A group of East Vancouver residents are upset over the recent rebranding of Hastings Sunrise and Grandview-Woodlands neighbourhoods into the ‘East Village,’ and they have started a petition to change back the name.
In a recent Change.org petition, the group – anonymously named ‘Hastings Sunrise’ – requests that the City of Vancouver demand the Hastings North Business Improvement Association (BIA) to reverse their decision to brand the neighbourhoods as the ‘East Village.’
“Traditionally Hasting Sunrise and [Grandview-Woodlands] has been a working class / low-income neighborhood, but it has been recently experiencing a rapid change. Although improvement is a good thing not all people hold the same definition,” the petition reads. “The North Hasting BIA is an organization, which looks to improve business along Hastings Street from Commercial to Boundary. They believe that people associated the name “Hastings” with the Downtown East Side so they decided to re-brand the area with the unoriginal name; ‘East Village’.”
The Hastings North BIA now owns the domain ‘www.eastvillagevancouver.ca‘ where they label the area as “A vintage neighbourhood with a progressive attitude.” They have also hung banners along busy streets and changed signs that once read ‘Sunrise’.
Patricia Barnes, Executive Director of the Hastings North BIA says the neighbourhood names have not been changed and calling the area ‘East Village’ is part of a marketing strategy implemented three years ago.
“We went through a year-long process with our members (commercial property owners and business within our geographic boundaries) over four years ago. The area is blossoming and we are seeing an influx of small independent businesses into the commercial district which is very exciting. Our mandate is to bring people into the commercial district to help business survive and prosper,” says Barnes.
Barnes also notes, despite the recent petition, that their marketing strategy has been supported and well-received.
But in contrast to Barnes statement, the petition claims “The North Hastings BIA privately had the brand designed and got approval from the city without ever consulting the community that calls the area home.”
The neighbourhood runs from Renfrew Drive west to Commercial Drive along Hastings Street and north along Commercial to Powell Street.