Former Gastown restaurant owners blast neighbourhood conditions

Robbed, vandalized, worse

Owners of the critically-acclaimed – and now-defunct – Bauhaus Restaurant in Vancouver's Gastown have some harsh words for Mayor Kennedy Stewart about conditions in the neighbourhood.

Bauhaus opened in early 2015 but closed at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.

Recently, the Gastown BIA sent out an email about the city's new public safety motion, which aims to engage local business communities in public safety issues.

Uwe Boll, the man behind Bauhaus responded with a letter to politicians about what he and his wife experienced while running the business.

"We got robbed, vandalized, peed on, yelled at and spit on from homeless and drug addicts for 5 years," wrote Boll, who shared his letters and responses on the still-active Bauhaus Facebook page. "I stepped over dead people to get to my car. My wife had a dead person lying on the roof of her car."

The letter goes on to suggest that people addicted to drugs are treated better by the city than "anybody else."

"Vancouver is going to shit, and Gastown is the epicentre of the disaster," Boll added.

He went on to demand the city get people in the Downtown Eastside community off the street.

"I know you will not because you are unable to HURT THE FEELINGS of the supporters of that shit show," he continued. "You are scared that you get a negative Twitter Storm against you."

In a response from the city, spokesperson Laurie MacLean noted housing and policing initiatives the city has worked on, along with policy decisions voted on recently.

Boll, in another Facebook post, indicated he is not happy with the city's response.

"Vancouver is already shit and people are just daydreaming if they think it's a great city," Boll continues. "It is an expensive shithole [that] needs to get cleaned up. The homeless need to leave. Period."

He also posted a letter his wife, Natalie, wrote. In it, she also recounts some of the issues they've faced, including the death of a woman who fell on her car from a window above and a man entering the restaurant with an axe.

"We had human feces regularly all over the sidewalk. Our employees were pricked with needles on several occasions bringing the garbage in the back alley and needed to go to the hospital. We had crack pipes and needles in our flower pots on our patio," she wrote.

"But the issue everyone is tiptoeing around is the drug addicts.... They are so out of it that housing will not really solve anything. They can't even function on the street! How can they function in a house?"

In recent months, several restaurants have vacated Gastown. In September 2020, Balila announced it was closing not only because of the ongoing pandemic but also because "the conditions of the area are getting wors[e] by the day."

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