People gathered at Victory Square to watch a music concert, with heritage buildings along Hastings Street in the background

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.

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Get a snapshot of the DTES Plan's goals in the next 30 years.

Full community plan (21.22 MB)

A longer read about managing future change in each area, housing, culture, economy, health, parks, heritage, transportation, and more.

Local Area Profile (12.05 MB)

Use baseline information about the DTES to help you engage with local projects.

Apply for a matching grant for your DTES community project

March 5, 2018 - We will provide matching funds for projects that meet the criteria as outlined in the DTES Plan. Supported projects will:

Each proposed project will also be evaluated for its impact on vulnerable groups.

 We are no longer accepting applications.

Complete our survey about legacy businesses in Chinatown

December 12, 2017 – We want your input as we continue to study what defines a legacy business in Chinatown. Complete our survey by January 14, 2018 to share your thoughts.

Learn more about the project and complete the survey

Tell us what you think about legacy businesses in Chinatown

November 21, 2017 – We are studying the importance of legacy businesses to Chinatown’s character. Join us for a community forum on December 8, 2017 to hear about the initial results from a consultant study, and be sure take our upcoming survey on the topic as well.

Learn more about the project and register for the community forum

Wrapping up the Chinese Society Buildings Matching Grants Program

October 17, 2017 – Over the last three years, we have been providing matching grants to fund critical repairs to buildings owned by Chinese Societies around the Downtown Eastside. The program helped fund repairs to buildings with low-income housing, cultural spaces, and heritage value.

This work now continues with the Chinese Society Legacy Program, which provides further support and capacity building to Chinese Societies.

Hastings-Kiwassa Urban Design guidelines

September 23, 2017 – We held two open houses about proposed guidelines for the Hastings-Kiwassa area.  Your feedback will help us develop urban design guidelines that will influence how new buildings along East Hastings Street and Kiwassa will look. 

View the material from the open house and send feedback

Read the September 2017 DTES Plan Newsletter

August 30, 2017 - The seventh issue of the DTES Plan Newsletter includes updates on a study of historic businesses in Chinatown, recent public space improvements, upcoming opportunities for sharing your feedback, and more.

Read the three-year update on DTES Plan

April 11, 2017 - Staff presented Council with an update on the implementation of the DTES Plan. The report includes updated indicators and statistics for the DTES, and priorities moving forward.

Apply for a matching grant for your DTES community project

March 6, 2017 - We will provide matching funds for projects that meet the criteria as outlined in the DTES Plan. Supported projects will:

Each proposed project will also be evaluated for its impact on vulnerable groups.

 No longer accepting applications.

February 25 neighbourhood event: Blood Alley Square – new date

January 31, 2017 - Come out to a fun family event and learn more about the Blood Alley Square redesign project. There will be an outdoor movie, hot chocolate and popcorn, and crafts for the kids. Share your ideas and suggestions about what events and activities you'd like to see in the square.

Get event details

Railtown I-4 (Historic Industrial) District referred to public hearing

December 13, 2016 - Council referred recommended zoning and development bylaw amendments to an upcoming public hearing in 2017. The proposed amendments are to add the creative products manufacturing use to the Zoning and Development Bylaw, and rezone a limited portion of the M-2 Industrial District as a new I-4 (Historic Industrial) District.

October 13 open house: Railtown industrial sub-area

October 7, 2016 - You’re invited to an open house to learn more and share your thoughts on the proposed I-4 light industrial zone for the Railtown industrial sub-area. The new I-4 zone is proposed through the DTES plan’s review of the role of Railtown (currently M-2 heavy industrial), and reinforces industrial uses, incentivizes the retention of historic industrial buildings, and allows for creative manufacturing.

Blood Alley Square and Trounce Alley Redesign questionnaire

July 18, 2016 - In June, we hosted two kick-off events inviting you to help us redesign Blood Alley Square and Trounce Alley.  We heard from neighbourhood residents, businesses, and community groups on what matters to them, and launched an online questionnaire.  Your feedback will to help shape the redesign by giving the consultant team a better understanding about what matters to you.

$100,000 awarded to implement phase 1 of the Chinese Society Legacy Program

June 15, 2016 - Following an update on the overall program implementation plan and funding strategy for the Chinese Society Legacy Program, Council approved a grant of $100,000 to the Chinatown Society Heritage Buildings Association (CSHBA). In consultation with the CSHBA, these funds will be used as seed capital to implement phase 1 of the program. The goal of phase 1 is to have two to three buildings ready for rehabilitation in 2017 of the program. We will report back in one year to provide an update on the results of the fundraising drive, and may include a revised implementation plan and timeline.

