For years, an empty lot at 58 West Hastings has been at the centre of a fight for social housing in the Downtown Eastside (DTES). The present article covers the years from 2016 to 2018, detailing the City’s efforts to defer and ultimately dismantle the promise of 100% welfare- and pension-rate housing at 58 West Hastings.
In November 2017, members of the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU) interviewed Vince Tao, organiser with Chinatown Action Group (CAG). They discussed the recent victories of the Chinatown community at 105 Keefer, drawing lessons for the ongoing fight for 100% social housing at welfare rate at 58 West Hastings.
Steffanie Ling and Jannie Leung sit down for a discussion on the insidious nature of art-washing, raising political consciousness in the face of neoliberal capitalism, and strengthening the emerging alliance between cultural workers and community organizers in Vancouver’s Chinatown.
While arts and culture aren’t bad things, governments and developers have increasingly instrumentalized them as a way to stimulate market value in marginalized and working class communities. Under intense pressure by the City to develop, BC Artscape is the latest wolf in sheep’s clothing making an incursion into Chinatown.
Chinatown might soon be the site of yet another high-end condominium development. The Beedie Group wants to build a 13-storey condo tower at 105 Keefer Street, at the intersection of Columbia and Keefer. If approved, community organizers fear that the tower’s 127 market rate units will add to the displacement pressures currently facing Chinatown.