Downtown Eastside Plan

Aerial view of Woodwards building in DTES

The Downtown Eastside (DTES) is one of Vancouver's oldest neighbourhoods, and the historic heart of the city.

The DTES has many assets, especially for its low-income residents, who appreciate feeling accepted and at home, and benefit from living near health and social services. Many volunteers contribute countless hours to help improve the community and work for social justice.

In recent years, the Downtown Eastside has struggled with many complex challenges including drug use, crime, homelessness, housing issues, unemployment, and loss of businesses in the community.

About the Downtown Eastside Plan

The Downtown Eastside Plan provides a vision, policies, and strategies for the Downtown Eastside that focus on ways to improve the lives of low-income DTES residents and community members.

The plan was developed in partnership with the DTES Neighbourhood Council (DNC), Building Community Society (BCS), and the Planning Committee.

Through each phase of the planning process, there was a range of community engagement opportunities, where residents, business, community groups, and stakeholders shared their ideas and feedback.

Read the plan in depth

Related projects

Recent developments with this area plan

Zoning amendments passed by Council

April 15, 2014 – At the April 1 Public Hearing, Council heard from speakers on the proposed Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan zoning and bylaw amendments.

Following discussion at the April 15 Regular Council meeting, Council approved the proposed amendments to the Downtown Official Development Plan, Downtown Eastside Oppenheimer Official Development Plan, Single Room Accommodation Bylaw, and Zoning and Development Bylaw.

DTES Local Area Plan (LAP) approved by Council

March 18, 2014 – The DTES Local Area Plan, Rezoning Policy, and Micro Dwelling Unit Policies and Guidelines were approved by Council on March 15, 2014.

The next major step is for Council to consider the recommended zoning and bylaw changes and other amendments at an upcoming public hearing. The proposed amendments are to the Downtown Official Development Plan, Downtown Eastside Oppenheimer Official Development Plan, Single Room Accommodation Bylaw, and Zoning and Development Bylaw. Planning for the DTES will continue with the implementation of the actions noted in the LAP.

Council meeting continues

March 13, 2014 – The Council meeting for the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan continues on March 14, 2014, at 4:00pm with speaker number 58.

DTES Social Impact Assessment (SIA)

February 26, 2014 – With help from the SIA Reference Group, the Social Impact Assessment was prepared as part of the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan Process to examine how future developments and land use changes could affect the low-income community in the area. The SIA identifies impacts before any development is implemented to help maximize the positive effects on a community while minimizing the negative.

City releases Draft DTES Local Area Plan and related staff report to Council

February 26, 2014 – Over the last month, the LAPP Committee and the public attended six public learning sessions in the DTES neighbourhoods to gather input. There has also been a significant number of individual meetings with organizations and groups who requested an opportunity to understand the details of the draft plan. Based on this input, we've updated the draft plan to reflect technical edits and improvements and to provide clarification.

The updated draft DTES Local Area Plan and Staff Report to Council is anticipated to go to Council on March 12, 2014, subject to confirmation by the City Clerk's office. View the updated DTES Local Area Plan and Staff Report:

You can comment directly to Council or sign up to speak to Council after the Staff report presentation.

Local area plan expected to go to City Council March 12

February 11, 2014 – Thanks to all who came out to see us at one of our learning sessions in January.

The Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan is expected to go to City Council on March 12. We invite you to:

You can also view the plan in detail in the Documents tab.

Come to a learning session on the draft plan

January 24, 2014 –  Sign up for a learning session with the Downtown Eastside planning team to find out more about the plan, ask questions, and share your thoughts.

Learning sessions:

  • Thursday, January 30, 5:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Saturday, February 1, 10:00am – 12:00 noon *
  • Tuesday, February 4, 5:00pm – 7:00pm *
  • Wednesday, February 5, 5:00pm – 7:00pm
  • Thursday, February 6, 2:30pm – 4:30pm
  • Saturday, February 8, 10:00am –  12:00 noon *

Due to room capacity limits, please register in advance:

All dates will include the same presentation.

*Chinese language service available.

City releases draft plan

December 17, 2013 – We have completed the draft Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan that will guide change and development in the area over the next 30 years. We will seek your input on the draft plan in January 2014 before we present it to Council in the spring.

Council approves additional time for the DTES Local Area Planning Process

September 27, 2013 – On September 25, 26, and 27, Council met to discuss the "Community Plans: Next Steps" report. 

