City hopes Downtown Eastside plan will transform neighbourhood, stabilize low-income community

"Wes Regan of the Hastings Crossing Business Improvement Association also has concerns with the plan, and says business owners were forgotten. “We have felt this has largely been a housing and social planning focused plan. Businesses in many respects were unfortunately an afterthought. Now we are working with the city to play catch-up.”

However, Regan thinks concerns about the area becoming a ghetto due to a concentration of social and rental housing are overblown.

“The inclusionary zoning that they are putting in there is actually more true to the social mix philosophy that the city has had for the last several years in the area, than it is ghettoization,” he says.

He points to an upcoming social and rental housing project by Atria on the site of the current United We Can bottle depot on East Hastings Street.

“If we are taking the upcoming Atira project on Hastings as an example, some of the rental units will be $1,600 a month. That won’t be low income folks renting those – it will be young professionals working nearby in the tech community. So I think the ghettoization argument is pretty weak.”

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