East Van parents criticize plan to turn hotel into homeless shelter
CTV British Columbia
Published Tuesday, December 3, 2013 10:29AM PST
Last Updated Tuesday, December 3, 2013 7:05PM PST
Residents of an East Vancouver neighbourhood are demanding answers after finding out about a controversial city plan to transform a hotel into a temporary shelter for the homeless.
The City of Vancouver bought the former Ramada Hotel on East Hastings in the Vancouver Heights neighbourhood just east of Highway 1.
The city recently announced its plan to convert the building into a shelter as part of the city’s winter response strategy to keep homeless people safe during cold weather months.
But the hotel is a half-block away from Sir John Franklin Elementary School, and residents said they’re frustrated they weren’t notified earlier about the proposal.
“The fact that the city just bulldozed ahead without consulting us at any point until it was a done deal is a huge concern for us,” said Lara Davis, Chair of the school’s Parent Advisory Committee. “It makes us feel like they have completely been negligent about our children.”
Davis said parents aren’t against the homeless shelter, but said the city didn’t account for its proximity to the elementary school.
“There is another shelter going up in the neighbourhood that hasn’t been protested at Adanac and Boundary,” she said. “We feel that this one is just a little bit too close.”
In a meeting with parents Monday night, a city spokeswoman said there is other supportive housing in the city within one to two blocks of schools, and officials have not seen many issues emerge from that.
The city will hold an open house on Dec. 11 so area residents can learn more about the proposed project.