DTES Erasure

October 5, 2009

Dear Mayor Robertson,


Re: Downtown Eastside erased from city maps

This may seem like a small quibbly thing for you, but for Downtown Eastside Residents, it is a big thing. The City has been putting out maps that have erased our neighbourhood. To be specific, page 4 and 5 of the city’s March, 2009 Social Indicators and Trends report had no DTES and has divided the DTES into Strathcona and Downtown. This also happens on pages 31, 35, 40, 44 and 58.

The disappeared DTES has already been included in this article about children in the Vancouver Sun:

http://communities.canada.com/vancouversun/blogs/parenting/archive/2009/08/19/which-vancouver-neighbourhood-has-the-most-elementary-school-kids.aspx

Although there are 23 local areas noted on the city’s website:

http://vancouver.ca/community_profiles/communityList.htm

there are only 22 areas in the Social Trends report.

The Carnegie Action Project is finishing up on a community consultation process involving over 1200 low-income DTES residents. Last month we presented the results of our mapping project to your DTES staff. The mapping project identified at least 10 community assets in the DTES that residents want to preserve. They include acceptance, empathy, social justice, appreciation for community and cultural heritage, a strong sense of community. Some of these are assets that other communities would die for, yet developers, and now, the city, seem bent on erasing our DTES community from their maps.

Displacement is really happening. In 2009, CCAP’s hotel survey found an additional 800 hotel rooms between 2008 and 2009, lost to rent increases beyond what people under the LICO can afford. The success of Woodwards has driven up land values in the area, which makes it more difficult for DTES residents to secure their tenure here. We hope council will help us take another path, one that recognizes the rights of low-income people to not be displaced from their historical community because land has suddenly it has become more valuable.

The DTES is not erased off of all your maps. City reports like the DTES Housing Plan have maps of the DTES that include it’s eight subareas of Victory Square, Oppenheimer area, Gastown, Strathcona, Chinatown, Thornton Park, Hastings Corridor and Industrial.

We ask you to have your staff put the DTES back into maps about city neighbourhoods. We aren’t gone yet and don’t plan to go!! Thank you.

Yours truly,

Wendy Pedersen

DTES Resident and Organizer of CCAP