Below are the comments I made at City Council, urging them to spend at least another year so that they could hear from a broader cross-section of our community. Of particular concern in the Emerging Directions taken by City Planning is the plan that all new housing north of Keefer, from Victory Square to Clark Drive, be 60% social housing, and that there be a ‘rental only’ zone in Gastown. I’ll post a reference to the City’s map so you can see the precise boundaries of what is proposed. Concerns expressed by Crosstown residents are that these proposals will create a ‘poverty ghetto’ and destroy any semblance of balance and revitalization.
In the decision to proceed, staff are proposing a number of Public Information Sessions. I hope you will find time to attend and let staff know what your thoughts and aspirations are.
The planning process is being co-chaired by the Building our Community Society, a charitable foundation, and the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council, who haven’t participated in months, since their representatives were ousted by the associations membership. Consistent with our position, the Strathcona Residents Association urged council to disband the current plan and go back to the drawing board to develop an inclusive process. This advice was also ignored by Council.
We will continue to work with neighbouring communities to convince Council to develop plans that build strong healthy communities.