With the St. Paul’s Hospital redevelopment project, comes fears of gentrification for SRO hotels in Vancouver’s downtown Eastside.
“When Woodward’s was built for example, 400 SRO rooms were lost to people who were on welfare in one year, in a one-block radius from Woodward’s.”
Maria Wallstam of the Carnegie Community Action Project is afraid for the nearly 500 SRO rooms in the vicinity of the hospital.
“We imagine something similar will happen with this new hospital, partly it’s because there’s no protection fort he low income SRO stock and nothing to stop rents from going up.”
The CCAP wants the City to buy or lease the existing SRO’s,.
Wallstam says the City needs to make sure people on low incomes have a place to live and are not forced out by higher rents.
LISTEN to CKNW reporter Shelby Thom’s interview with Maria Wallstam (00:00-05:42):
LISTEN to the interview with Aaron Jasper (05:57 – 14:18)
Simi Sara spoke with the former Chair of the Save St.Paul’s Coalition, Aaron Jasper.
Jasper says back in 2004 the same concerns came up and there could have been more discussion prior to the go-head from the city and province for the new location.
“I can tell you in conversations with commercial realtors there is already a lot of buzz of discussion about the opportunities.”
He says doctors will want to have their offices down in the hospital location, as well as accommodations for visiting patients and their families.
“People are not, if they’re coming down from Prince George, they’re not going to want to stay at the Cobalt.”
Jasper thinks there will be a lot of pressure on the city to do re-zoning for all the secondary services, the commercial uses that are always tied to a major health-care facility.
“I think the unintended consequence of gentrification, not just for the SROs, but just for the neighbourhood at large, are very real”