‘Walking dead roaming the streets’: Local BIA president agrees with Vancouver’s Tripadvisor review – BC

Vancouver suffers from a myriad of social challenges and now an avalanche of negative reviews from summer tourists is presenting the city’s already visible homeless plight to a global audience.

While several visitors to Gastown and Chinatown told Global News on Monday they enjoyed the sites, many said they were taken aback by the street disorder, drug use and open defecation, and the sprawling tent city on the sidewalks along East Hastings west of Main Street.

“Generally in a big city you would expect homelessness, but not to the extent that I’ve seen on this street,” said a man from the San Francisco Bay Area.

“The kids were a little scared to be honest because they didn’t see it,” a Chicago dad added.

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Recent Tripadvisor reviews of both neighborhoods are scathing.

“Horrible and scary!” wrote one reviewer, who added, “Never going back to Vancouver’s Chinatown.”

Karen H from North Yorkshire in the UK wrote: “AVOID AVOID AVOID – SHOCKING – SLUMS – SAD.”

“No. Not today! Stay away,” said another reviewer who said he would not eat anywhere in Chinatown.

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East Hastings tent city removal is set to begin on Tuesday

East Hastings tent city removal is set to begin on Tuesday

A visitor from New York who was “very disappointed” in Gastown wrote: “We had to walk through very depressed streets with tent villages on the sidewalks.”

“One of the worst and least recommendable I have ever visited!!” added a reviewer who described Chinatown as dirty and dangerous.

A visitor to Nottingham, UK said, “It’s like a scene from ‘The Walking Dead'”, after visiting Chinatown’s Millennium Gate.

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Vancouver Chinatown BIA President Jordan Eng said he had to agree with Tripadvisor’s review.

“You have walking dead roaming the streets,” Eng told Global News.

Negative reviews are a symptom of a broken system that desperately needs a fix, he added.

“We have a taxpayer-funded Downtown Eastside that has supporters who perpetuate the status quo… What about rehabilitation? How about making these people better.

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Julian Somers, professor of health sciences at Simon Fraser University, said the way governments deal with mental health and addictions in the Downtown Eastside (DTES) is not working.

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Somers cites detention centers full of people previously diagnosed with serious mental illness and addictions, more visible homelessness and an escalation in violent and survival crime for the failure of the current system.

“All the evidence confirms that things are getting worse,” Somers said Monday.

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Somers, who is also a clinical psychologist, said it was time for a new approach. It advocates for recovery-oriented housing distributed throughout the city to meet the specific needs of people with serious mental illnesses.

The alternative solution clinically assesses those deemed ‘hardest to house’ before giving them the choice of affordable self-catering accommodation, with supports to ensure each client’s stability throughout recovery, he added. .

“The results are dramatic reductions in medical emergencies, in crime,” Somers told Global News.

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As things stand, he said the most vulnerable population is concentrated in an area with a revolving door of social and crisis services.

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“It keeps people in perpetual crisis,” he explained. “Where is the opportunity to leave it? And that’s where we’re currently denying opportunities to people in British Columbia. »

This ongoing crisis remains on full display in the DTES and adjacent neighborhoods for tourists and locals alike.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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