In the Network: Media Co-op Dominion   Locals: HalifaxMontrealTorontoVancouver

2400 Motel and Jericho Hostel

A Case of Vancouver ADD (Avoidance, Desperation, Disappearance)

by Joseph Jones

2400 Motel and Jericho Hostel

Also posted by Joseph Jones:

Hot Potato Homelessness

Have you ever seen a hot potato blow up? Well, the City of Vancouver has a magical hot potato. A potato that goes kablooey over and over and over again.

As 2020 ends, Vancouver stews with twenty-twenty hindsight over when and how to disappear its current manifestation of the hot potato – Strathcona Tent City. New magic is sought after.

During 2020 Vancouver City Council dithered away many fine-weather months, while piling rezoning onto rezoning to try to keep developers happy. Despite the mid-May clearance of a two-year tent city at Oppenheimer Park, that pressing circumstance kept on getting relegated to mañana.

But as frost began to bite the air in mid-October, Council went into "special" mode on 8 October 2020 to devote a whole meeting to Emergency COVID-19 Relief for Unsheltered Vancouver Residents.

A cynic might suspect that certain powers-that-be have been thinking that footdragging might help the covid pandemic bring about a less costly "solution." Despite all their fervid verbal fancy-dancing to tunes of "concern."

Sidewinder Missile

During those tardy proceedings, Jean Swanson launched a sidewinder missile that has to have kept city staff reeling ever since:

Pursue using the City-owned 2400 Motel and the Jericho Hostel for housing unhoused people as soon as possible (page 9)

In very recent reporting, Mike Howell reveals that "the 2400 Motel and Jericho Hostel will likely not be used to house homeless people from Strathcona Park."

Should this staff move surprise a Vancouver City Council that blinked when a dollar-bloated Vancouver Police Department flat-out "just said no" in response to specific earlier orders to plan for redirection of civic finance to more appropriate service providers?

Politics of Tent City

The fundamental politics of "tent city" is to aggravate authority with in-your-face reminder of the neglected problem. The task for activists is to struggle incessantly against the notion that the problem should somehow "just go away" – get disappeared. This, after tent city residents have left behind the vulnerability of being lone individuals who scrabble to survive on a city sidewalk.

Homeless persons as invisible ones, rather than a visible assemblage, is a situation that responsible authorities love being able to pretend not to see. "Anywhere except where you are" becomes the credo of politicians and bureaucrats, as they recurrently have to grapple with an issue that never ever wins votes in the next election.

The present iteration of whack-a-tent-city has fantasized that Strathcona Tent City could disperse into Jericho Hostel and 2400 Motel. Now that 2400 Motel and Jericho Hostel have been put into play, oppositional strategizing calls for some concrete thought experimentation.

Persons who have been exposed to military training will be familiar with key concepts like "containment" and "perimeter." What potential do these particular two sites offer as terrain on which to execute future tent city maneuvers?

Start with Jericho Hostel. If you want to regiment and control a possibly rowdy crew, what better space to invite them into than a purpose-built former military barracks stuck way out at the end of nowhere?

Norquay in East Vancouver

The 2400 Motel site on Kingsway presents far more intriguing possibilities. With 65 units in 23 separate physical structures, primarily distributed as small cottages over an area of 3.5 acres, the site offers startling potential for staging blowback drama. Especially when the extensive difficult-to-police frontages along Kingsway, East 33rd Avenue, and East 30th Avenue are taken into account.

Besides which, reinforcements likely could be mustered easily from an established and growing homeless constituency in the immediately surrounding area.

The 2400 Motel is what it is because the Property Endowment Fund wants to landbank on the backs of East Vancouver residents. And the supersecret PEF rules Vancouver, perpetually double-dealing as a municipal real estate speculator.

For ten years now, the City of Vancouver has stonewalled on its 2010 Norquay Plan commitment to deliver amenity to the heart of what planners proclaimed would be a "Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre." Amenity was specified to include this:

The Strategy targets achieving 100 units or 20% of the 500 units possible at the 2400 Motel site, addressing between 25% and 35% of the total need for social housing in the neighbourhood. (page 9)

Norquay Village Public Benefits Strategy

So now, in late 2020, we come to trying to stuff a few desperate bodies into
an old motel. When City of Vancouver already could have delivered ONE HUNDRED
promised units of social housing.

Tent city activists, please put Norquay on your radar.

In Vancouver, tent city history really has been just one damn thing after another.

Further Reading

Kenneth Chan. Vancouver City Council signals new homeless shelter at
285-bed Jericho Beach hostel. Daily Hive (9 Oct 2020)

Dan Fumano. Park board, city moving to end Strathcona Park tent city. Vancouver Sun (14 Dec 2020)

Mike Howell. Strathcona Park homeless camp will remain in place at Christmas. Business in Vancouver (15 Dec 2020)

Eric Zimmer. Park Board pushes forward with homeless shelter at Jericho Beach hostel. Daily Hive (14 Dec 2020)

Vancouver releases strategy to move homeless people out of Strathcona Park. CBC News (14 Dec 2020)

Jen St. Denis. After Deaths and Injuries, Strathcona Park Camp Gets More Services. Tyee (15 Dec 2020)

Recent Timeline

History becomes confusing when remnants of hot potato moulder all over the place. Here is a sampling of the detritus, not even going back as far as Woodsquat (2002) []


58 West Hasting 2010 Olympics Tent City (Feb 2010)

Carlito Pablo. Downtown Eastside tent city highlights lack of housing in Vancouver. Georgia Straight (17 Feb 2010)


Olympic Village Tent City (26 Feb 2011)

Joseph Jones. Tent City Activists Go Homeless. Vancouver Media Co-op (27 Feb 2011)


Oppenheimer Park Tent City (2014) goes down with five arrests on 16 October 2014

Oppenheimer Park: 5 arrested as tent city comes down. CBC (16 Oct 2014)


Ten Year Tent City (2017)

Joseph Jones. Gimme Shelter ... No! How About an Injunction? Vancouver Media Co-op (16 June 2017)


Sugar Mountain Tent City (2017)

Alliance Against Displacement. The Winter is an Implacable Foe: Sugar Mountain smashed in order to cover up homeless crisis. (19 Dec 2017)


Oppenheimer Park Tent City (2018-2020) goes down after two years

Jesse Winter. The Last Days of Oppenheimer Park, Vancouver’s Tent City. Vice (12 May 2020)

Vancouver's Oppenheimer Park empty of people and tents, officials clean site. CBC (10 May 2020)


Port Authority Parking Lot Tent City loses out to BC Supreme Court Injunction

Elana Shepert. 'I’d be lost': Homeless people fight port authority for right to remain by Vancouver Park. Vancouver Is Awesome (4 June 2020)

Simon Little. B.C. Supreme Court grants injunction to clear CRAB Park homeless camp. Global News (10 June 2020)


Namegan/CRAB Park Tent City ends with 46 arrests on 16 June 2020

Stephanie Ip / Mike Raptis. 46 people arrested as Vancouver police order tent city out of CRAB Park area. Vancouver Sun (17 June 2020)


Strathcona Park Tent City rises up at midsummer 2020

Jon Hernandez. Days after Vancouver's Crab Park tent city dismantled, new camp growing in Strathcona. CBC (21 June 2020)


Catch the news as it breaks: follow the VMC on Twitter.
Join the Vancouver Media Co-op today. Click here to learn about the benefits of membership.

Creative Commons license icon Creative Commons license icon Creative Commons license icon

The site for the Vancouver local of The Media Co-op has been archived and will no longer be updated. Please visit the main Media Co-op website to learn more about the organization.