Thoughts on the Broadway Line and other developments

With respect to the NO MEGATOWERS AT SAFEWAY campaign and petition..

The information below might point to a couple of different angles of attack and perhaps some useful content for further posters, leafleting or press releases. 

Your petition highlights one of the major problems in the symbiotic relationship between developers and politicians. You note:

 “While we support increased density near a transit hub, …..”

Is this not the driving force behind the Broadway extension? The disruption to hundreds (or thousands?) of small businesses along the route will be catastrophic, but I guess they don’t count despite the lip service paid to them at voting time. 

This proposed line is largely in aid of carrying thousands of students into the maw of the great UBC MBA sausage machine – a once venerable institution that I attended in the sixties. In their future lives, if the worst trauma students encounter is waiting in line for a bus, they should be grateful.

If our frightfully resilient late capitalist society keeps rolling along as is, perhaps building affordable housing for students and the surrounding community on and around that gigantic campus might work better. They can then walk to school, uphill both ways as I did. 

Or, why not create alternative campuses for various disciplines (which SFU has done on a smaller scale) and spread out the population so you don’t have a good number of the 66,000 students heading in the same direction at the same time? Has the learned President of UBC or the politicians or city planners even considered this?

Yes, that would be quite an undertaking, but since the current $2.83 billion tax-payer funded price-tag for the line is sure to more than double (any bets?), why not give this idea a look? I can only guess that if it was considered, it was sniffed at because similar profits to those available under the current plan would not materialize.

There are unsettling parallels with experiences seen on the Canada Line:

The consortium which won the contract for the Broadway line with a $1.728 billion bid is led by a Spanish infrastructure giant and an Italian tunneling company. Their highly educated and trained upper management (and their shareholders) will do very well in running the show with, once again, a handy supply of foreign workers being paid far less than our home-grown men and women.

It is a PPPartnership, where we, the Public will absorb any over-runs and/or shortfalls while they, the Private consortium is guaranteed its profits. 

Or, why not vote in politicians who will listen? I suppose if you think like me that Kennedy Stewart is actually Gregor Robertson in a rubber mask (like in Mission Impossible), that won’t help much either – and Adriane Carr has been awful quiet lately on matters she spoke in support of with respect to the 3365 Commercial development. I’ll save for another time the issue of the co-optation of the city planning department by the developers. 

As many CCAN members are aware from such past fights, once conceived of, and the math done to show how much money is to be made, the projects under discussion have become a fait accompli that all the dog and pony shows of public input can never change – the earlier Grandview Woodlands Citizens Assembly recommendations being a case in point.

Jane Jacobs successfully led a similar battle in New York where her group took on Robert Moses who controlled Long Island State Park Commission, the New York State Council of Parks, the Jones Beach State Park Authority, the Bethpage State Park Authority, the New York City Park Department, the Triborough Bridge Authority and the Marine Parkway Authority, an institutional odd assortment but for lack of serious political opposition becoming a fiefdom from which he destroyed neighbourhoods and livelihoods in aid of building highways through them. 

When she de-camped to Toronto in 1968 with her two draft-aged sons, daughter and husband (her family opposed the Vietnam War) she joined a battle there to stop the Spadina Expressway and they succeeded in saving the neighbourhoods slated for destruction. Those little metal bastards (automobiles) drove the short-sighted reactionary thinking of the day. We have a relatively decent transit system worth protecting and expanding. Let us imagine and fight for means of doing so which don’t attack the very neighbourhoods they were built to serve.

Could we then all be invested in a vibrant, affordable, community life, lived in attractive neighbourhoods where some of your grandparents raised up the homes you still live in? Perhaps – if our current transit and urban planning gurus had enough vision to facilitate growth with that in mind rather than developers’ profits.

So, keep up the good fight. The alternative is to silently acquiesce to the predations of the developer class and their political minions – the lot of them greedy, short-sighted Philistines and hacks who see neighbourhoods simply as zones to be exploited and not living entities peopled by the very citizens they were elected to represent. 

In the meantime stay safe and well,

Brian Waite CCAN

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Urban Design Panel Zoom Meeting 4:00 pm, Oct 28 / 2020

A very important Zoom meeting through the City will be held tomorrow at 4:00 pm, Oct 28 / 20 with the UDP (Urban Design Panel). 

Planning, Urban Design & Sustainability
Urban Design Division

Date: Wednesday, October 28, 2020
Time: 04:00 pm
WebEx (Online Meeting)

04:00 pm Address: 1405 E 15th Avenue and 3071-3047 Maddams Street
Permit No.: RZ-2020-00029
Description: To develop a 6-storey residential building with 79 secured market rental
units over one level of underground parking consisting of 24 vehicle spaces and 135 bicycle spaces.
The maximum building height is 20.8 m (68.2 ft.), the total floor area is 4,557 sq. m (49,049 sq. ft.), and the floor space ratio (FSR) is 2.58. This application is being considered under the Affordable Housing Choices Interim Rezoning Policy.
Zoning: CD-1
Application Status: Rezoning Application
Review: First
Architect: Stuart Howard Architects
Staff: Carly Rosenblat & Patrick Chan