Summarizing the components related to the Downtown Eastside, Council approved the following next steps:

  • Consider the draft DTES Local Area Plan by January 31, 2014
  • Refer plan-related zoning and bylaw changes to a public hearing in early 2014
  • Extend the DTES Local Area Planning Process Interim Rezoning Policy and Development Management Guidelines until adopting the plan and enacting related zoning and bylaw changes

Staff to update Council on next steps for community plans

September 17, 2013 – Staff published the report "Community Plans: Next Steps" about the process and next steps for community planning work in Downtown Eastside, Grandview-Woodland, Marpole, and West End. Council will discuss this report on Wednesday, September 25 at 9:30am, at the City Finance and Services Committee meeting.

Thank you for commenting on the emerging directions

August 19, 2013 – The questionnaire on the Local Area Plan emerging directions is now closed. Thank you to everyone who shared their feedback. The comments collected will be used to make further refinements to the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan. 

Council directs staff to review community plan schedule

August 1, 2013 On Tuesday, July 23 Council directed staff to review the schedule for the four Community Plan processes currently underway.

Staff will look at progress to date and feedback gathered through the consultation process so far, in order to identify options for possible additional steps and a revised timeline and budget for each of the four plans. Staff will present a report and recommendations to Council on this matter in late September.

The staff report will be available online prior to the meeting and community members will have the opportunity to provide comment on in writing (via mail or email) or in person, on the day of the meeting.

Details on the specific meetings dates and times will be posted here as soon as they are available.

Come to a mini information session about the emerging directions

July 26, 2013 – Following the recent open houses, we are holding additional small events for you to see and chat with staff about the emerging directions for the DTES.

Date: Tuesday, July 30, 9:00am – 11:00am
Location: Ray Cam Co-operative Centre, 920 East Hastings Street

Date: Wednesday, July 31, 4:00pm – 7:00pm
Location: Woodwards Atrium, 111 West Hastings Street

Date: Saturday, August 3, 11:00am – 2:00pm
Location: Chinatown Plaza foyer, 180 Keefer Street

Date: Thursday, August 8, 3:00pm – 5:30pm
Location: Carnegie Centre, 401 Main Street

What do you think of the emerging directions for the plan?

July 18, 2013 – Unable to attend the open houses on July 18th or 20th? Or prefer the convenience of providing input online? This is your chance. View the open house information boards in the Documents tab, then share your thoughts on the emerging directions in our online questionnaire.

The questionnaire is available until August 16th, 2013.

Join us at open houses on emerging directions, July 18 and 20

July 8, 2013 – Emerging directions have been developed with input from the DTES Local Area Plan Committee, as well as from residents, businesses, and stakeholders.

Come to one of our upcoming open houses to learn more about the emerging directions and tell us what you think.

Date: Thursday, July 18, 2013, 3:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Location: Vancouver Japanese Language School, 475 Alexander Street

Date: Saturday, July 20, 11 am to 3 pm
Location: Strathcona Community Centre, 601 Keefer Street, Gymnasium
(Chinese translation will be available.)

An online questionnaire will also be available. A draft Local Area Plan will be presented for further public consultation this fall.

What do you think about the DTES draft emerging directions?

June 13, 2013 – We will be hosting two open houses for everyone to come and see the draft emerging directions, which are the results of the issues, concerns and ideas identified from recent meetings, open houses, workshops and round table discussions. The open house will showcase a variety of proposed community-wide policies and neighbourhood level directions. It is your chance to have a look at what is being presented, ask staff questions, and provide further input. Your feedback will help refine the draft directions as we move toward a draft of the DTES Local Area Plan by September, where it will be shown to the public again for additional feedback.

The open houses are tentatively scheduled for summer 2013. Please check this page in July for the dates. 

Meetings and open houses

May 6, 2013 – Since the “What Are We Hearing” event in September 2012, at the Vancouver Japanese Language school, we have been out in the community listening to what you have had to say on a range of topics that affect your neighbourhood at two open houses: RayCam community centre in November 2012, and Pigeon Park Savings in May 2013. We have also had meetings with residents groups (Gastown and Crosstown), and the local Business Improvement Associations (Hastings Crossing, Strathcona, Gastown, and Chinatown).

