The City of Vancouver has unveiled its 30-year vision for the Downtown Eastside, a $1-billion plan that calls for thousands more units of social housing, increased employment opportunities for area residents and a Hastings Street renaissance.
Bob Williams, a director of Vancity, is spearheading a plan to accomplish this through the creation of a new Vancouver Centre for Social Innovation and Inclusion in the almost 100,000-square-foot building.
He told the Straight that it could be modelled on Toronto’s Centre for Social Innovation, which brings entrepreneurs, artists, and nonprofit agencies under one roof to learn from one another.
The proposed Vancouver centre has the backing of Vancity and Simon Fraser University, which are each prepared to be represented on the board, according to Williams.
He pointed out that Vancity has forwarded $1.5 million to its community foundation for the project, and SFU is prepared to “find” a similar amount.
A report on the proposed centre features more than two dozen letters of support from high-tech and nonprofit organizations, arts groups, a First Nations society, and the local business improvement association.
Among them are the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, the B.C. Technology Industry Association, and the Downtown Eastside Centre for the Arts.
Despite two years of pretence that the city wanted to hear from local residents and other stakeholders as to how the community can solve its emerging issues in the coming years, it’s business as usual: the city knows what’s best and here’s what you are going to get.
The City of Vancouver can’t even wait until the March 12 submissions on the Downtown Eastside Area Plan Proposal to show it to be the fraudulent exercise locals feared it to be as demonstrated by the city imposing on the community a development behemoth in the former cop shop on Main Street.
City’s plans belie talk of consultation
Ian McRae, Georgia Straight, February 27, 2014
The Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan which will be used to inform policy decisions and development for the next 30 years is scheduled to go to Vancouver city council on March 12.
Officials have said that the social impact assessment will be made public before the end of the month. The Straight previously reported that Downtown Eastside community leaders have argued that does not leave enough time for people to review the document before the larger Local Area Plan goes to council.
City hall has invited members of the media to a “technical briefing” on the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan scheduled for February 27.