Get rid of rats, Downtown Eastside residents tell Marc Williams and City

See images from the news conference here

Downtown Eastside residents want developer Marc Williams to get rid of garbage, debris and numerous, disgusting large and small rats that have overrun his property at 138 E. Hastings for almost a year.

At a news conference this evening, residents invited the media to see rats that come out after dark and swarm over the property.

The property is directly next to two huge residential hotels, the Regent and Brandiz. About 100 residents who have only one window each, have only one view:  a garbage dump full of rats, mold and debris. “I rarely move my curtain anymore,” said Ben Smith who lives at the Asia Hotel, directly across the alley from the dump.  “I don’t like to look out after the sun goes down cause it looks like the ground is moving with the amount of rats that are out there now. I’ve seen vehicles drop things in this lot and nobody did anything.  It’s not tolerated in other neighbourhoods and we don’t want it here either.”

Residents took the media to the alley between Hastings and Pender St. to see numerous rats swarming over the garbage and debris.

The developer wants to build 79 condo units on the site.  “Would you buy a condo from someone who keeps a rat filled garbage dump in a neighbourhood for nearly a year,” asked Herb Varley, co-president of the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council.

The Carnegie Community Action Project (CCAP) says Williams should clean up the property and sell it to the city for social housing.  “This would make a great site for social housing,” said Jean Swanson of CCAP.  “Rats and garbage are illegal and the city should force Williams to clean it up fast.  If he won’t do it, the city should do the work and bill the owner, as the Standards of Maintenance Bylaw sets out.”