with medical personnel. Such facilities blend easily even in upscale neighborhoods as does well-designed social housing, including co-ops large and small. I’ve seen it myself Ottawa’s west end, a vibrant community of mixed land uses in a city of mostly dull-as-dishwater bedroom suburbs. Critical affordable housing needs surely take precedence over expensive condos, of which there is NO shortage, Mayor Robertson in his campaign last election noted the huge percentage of downtown condos that remain vacant. Now we have the Olympic Village disaster in addition to that. In the meantime, there is not enough permanent housing for the homeless. Surely a city council that allows developers to push through housing that openly disregards authentic demographics is in breach of its most basic duty and should be replaced. Vancouver architects do not appear to study designs other than leaky condos. They should get out more – at least as far as the Irving Barber Centre at UBC, which contains a wonderful collection of books on construction and building design they should open occasionally.

  85. Talk,talk,talk…DERA and DERAH…37 years of History buried and now PHS who purport to help are actually profiting off our poverty. Its a Joke. We are a joke.

  86. Did you guys know they have just approved to tear-down a heritage building for a new condo? This needs a demonstration too!

    https://genuinewitty.wordpress.com/2011/12/13/occupypbx-emergency-announcement-a-call-to-the-99-to-call-our-leaders/

  87. If real estate lawyers ever bothered to discharge their obligations to advise prospective buyers of the risks involved in condo ownership under the current scheme, no one would buy. That’s one huge, yawning gap in the transaction. The other is the disconnect btwn the housing needs of Vancouver’s ACTUAL demographics and the second- and third-rate designs local building mo’feshnuls wish to foist on us.

    The question is why city council refuses to close the gap by fulfilling their mandate, which is to set the parameters for development applications that truly meet the needs of their constituents.

    Condos are for wealthy absent landlords or young, healthy people with lots of money and time to devote to typically very labor-intensive condo management, in which owners with little or no expertise in building science or condo law fight and bully each other over just about everything. Condos here are typically poorly designed, poorly built and poorly managed.

    The multi-family housing that IS required is co-operative communities and different types of rental stock.

    Again, if the City requires federal and provincial subsidies to provide adequate affordable housing, it is city council’s lookout to negotiate it. That’s what the job requires.

  88. SRO Resident

    Hahahaha, The poverty pimps are getting nervous
    The DTES Ghetto which is their bread and butter is being taken down brick by dirty, grime encrusted brick.

    You’re time is also coming poverty pimps.
    A big boot is going to come down on your heads soon and squash you like a bug. enjoy it while it last.. but the end is coming.

    – SRO resident who is tired of you.

  89. Man, do I hear you, oh, tired one! Poverty is now enriching a growing legion of self-appointed experts who imagine they are advocates for someone other than themselves. Who can keep up with the army of job-training/employment counselors, who wouldn’t know what an effective job club is let alone how to run one. How many zillions do these characters divert from public programs that really do improve the lives of the city’s poor? Tired, you are not alone.

  90. B. Caron – Rain City Housing, BCGEU

  91. Jo-Anne Tremblett – Insite

  92. Matt Granlund

    This is a very troubling development.

  93. Patricia Hynds, RN

  94. Aura Roig Forteza

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