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City proposes size and frequency increases for the DTES Street Market

June 5 2015

The DTES Street Market at Pigeon Park and Carroll Street in 2013

On June 10, 2015, City staff will put forward a proposal to Council to enter into a licence agreement with the DTES Street Market Society that would see them move from their current location in Pigeon Park to a larger space on City property at 519-533 Powell Street.

What we're proposing

Overall, recommendations in the proposal would increase the opportunities for safe vending from one day per week at the Sunday Market at Pigeon Park to three days per week at the new location.

The proposal also includes upgrades to 62 East Hastings where up to 30 individuals will have access to:

  • Legal vending an additional three days per week
  • A tool lending library and space to prepare goods for sale and reuse

Relocated market could be part of a new hub

The market move is a central component of the City's vision to create a mixed use Community Economic Development Hub (CED Hub) at 501-533 Powell.

The market will later be complemented by a number of other initiatives, including:

  • Creative maker space
  • Urban farming
  • Additional collaborative programming by partnering organizations for residents

The CED Hub offers an innovative approach to community economic development while achieving several Council priorities including safe and inclusive neighbourhoods and a strong and vibrant economy.

How this proposal fits in with our work

Aligned Council policies include:

What happens next if Council approves the proposal

Subject to Council approval, City staff will work with the DTES Street Market Society to prepare the site at 501-533 Powell Street in order to get it ready for a gradual transition from Pigeon Park to Powell Street and 62 East Hastings this summer.

DTES Street Market

Initiated in 2010 in response to significant unlawful vending, the DTES Street Market Society has since grown to become a peer-run, registered non-profit organization that is managed through a volunteer board of directors.

The City and Park Board worked together with the Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council (DNC), Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU), and other organizations and provided a licence, event permit, and grant funding so that the market could operate at Pigeon Park and Carroll Street every Sunday on a temporary basis until a larger, permanent location could be found.

Since 2010, there have been over 250 consecutive market events and the market has grown significantly from 25 vendors to over 200 vendors attending each Sunday.

Currently, there are more than 600 Downtown Eastside residents registered as vendors and approximately $500,000 per year is earned by all the participating low-income residents from sales.

This is in addition to the 30 DTES residents who participate in 55 different volunteer shifts and are provided stipends to coordinate market days, promote the market, provide security, greet customers, set up, and clean up.