Progress and Setbacks in Inner City Planning

On July 27, the McCauley Community League lost its appeal of the development permit granted to Hope Mission for a $16 million rebuild of the Herb Jamieson Centre at 10014 105A Avenue.

The League argued that increasing the number of emergency beds from 350 to 400 would negatively affect the community. It also reasoned that the work of the City’s urban wellness plan for the inner city should be done first before any new social services or housing projects are approved. Finally, the League argued creating more emergency beds is inconsistent with the City’s plan to end homelessness by 2022.

The Chinatown Business Association, an area business, and developers of a proposed new hotel on 101 Street also appealed the granting of the development permit.

Meanwhile, a July 11 City Council motion supported a request from the League that the mayor request four provincial ministries to participate in the City’s urban wellness plan. The motion also required the plan to look at how to distribute social housing through the city and improve the delivery of health and community services. Council also adopted a target of 10% affordable housing in all city neighbourhoods.

There are currently two proposals being developed to create a social service hub in the inner city. Boyle Street Community Services seeks to develop a Community Centre at the former Remand Centre and the City is working with several agencies on a plan to coordinate wellness services in the inner city.

At the same time, this summer the City launched a plan to celebrate Chinatown as an economic and tourist destination. Finally, the City is putting together a body to provide feedback on the operation of the medically-supervised injection services being offered in four inner city locations.

In June, the League Board committed to organizing a “community conversation” with residents about these developments when it receives the business plan from Boyle Street about its plan for the former Remand Centre. In the meantime, the League will be seeking to meet with the Province in order to secure a commitment that it will not fund any new social service or housing projects until the work is completed on the City’s urban wellness plan.

Phil is President of McCauley Community League.

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