DTES non-profit organisations awarded $556,600 in DTES Capital Grants

June 15, 2016 - Council approved $556,600 in matching grants to twenty-four Downtown Eastside (DTES) non-profit organisations to strategically advance the social, economic, and environmental objectives of the approved DTES Plan. The anticipated benefits from these capital grants include an improved training and hiring facility that has hired over a hundred DTES residents with barriers to employment; improved shelter for sixty residents; improved service centre where five hundred people access services every day; and up to an estimated seventy-five low-barrier jobs.

$496,000 awarded for 2016 Chinese Society Buildings Matching Grants

May 4, 2016 - Council approved $496,000 in the third round of matching grants to 10 Chinese family clan and benevolent societies: $140,000 to four first-time applicants, and $356,000 to six applicants that previously received matching grants in 2014 and 2015.

Three of the four first-time applicants provide a total of 19 affordable rental housing units with monthly rents ranging from $175 to $900. Half of the six return applicants provide a total of 49 affordable rental housing units with monthly rents ranging from $180 to $686.

The matching grants assist societies to make essential repairs to their buildings, protecting heritage and supporting the affordable and seniors housing provided by many societies in Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside. The grant program recognizes the importance of these buildings as vital cultural anchors, critical to preserving and fostering the unique Chinese identity and character of Chinatown, and the societies as key partners in Chinatown’s revitalization.

DTES non-profit organizations awarded $460,432 in DTES Capital Grants

July 8, 2015 - Council approved $460,432 in matching grants to fifteen Downtown Eastside (DTES) non-profit organizations to strategically advance Community Economic Development (CED) objectives for the approved DTES Plan. The capital grants will help non-profits create jobs, grow their enterprises, and build CED capacity.

By working with non-profits, we strive to help improve the lives of low-income residents and revitalise the area without displacing vulnerable residents and valuable community assets.

Third round of Chinese Society Buildings Matching Grant approved

December 10, 2015 - Following an update on the progress of the first and second round of matching grants, Council approved $400,000 towards a third round, with priority consideration for eligible first-time applicants followed by societies that have previously received only one grant. Of the 30 matching grants approved in 2014 and 2015:

  • 25 have been completed or are in progress, with building rehabilitation projects totaling close to $1.7 million in matching funds
  • 3 were withdrawn by the applicant
  • 2 applications are incomplete

Look for information on how to apply in spring 2016.

New building rehabilitation program: Chinese Society Legacy Program

December 10, 2015 - Council approved a new building rehabilitation program to protect and conserve the 12 society heritage buildings in Chinatown, and committed $3.6 million towards the total program budget of $36 million. These heritage buildings are over 100 years old and are in urgent need of rehabilitation. The program aims to upgrade these important heritage assets and create a lasting cultural legacy for generations to come.

The city manager will work with the Chinatown Society Heritage Buildings Association to explore strategic partnerships and funding opportunities with senior levels of government, philanthropic organizations, and community partners to secure the budget for the Chinese Society Legacy Program.

We will report back on the program funding strategy in March 2016.

Matching Grant Program to support Community Economic Development in the DTES

May 25, 2015 - This grant program will provide matching grants for projects that help implement Quick Starts Actions in the Council approved DTES Plan  (7 MB) to support the local economy (Chapter 10) with an emphasis on the community. Applications will be evaluated to see how the proposed projects achieve benefits for the residents of the DTES through Community Economic Development in particular job creation, and supporting existing and new social enterprises.

 Deadline is June 5, 2015

Deadline extended for Chinese Society Buildings Matching Grant Program to February 27

January 19, 2015 – We are accepting applications for the second round of matching grants and have extended the application deadline to Friday, February 27, 2015.

  • Apply for a Chinese Society Buildings Matching Grant

Strategic support for the Chinatown society heritage buildings

January 2015 – In response to Council direction on July 9, 2014, we are seeking a consultant team to undertake a study to develop strategic support for rehabilitating the heritage society buildings, to compliment the Chinese Society Buildings Matching Grant Program. The consultant team will conduct technical studies of the society heritage buildings in Chinatown, and prepare a business case and partner-development package for the buildings' rehabilitation. The study will be done in collaboration with the Chinatown Society Heritage Building Association under the direction of the chief housing officer.

Nearly $2 million awarded in Downtown Eastside Capital Grants and Chinese Society Buildings Matching Grants

December 17, 2014 – Council approved $955,814 in DTES capital grants for 40 non-profit DTES organisations to strategically advance the DTES Plan's social, economic, and environmental objectives. The grants program provides funding based on Council priorities to help the local community – vulnerable residents, in particular – to achieve better opportunities and quality of life.

Council also approved $1.16 million in matching grants to 17 Chinese family clan and benevolent societies for critical capital upgrades to society-owned buildings in Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside. Of the 17 applications rceived, 10 societies provide 407 affordable rental housing units with monthly rents from $175 to $670. These grants support and strengthen the societies, which continue to play a vital role in protecting affordable housing and preserving Chinatown's unique character, cultural identity, and heritage.

