The First Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council (DNC) Board Update in the Gastown Gazette
Welcome to the first Downtown Eastside Neighbourhood Council (DNC) monthly update for the Gastown Gazette. For those who don’t know what the DNC is, we are the residents association for the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. We are also the only community in Vancouver without a community centre.
The DNC is a diverse board that represents the equally diverse residents of this neighbourhood. The board members come from different social and economic backgrounds and together represent our distinct community. We have board members from market housing, social housing, homeless persons, SRO’s and directors at large. The DNC meets every Tuesday at 10:00am on the second floor of the Woodward’s Building. (We are currently considering moving the meetings to 4:00pm on Tuesdays to accommodate other potential board members.) We have many sub committees that are always looking for help, so please reach out and get involved in this beautiful and extremely diverse neighbourhood.
This month began with a push for outreach since the board felt that we need to improve in keeping the lines of communication open with our membership and the greater community. We also believe it is very important to start offering new programs on a trial basis. We zeroed-in on some board development to help focus the board on a few specific goals for the year.
Our outreach strategy has developed three-fold. We began a working relationship with the Gastown Gazette, who has generously donated some space and advertising on their website. We began drafting a pamphlet that will begin circulating in the DTES looking to gain awareness and grow our membership numbers. (Thank you to Drive Design for helping us with this project.) We also started a phone-tree call schedule to reconnect with each of our 1,000 plus members.
Next up, we started to form committees to help drive both the direction of the association, but also goals and programming. We are pleased to announce a Women’s Art Group that will begin in the middle of June. The group will provide a safe place for women to work on art projects. (Look for posters going up in the community sometime in early June.) We also are planning on a tenant’s rights information session to take place on the 24th of June at 62 East Hastings. Anyone is welcome to come see us with tenancy questions and consult our expert panel. We are also developing a “Legal Club” that will help residents understand the the law, and answer any legal questions.
Overall we want to be an open organization that works with all residents and businesses of the DTES. We want to bring together the people of our neighbourhood rather then divide it. We hope to act as a forum where residents can have their voices heard and have frank and open discussions on social and economic issues. We want to be the glue that helps to bind the neighbourhood rather than fracture it. We want to put pressure on the City of Vancouver to build a much needed functional community centre complete with a fitness centre, gym, pool, community rooms, and family friendly programming that is safe and accessible.
Below is this months point form meeting summary.
- Gastown Gazette support
- New pamphlet
- Thank you – Drive Design
- Phoning membership
New Sub Committees
- Legal Club
- Tennant Rights
- Arts Club starts in June
- Legal Club
- Tenant’s rights special meeting
General Meeting Notes
- Suggestion that meetings be moved to 4:00pm Tuesday’s to engage more people
- We want to work closer with the local business community
- Looking to get community centre built
- We need more board members
- Mark Townsend came and talked to us about PHS
- Karen Ward gave us an update on the Coastal Health Mental Health Task Force
- Need for representation from people dealing with mental health issues
- Work on getting charitable status
- 80% if people who work in the DTES do not live in the neighbourhood. Let’s work together!
By Matthew R. Greenwood, DNC Board Member
Photo by Jeff Topham