Contentious 30-year Downtown Eastside plan passes

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014

Bob Mackin
Van. Courier

Scott thought the proposed conversion of East Hastings from Heatley Avenue to Clark Drive to a residential/commercial corridor was “thoughtful.” However, he said the Board of Trade is worried about the number of older, earthquake-vulnerable buildings, the plans to build residences near rail yards that handle hazardous goods, and the dwindling supply of industrial lands.
Scott said the plan relies too heavily on towers to achieve density, which, he said, “will quickly impact property assessments resulting in higher property taxes [and] higher taxes will negatively impact the residents of the many not-for-profits and small businesses that employ the residents.”
Vision Vancouver Coun. Andrea Reimer successfully proposed a package of amendments at the end of the hearing, including support for the concept of an aboriginal health and wellness centre and expansion of the definition of social housing, based on B.C. Housing income limits criteria. NPA Coun. George Affleck called the eleventh hour amendments “frustrating,” but eventually joined fellow NPA Coun. Elizabeth Ball in voting for the plan with Mayor Gregor Robertson, Reimer and the other four Vision Vancouver councillors who were present (Kerry Jang and Tim Stevenson were absent).
Green Coun. Adriane Carr cast the lone dissenting vote on seven of the 14 staff recommendations. “We will not reach a goal that is adequate enough to supply enough social housing to meet the needs of the people who live in the Downtown Eastside,” Carr said.
Reimer, the plan’s main booster, fought back tears as she told council how she had been accused by developers of being a “hostage” of the low-income community and vice versa.
“It’s my turn to tell you what I am a hostage of,” Reimer said, “and that’s a very strong, very deep overriding belief that people have an absolute right to plan a community plan for their own safe, healthy, affordable future regardless of their life circumstances, regardless of their income, regardless of where they live in the city.”

© Vancouver Courier

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