Police were called to an open house in East Vancouver Wednesday evening, as angry residents and city staff argued over a temporary housing plan for people getting off the streets.
Residents crowded into the lobby of the former Ramada hotel on East Hastings Street to hear the city's plans to turn the space into interim social housing.
People lined up outside waiting to talk about the development, but the swell of people inside grew so large that a 77-year-old woman ended up stuck in a hotel room and had to be escorted out by her daughter.
Coun. Kerry Jang said the plan is to give people transitioning off the streets a place to stay and offer spaces for those waiting for permanent housing to come through next fall.
"We have used open houses in the past before and they have worked very well and so this was quite a surprise for us that it went kind of sideways," said Jang.
"But I think the reason this went sideways is that people were thinking this is a shelter. It is not a shelter, it's interim housing."
Resident Sarita Beaudoin says the chaotic meeting did not alleviate their concerns.
"There are a lot of unknown facts. We don't know if they are going to be criminals. We don't know if they are going to be sex offenders — I mean the elementary school is a block away," said Beaudoin.
The city says it will continue to talk to residents but the temporary housing is a done deal and the new hotel residents are expected to start moving in the next few weeks.