Chinese Society Buildings Matching Grant Program now accepting applications

October 3, 2014 – Applications are open for the Chinese Society Buildings Matching Grant Program. The first grant intake closes on Friday, October 31 and the second on Friday, January 30, 2015. Societies may apply for a new grant each intake if the proposed project is for a new, distinct scope of work.

  • Apply for a Chinese Society Buildings Matching Grant

Chinese Society Buildings Matching Grant Program
– a DTES Plan Quick Start to support community heritage initiatives

July 9, 2014 – A new grant program and strategic support for critical upgrades to preserve and protect buildings owned by Chinese Family Clan and Benevolent Societies has been approved by Vancouver City Council.

The grant program will provide matching grants for capital maintenance and upgrades to buildings owned by the societies. Heritage buildings and those with affordable and social housing units will get priority consideration. A consultant study will also be completed in partnership with the Chinatown Society Heritage Building Association.

Further information on how to apply will be available in the fall.

Updating the Vancouver Heritage Register
– a DTES Plan Quick Start to support broader heritage values in the community

June 11, 2014 – The City's Heritage Action Plan is now underway, which includes updating the Vancouver Heritage Register. The Vancouver Heritage Register is the cornerstone of the City's heritage program. It provides a complete inventory of sites in Vancouver that have historical, cultural, aesthetic, scientific, or educational worth.

We are updating the Vancouver Heritage Register to reflect sites with broader heritage values, including:

  • Social movements
  • Significant street events
  • Traditions
  • Public places
  • Historic areas, such as Powell Street (Japantown)

Researching how best to involve communities to monitor neighbourhood changes

Spring 2014 – In response to Council direction, we are researching best practices from other cities about how to directly involve residents and stakeholders with monitoring the pace and impact of neighbourhood change in the DTES.

Survey of business characteristics underway
– a DTES Plan Quick Start to retain local business

Spring 2014 – We are working with the Chinatown, Hastings Crossing, and Strathcona business improvement associations on a joint neighbourhood survey of businesses.

This survey will help further our understanding of the characteristics of DTES businesses and help to identify opportunities, including:

  • Linkages and opportunities for partnership
  • Local procurement
  • Business-to-business networking

Ongoing engagement with local businesses is key to many of the local economy actions in the DTES Plan, and is important to shape and support the economic health and future of our communities.

Creating a Community Economic Development Strategy

Spring 2014 – We are developing a Community Economic Development Strategy to complement the Local Economy chapter of the DTES Plan, at the request of City Council. This spring, we held a series of six strategic sessions with Simon Fraser University and Hastings Crossing Business Improvement Association to explore the various components and approaches of community economic development strategies.

This learning opportunity provided a strong foundation and good direction for the strategy going forward. This summer, we will begin targeted outreach with a range of stakeholders and the broader public to ensure everyone has the opportunity to be involved and share their input.

Supporting a permanent home for the DTES Street Market
– a DTES Plan Quick Start to encourage inclusive local employment

Spring 2014 – We have begun work on finding a more permanent location for the DTES Street Market on Carral Street for safer survival vending. As well, we are looking at how to support opportunities for selling locally-produced arts and crafts.

Improving public spaces in the DTES

Early spring 2014 – We are exploring various public realm improvements, such as new benches, bicycle parking, and neighbourhood bulletin boards, in collaboration with the business improvement associations and resident groups. Street amenities contribute to vibrant, attractive streets and public spaces in the DTES, and encourage walking, cycling, and social connectedness.

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.

Plan includes Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Hotel Strategy to improve tenant conditions

Improving conditions for SRO tenants is a key housing goal of the DTES Plan. The Chief Housing Officer now has the ability to approve Single Room Accommodation Bylaw permits for upgrades to non-market SROs. These upgrades can be further supported through $5,000-per-door grants to non-profit operators.

Staff are also in the process of developing the call for proposals for the $40,000 grant to a non-profit with expertise in mediating landlord/tenant conflict and assisting through the Residential Tenancy Branch arbitration process. It is anticipated that the call for proposals will go out in late summer with a recommendation to Council on the successful applicant in early fall.

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.

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.

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



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

Stakeholder engagement documents

The Downtown Eastside Plan was developed in four phases.

  1. Reviewing: We identified what the key issues were and what assets we had to work with.
  2. Planning: We developed planning strategies and corresponding action plans. We also identified what would be accomplished, how, and when.
  3. Feedback and approval: We got feedback from City Council and the public, and after incorporating all of the feedback, we presented the plan to Council for final approval.
  4. Monitoring and evaluation: We will measure our results to determine whether we've made a difference and achieved our goals, and assess what's left to do.

View a detailed timeline of the planning process

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

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

On September 22, 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.

Full community planLocal Area Profile501-533 Powell Street Community Economic Development HubBlood Alley Square and Trounce Alley redesignChinatown legacy business studyDTES / Oppenheimer zoning district comment formInfographicHastings Street and Kiwassa urban design guidelinesLocal Area Plan committee