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Will It Take $1 Billion To Revitalize The Downtown Eastside?

According to the official community plan released by the city yesterday, the answer is yes. After two years of meetings and public input, the city released a thirty year plan showcasing the plans ahead for the troubled neighbourhood. In an area where the average resident makes less than $13,600 per year, the focus is on affordable infrastructure and the revitalization of Hastings Street by bringing in new retailers that can serve the low income community. Over the next thirty years, the city plans for 4,400 units of new social housing - in addition to 8,850 units for homeowners. A image released with the plan shows a developed Hastings Street with mid-rise buildings and an overall "cleaned up" image that seems like a far cry from the state of the area presently. Along with plans for new development, the plan also puts a critical emphasis on heritage preservation in one of Vancouver's oldest neighbourhoods.

What are the next steps? Council plans to debate the community plan on March 12 and if approved, provincial and federal funding still needs to be worked out. The city is relying on the city to contribute at least $500 million to the DTES refresh, along with another $300 million from developers.