Downtown Eastside Official Development Plan - Retail continuity policy review

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Hastings and Powell Streets were once busy vibrant shopping areas but now the storefronts in these areas are mostly vacant. What other uses can be located here to reduce the vacancies? How can we support much needed services to the community in these areas?

Retail continuity policies support active and vibrant pedestrian-focused streets by maintaining and reinforcing continuous retail and other similar activities of ground floor storefronts and restricting other uses. Within the DTES, retail continuity policies apply in the Victory Square and Downtown Eastside Oppenheimer District (DEOD) sub-areas.

Conditions in the DTES have changed considerably since the retail continuity policies were first introduced in 1982 including social health challenges, high vacancies, reduced retail interest, and increased need for community-serving uses, especially in the DEOD.

The DTES Plan requires a review of retail continuity policies with the goal of increasing pedestrian activity, commercial and service uses, and general vitality as well as removing barriers to new enterprises, development, and creativity (policies 6.1.3, 6.5.9 and 10.3.1).

As part of the Employment Lands and Economy Review, staff is proposing to:

  • Allow more flexibility in uses for storefront spaces
  • Lower barriers to community-serving organizations seeking space in the neighbourhood
  • Help fill vacant ground floor stores

In response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we are holding an extended online question and answer (Q&A) period in place of an in-person open house for this policy update.



Hastings and Powell Streets were once busy vibrant shopping areas but now the storefronts in these areas are mostly vacant. What other uses can be located here to reduce the vacancies? How can we support much needed services to the community in these areas?

Retail continuity policies support active and vibrant pedestrian-focused streets by maintaining and reinforcing continuous retail and other similar activities of ground floor storefronts and restricting other uses. Within the DTES, retail continuity policies apply in the Victory Square and Downtown Eastside Oppenheimer District (DEOD) sub-areas.

Conditions in the DTES have changed considerably since the retail continuity policies were first introduced in 1982 including social health challenges, high vacancies, reduced retail interest, and increased need for community-serving uses, especially in the DEOD.

The DTES Plan requires a review of retail continuity policies with the goal of increasing pedestrian activity, commercial and service uses, and general vitality as well as removing barriers to new enterprises, development, and creativity (policies 6.1.3, 6.5.9 and 10.3.1).

As part of the Employment Lands and Economy Review, staff is proposing to:

  • Allow more flexibility in uses for storefront spaces
  • Lower barriers to community-serving organizations seeking space in the neighbourhood
  • Help fill vacant ground floor stores

In response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus), we are holding an extended online question and answer (Q&A) period in place of an in-person open house for this policy update.