Round tables and workshops

April 30, 2013 – After the September 2012  “What Are We Hearing” event, two series of round tables were held to discuss the four key themes: Our Wellbeing, Our Livelihoods, Our Homes, and Our Places. These round tables involved the DTES LAPP committee members, and key stakeholders and agencies. (See “What Are We Hearing” opening presentation).

The purpose of the first series of roundtables were to review and discuss key issues, and with input from the stakeholders/agencies, draft principles and possible actions.

The second series of roundtables involves the integration of common issues between the four themes, followed by the drafting of possible actions and directions. 

"What are we hearing?" workshop

September 28, 2012 – Come to this workshop on Friday, September 28 to check in on the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan's progress so far, including achievements and draft outputs. It's your chance to find out what's happening in the process and share your ideas to help create a vision for the Downtown Eastside.

Workshop on working together

April 28, 2012 – City staff worked with area plan stakeholders and partners to establish how all members of the planning process would work together, and to get going on planning to build a stronger community.

Council approves Interim Rezoning Policy

March 28, 2012 – There are a number of development concerns in the Downtown Eastside affecting low-income residents such as the rapid rate of market residential development, higher rents displacing residents from their homes, and the transformation of the retail environment leading to socio-economic hardship.

The interim rezoning policy was adopted to avoid making the situation worse during the planning process.

Members of the Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan Committee are announced

Presentation to Council

March 27, 2012 – The Downtown Eastside Local Area Plan framework, Interim Rezoning Policy, and Development Management guidelines were presented to Council

City Council instructs staff to start work on a DTES local area planning process

January 20, 2011 – Vancouver City Council established a committee to enhance and accelerate the creation of a local area plan for the Downtown Eastside.

Plan documents

Land use and development policies and guidelines

Draft plan

Amendments to the previous draft plan

The first draft plan - released in November 2013 - has been updated with technical input and clarifications as set out in this table:

Factsheets

Background reports, policies, and documents

Public engagement

Draft Local Area Plan emerging directions questionnaire summary

January 2014 learning sessions on draft plan

July 18, 2013 open house display boards on emerging directions

Chinese

English

May 2013 open house on what we are hearing at Pigeon Park Savings

Stakeholder engagement documents

Economic, historical, and cultural background reports

The Downtown Eastside local area plan will be developed in four phases.

Phase 1 - Reviewing

The first phase of the process takes place between May 2012 and September 2012.

During this phase, we will identify:

  • What the key issues are
  • What assets we have to work with

Phase 2 - Planning

The second phase of the process takes place between October 2012 and February 2013.

During this phase planning strategies and corresponding action plans will be developed.

We will identify:

  • What will be accomplished
  • How we will accomplish our goals
  • When the work will get done

Phase 3 - Feedback

The third phase of the process takes place between March 2013 and July 2013. Phase 3 is the approval process.

During Phase 3, we will get feedback hear from City Council as well as the public, and once all of the feedback is incorporated, the plan will go to City Council for final approval.

Phase 4 - Monitoring and evaluation

During Phase 4, we will measure our results to determine:

  • Whether we have made a difference
  • What is left to do
  • Whether we achieved our goals

Download the Downtown Eastside process timeline for more detail 

Previous planning efforts in the Downtown Eastside have served to revitalize the area.

In April 2005, City Council approved the Carrall Street Greenway which now connects Gastown, the Downtown Eastside, and Chinatown. The Greenway facilitates economic revitalization and community development in the Downtown Eastside.

On 22 September 2005, The Housing Plan for the Downtown Eastside was adopted by council. The plan presents a vision for the future of housing in Chinatown, the Downtown Eastside Oppenheimer District, Gastown, the Hastings Corridor, the Industrial Lands, Strathcona, Thornton Park and Victory Square. It addressed specific housing types: SROs, social housing, market housing, supportive housing and special needs residential facilities.

From 2008 to 2011, $10 million was given to the Downtown Eastside to celebrate its heritage, culture and history as part of the Great Beginnings: Old Streets, New Pride initiative.

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Highlights of the draft plan

Use this infographic to get a snapshot of the draft plan.

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Downtown Eastside local planning area

Contact us about the DTES local area plan

For more information about this City initiative, contact the Planning Department directly:

dtesplan@vancouver.ca

Get details on the neighbourhood and its residents

View the local area profile (12 MB)

Last modified: Thu, 03 Jul 2014 10:20:26

DTES plan infographicLocal Area Plan committee