On December 13, 2023, Vancouver City Council passed a motion seeking provincial endorsement for the elimination of the Park Board. The ruling ABC majority has given strong indications that they are seeking the privatization of parks assets and operations as a short-term attempt to balance the municipal budget, embedded within a wider project of neoliberal restructuring.
With Larwill Place set to close and 700 modular housing units at risk the crisis is set to worsen, argues Jean Swanson. “We are [also] losing a lot of low-income units to fires, to rent increases, to demolitions for redevelopment, to scuzzy landlords who take advantage of vulnerable tenants to just lock them out (like at the Melville Rooms just recently), and because leases on the temporary modulars aren’t being renewed.”
For at least a century there have been two Strathconas in Vancouver: the Strathcona of urban elites and the Strathcona of the working class. At important moments in history the second Strathcona – the neighborhood of immigrants, workers, and Indigenous people – has been able to resist, build alternatives, and stand in the way of state and capitalist plans for the area.
“Every day that the Liberals delay allowing a new government to be formed,” said NDP’s Spencer Chandra Herbert earlier this month, “is a day that more people lose their homes.” With today’s vote of non-confidence, a feeling of optimism is now in the air. But will an NDP-Green government actually address homelessness? Will it fund non-market housing or even minimally alter the rules of the housing market?