Hello, Readers —
If you are a Vancouver resident who chafes at the lack of affordable housing, you can imagine the hopelessness of my dtes neighbours as nearly half of the barely-affordable housing for low-income people has been wiped out in the past short while, in favour of development.
Now I’m not against development in my neighbourhood. But I want it to be thoughtful, visionary and inclusive.
I want it to be a mixed income area where we continue to come up with empowered, creative ways of helping each other out.
Instead, I am personally witnessing a reckless, market-only-driven displacement of members of my community. It’s happened so fast and furiously there hasn’t been much chance to react.
But here’s an opportunity.
1. You can read Jean Swanson’s (the loveliest, loveliest presence and coordinator of the Carnegie [Centre] Community Action Project) distress call on her blog.
2. You can ask yourself: what kind of city do you want to create (we DO have a say, you know) and take appropriate action.
3. You can do what I’m doing, and e-mail city hall requesting that the condos slated for 58 W. Hastings Street be stopped, as an indicator to developers that Vancouver will do something more visionary in the dtes/gastown neighbourhood than simply let market forces dictate.
Note: I don’t see this as even particularly political. I see this as sound judgement and good business sense: having a plan, and a vision that shapes development. As things are going right now, it will be too late before we know it.
Here’s the letter I sent:
The Chair, Development Permit Board
c/o Alison Higginson, Project Facilitator,
453 West 12th Avenue
As a professional and property-owner on Alexander Street (converted warehouses) since 2000, I am both fiercely proud of my dtes/gastown community and hold out a vision for the neighbourhood.
That vision entails a thoughtful, respectful, collaborative approach to development. I envision an area ultimately respected globally for the way in which those of us
with money, and those of us who are marginalized, are integrated and, indeed, one community.
I am increasingly distressed and panicked by the fast-and-furious displacement of our city’s most vulnerable, my neighbours, (and isn’t the civility of a nation judged by how well we
care for the vulnerable?) in order to accommodate market-driven demand for housing.
I am writing to request that the brakes – screeching brakes – are put on further development in the dtes, until it can be done in the context of a well-thought-out vision that respects all stakeholders, not only market demand and the desire of developers.
Specifically, please stop the condo development for 58 W. Hastings.
In hope, and with vision,
It’s not an easy area. Let’s not do the easy thing and let this community get snuffed out.
PhotoCredit: Squeeky Marmot