Just over a year ago Money J Skeets and I authored “Woodwards Set To Revitalize Gastown” in between our offices 1st annual NHL 08 Xbox 360 tournament, the piece was done in jest with a healthy dose of reality. This raised the ire of this towns hipsters and their defacto leader (who hails from Surrey actually) couldn’t take it. The hipster elite leader voiced his opinion saying that Gastown has already been through gentrification in the 70’s and the store owners and they themselves in the area don’t want to see any change.
Lilwall [Vancity Skates shop owner] attributes the dramatic change in business conditions to construction workers being in the area because of the massive Woodward’s development in the 100 block West Hastings, and also to the city hall’s get-tough attitude towards Downtown Eastside businesses
Perhaps they were fearful that the long time neighbourhood businesses would close down, thus leaving them to head else where to get their fix. Yes, many of these beloved institutions were selling drugs to the neighbourhood residents, what fine establishments to save.
“We are not closing as many [businesses] as we used to, and that’s because there’s less illegal activity in the store”
– Barb Windsor via The Province
My definition of the DTES contains Gastown, Chinatown, Japantown and Hastings street corridor, other peoples definition includes only the Hastings corridor nestled in between the 3 neighbourhoods. Whatever, the definition might be ONE building did bring about the most change the neighbourhood has seen in years. The proof is in the street scene, it’s much better out there now. If you deny this than you are an idiot because once occupied it will bring in the next stage of soft gentrification to the DTES.
And I stand by stance that the homeless need to be sent packing elsewhere in the Lower Mainland only people brainwashed by the poverty pimps would say otherwise. Talk to anyone that works with them and they will tell you that they need to be taken out of their element, they need to feel that sense of uneasiness, then and only then will we get that area to be “clean” and at the same time take a serious step to solving the homelessness crisis we face in METRO VANCOUVER.
Gentrification is inevitable in Vancouver, to refute that claim would be sheer lunacy. This city’s financial lifeline for better or worse is development. To think the city will stop redevelopment of the DTES is just plain wrong. What other area can they so easily redevelop and continue to densify so we can you know reduce our carbon footprint.
To the hipsters, do not worry, this will not become another Yaletown. So please stop using that as your rallying cry.
“It is not as bad as it used to be, there used to be people shooting up and peeing all day long. There used to be dealers all the way up the street. They’re not here now and the number of customers I am getting off the street has gone up.”
– Dave Schmidt, The Province
Photo: Raggedy13 at SSP.com