This week, the first-ever comprehensive community plan for the DTES comes to City Council. There's been a lot of talk out there about it – much of it well-intentioned but some of it based on misinformation.
I want to share with you what's in the plan, and encourage you to read it yourself.
Here are three things you should know about the plan, which has been developed over three years by a resident-led committee with more than 300 meetings and events:
1. It protects low-income housing: Almost 2/3 of residents in the DTES live below the poverty line, and just like all Vancouver residents they deserve a safe, stable home. Without a new plan, the current low-income housing is at risk of conversion and demolition, forcing residents out with nowhere to go.
The DTES plan proposes a rental-only zone in one of eight DTES neighbourhoods - the Oppenheimer neighbourhood.This measure is designed to tamp down speculation and keep land values from inflating beyond the 300% increase in the past decade, while ensuring a mix of low-income housing and new market rental apartments. It's a smart way to deal with affordability in a tough housing market like Vancouver, while adding a more diverse income mix to the neighbourhood.