Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Globe and Mail/www.theglobeandmail.com
New Plan for Vancouver’s Eastside
By Nicole Halseth, News Editor
The Vancouver City Council has recently passed a new plan for the downtown eastside area, intended to ensure housing for almost 12,000 low-income people, while still allowing for limited development to occur in the neighbourhood.
Planners claim this will lead to almost $1 billion in city, private, and government investment in 4, 400 new social housing units over a period of 30 years, along with a variety of new services for residents in the area. Though this plan may look good on paper, it has been significantly criticized by a variety of interest groups. Criticisms range from those who claim it will only perpetuate the idea of the downtown eastside as a ‘ghetto,’ to those who say it does not do enough to provide housing and services for residents with unique challenges, and still others claim the plan is simply too complex and needs to be refined further to be effective in any measure. However, there is hope the plan will eventually bring a wave of new social housing into the eastside, and take pressure off the high demand for condos. The plan was developed through collaboration between city planners, community groups, and members of the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council.
Though it may be many years before tangible benefits come to the residents of the downtown eastside, the plan may provide a starting point for future progress.
According to NonPartisan Association Councilor George Affleck with the Vision Vancouver city council, “This is a tough plan to fulfill but I think we need to start somewhere…so I will support the plan in the knowledge that in a few years we are going to get a report back and we will see how things progress.”
For many residents throughout the Vancouver area, this plan will have significant impacts on daily life, and how it is carried out over the next few years will be crucial in ensuring the overall success of the plan’s objectives.