Earlier this fall Vancouver’s Gallery Gachet was notified that 100 percent of their funding from Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) will be cut by December. The cuts reflect a trend in health services towards an increasingly limited definition of health care. They also come in the context of the continuous loss of affordable housing, increased policing, and accelerating gentrification in the wake of the City’s two year old Local Area Plan for the Downtown Eastside.
On Tuesday November 24th, protesters from the “Stop Demo-victions Burnaby” campaign brought their message to Burnaby City Hall. Chanting and singing, they marched into council chambers during the proceedings of a public hearing for the demolition rezoning of four more affordable rental housing apartment buildings in the Metrotown area. Despite public pressure, Burnaby City Council rubber-stamped the rezoning application, continuing its policy of displacement and fueling the speculative environment in the city.
On November 13th, the City of Vancouver announced that it would launch a crackdown on illegal street vendors in the Downtown Eastside (DTES). The City’s director of Social Policy, Mary Clare Zak, informed DTES community groups that “starting next week you will begin to see a larger City presence in the DTES, including VPD officers, as we continue our efforts in the area to ensure it is a safe place for everyone.” According to Zak the objective is to “support and facilitate the movement of street vendors from the [0-300] block of E. Hastings Street and surrounding area.”
In the lead-up to tomorrow’s City-Wide Housing March, Nathan Crompton reveals that landlords and developers are organized to swing the 2015 federal election again in their favor. The federal parties are poised to deliver on their main demand – more developer tax cuts.
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.
The housing crisis has never been worse in Vancouver, across the Lower Mainland, and throughout the unceded Coast Salish Territories of British Columbia. The number of people displaced, living on the streets and in shelters has never been higher. Literally. On the eve of the federal elections let’s assemble to demand a national housing strategy that addresses the root causes of the housing crisis.
Recently, we the people were granted the privilege of witnessing TransLink’s Board of Directors in action. After eight years of meeting behind closed doors, on September 25 the public was allowed to observe the first two hours of what are normally six to seven-hour quarterly meetings. Future meetings will also be partly open to the public. Barry Forbes, the new chair of the Board, explained things like this: “What’s changed is the board has recognized it’s the people’s transportation system.”