We request Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vancouver City Council suspend the DTES Street Market for 6 months to one year until the city can demonstrate proper management of the area.
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The City of Vancouver (COV) provides the Downtown Eastside (DTES) Street Market Society with a $30,000.00 grant to manage their street market, which currently operates each Sunday, rain or shine, on Carrall Street and Pigeon Park. Market organizers have applied to relocate the market to 58 West Hastings in the fenced space currently occupied by the urban garden and to increase the operating days from 1 to 4 days per week.
Market organizers cite the majority of goods sold at the market are items obtained from binning – turning found items from the bins into merchandise – but the market is also a known venue for drug dealing and stolen goods, a fact acknowledged by market organizers and the Vancouver Police. Surrounding retail businesses cite an increase in shoplifting on weekends with merchandise turning up at the street market.
Relocating the market and expansion of operating days DOES NOT INCLUDE:
- Plans to monitor or control drug dealing or fencing of stolen goods outside the fenced area. If illegal vendors set-up on the sidewalk or laneway, market organizers or the COV have no contingency plans to deal with illegal activity. This encourages further neighbourhood disintegration and chaos.
- Commitment or funding from the COV for additional garbage collection, law enforcement, traffic enforcement, etc. in the neighbourhood impacted by the market inside and outside the fenced area. Fencing surrounding 58 West Hastings is already breached by drug users through the laneway and the garden used for open drug use. Small businesses, residential housing and established social enterprises in the surrounding area will not be given additional resources for security and clean-up.
- Plans to integrate a more diverse selection of vendors –such as a farmers market – which would better represent the diversity of the area as a mixed-use community. By creating a solely low-income market staffed by volunteers paid at $3.00/hour, the market perpetuates the status quo instead of supporting true business and economic development already practiced in the neighbourhood by legitimate social enterprises.
The residents and businesses of Crosstown, Chinatown and Gastown DO NOT believe the City of Vancouver has done a reasonable job in keeping the streets and lanes to an acceptable level of orderliness and cleanliness.
The residents and businesses of Crosstown, Chinatown and Gastown DO NOT believe the City of Vancouver has done a reasonable job on clamping down on open drug use, public alcohol abuse and general street disorder.
The residents and business of Crosstown, Chinatown and Gastown believe the City of Vancouver must and should be maintaining the area to the same standard as other neighbourhoods. The Downtown Eastside should be no different.
Until the City of Vancouver can demonstrate it can adequately maintain the neighbourhood, the street market should not be allowed to operate, relocate or expand. Of specific need for improvement and oversight are:
- The sidewalks, streets and laneways surrounding 58 West Hastings must be maintained and regularly cleared of litter, used needles, used furniture, mattresses and other drug paraphernalia. This specifically refers to the laneways running west of Carrall Street and east of Cambie Street:
- Between Hastings and Pender Street
- Between Hastings and Cordova Street
- The north and south sides of the property once occupied by Budget Rent A Car must be maintained and regularly cleared of litter, used needles, used furniture, mattresses and other drug paraphernalia.
- Additional police resources are assigned to the property once occupied by Budget Rent A Car where open drug use and trafficking take place in the lane and the adjacent sidewalk on West Pender Street.
- Transparent and open accountability on the social enterprise development plan for the DTES Street Market Society including full disclosure of overall pilot improvement plan, delivery model and evaluation methodology.
- Commitment to resolve the current market issues of stolen goods and sale of illegal drugs before relocating and expanding the number of operating days.
We understand a pilot improvement program is being developed by market organizers but has not been implemented and evaluated. The City of Vancouver; however, should not be compounding criminal activity, further disintegration of streets and laneways and increasing security issues for residents, legitimate social enterprises and small businesses by piloting a questionable street market.
- We request Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vancouver City Council suspend the DTES Street Market for 6 months to one year until the city can demonstrate proper management of the area.
- We request the Mayor and Council conduct a thorough and comprehensive economic development analysis of the street market initiative that includes input and opinions from residents, small businesses and other social enterprise projects in the neighbourhood.
- We request a public hearing at City Hall to hear from all concerned citizens.
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