During the summer of 2013, the City of Vancouver held a series of “open houses” for people to give input into “Emerging Directions”, the first version of a development plan for the DTES. “Emerging Directions” was printed onto 30 panels, which were posted on the walls. People were invited to fill out a 9-page feedback form. There was also an online feedback form posted on the city website.
The Low-Income caucus of the Local Area Planning Process (LAPP) Committee had other ways about the best way to hear the voices and opinions of low-income DTES residents.
“We held our own Town Hall meetings because we didn’t feel that the city’s ‘Open Houses’ were a format for low-income DTES residents to work through the planning document together in an accessible way”, said the Town Hall Meetings co-facilitator Tracey Morrison. “We also felt that the nine page feedback document and online survey that the city produced were impossible to make sense of. We wanted people in our community to be able to voice their opinions, so we created a simplified feedback form ourselves.”
CCAP and the caucus created the simplified feedback form after asking the city planners to meet to come up with a better way to get feedback from the low-income community. We distributed the form at a table during the City of Vancouver’s Open House at the Carnegie Centre on August 8, 2013. We also had copies of the form available on our bulletin board outside our office. People from other organizations, like VANDU, filled out our simplified form as well. In the end, we received 63 forms from people with comments on “Emerging Directions.” CCAP has now released the DTES Emerging Directions Survey Results, which send a clear message to the City of Vancouver: we want a development plan that stops gentrification and the loss of homes and shops for low-income people in the DTES.