05:15 pm Address: 1780 E Broadway
Permit No.: RZ-2019-00040
Description: To develop the site with three residential towers, ranging in height from
26 to 31 storeys with retail at grade that includes a large format grocery store. Additionally, the proposal includes a childcare facility and a public plaza running parallel to the SkyTrain station. The proposal has a total of 236 strata units and 452 rental units. The total (FSR) floor area is approximately 59,297 sq. m (638,273 sq. ft.). This application is being considered under the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan.
Zoning: C-3A to CD-1 Application Status: Rezoning Application Review:
First Architect: Perkins + Will Architects
Staff: Kent MacDougall & Carl Stanford

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Safeway site 3 tower rezoning review at November 4, 2019 GWAC meeting
Learn more about the proposal to put three towers on the site of the Safeway at 1780 East Broadway.
The GWAC meeting on Monday, November 4th at 7pm (Britannia, Learning Resource Centre) will examine this rezoning application in much detail. Guest speakers will provide an overview of the application.
The City of Vancouver received this application on June 12, 2019; it was recently made public. The tallest of the three proposed towers is 102.1metres (335 feet) in height.
Check back for further details on the meeting.
The City’s rezoning application webpage contains further links on the proposal:
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Broadway and Commercial Safeway Site Rezoning

The City of Vancouver has received an application to rezone 1780 East Broadway from C-3A (Commercial) District to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District. The proposal consists of a mixed-use development with residential (including strata, rental and social housing units), retail, office, a childcare facility, and a new public plaza.

The proposal includes:

• commercial retail space at grade including a large format grocery store;
• three residential towers, ranging in height from 24 to 30 storeys above the retail plinth;
• a childcare facility;
• a public plaza running parallel to the SkyTrain station; and
• a total floor area of approximately 57,673 sq. m (620,784 sq. ft.).

This application is being considered under the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan.

You can provide comments on this rezoning application by filling out the City’s online feedback form

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My thoughts on the “Modular Homes” Issue

I decided to attend a community meeting last week to get more information on the City’s plan to put Modular Homes on vacant lots throughout the city to house the homeless. The particular one in question was near the Nanaimo Skytrain station. The meeting was organized by NEIGHBOURS AROUND THE NANAIMO STATION (NANS) and attended by Councillor Jean Swanson.  Members of the community were pleased to have a member of City Council attend and listen to their concerns, even though she did not see eye to eye with them.

With one exception, the attendees who spoke all expressed opposition to the plan, fearing that it would bring crime into the area. Councillor Swanson used anecdotal stories of two men, one in hospital after an operation who was not able to leave because he had no permanent home. The other was a man supposedly suffering from pneumonia in a wet sleeping bag in Oppenheimer Park. This struck me as a blatant appeal to emotion rather than a coherent argument. SRO hotel rooms with warm, dry beds were made available to the Park campers this summer, many just did not like that option, choosing to hold out for something better, or perhaps they like camping.  One speaker said that homeless people need more serious intervention, such as life training skill programs. Another sitting near the front turned to the attendees and pointed his finger shouting SHAME, SHAME!

Despite one speaker citing statistics of high numbers of police calls in other modular projects, Councillor Swanson insisted that most of those calls were not actual police incidents, but I don’t know what she meant by that. Councillor Swanson seemed intent on painting a picture of the homeless simply as harmless people in dire need, with no regard to risk assessment.  It appeared Councillor Swanson’s goal was to shame people into supporting the plan, which I found condescending.

Councillor Swanson also quoted some figures, between 2500 and 4000 homeless people currently in the city, and a cost of $150,000 per unit for the modular homes. Doing some quick math, if the building has 50 units, which is typical, that means it will cost the taxpayers $7.5 million to erect one of these.  Then there’s the ongoing cost of utilities, providing meals, and counselling, which would not be cheap. Let’s put the cost conservatively at $10 million, for one modular project, for 50 clients, with ¼ of that a yearly repeating cost.  But there are at least 2500 homeless, so multiply that $10 million times 50, that’s $500 million to house 2500 homeless people.

And what do we get for a half a billion dollars? The residents have no more life skills and no fewer personal problems than they had before, they’re just more comfortable. What incentive do they have to improve themselves with the City taking such good care of them? Is this a good use of taxpayer’s money?

What about the ordinary people working every day paying $1700 a month for studio suites not much better than modular houses, making their own meals and paying all their other bills?  Is this fair to them?

What is the message to people across Canada down on their luck? Come to Vancouver, pitch a tent in a park, stir up some trouble and you get a nice suite and two meals a day, what a deal!

And I don’t buy the glib dismissal of the safety issue. I have been watching the news lately about Oppenheimer Park. The problems there are stretching police resources to the limit, violent assaults, robberies, and recently, shootings. Those are the same people they want to bring into neighbourhoods.

I’m sorry Councillor Swanson but your rosy picture of the homeless population does not ring true.

I came to this meeting with an open mind, but I can’t support this whole idea. I think it is poorly thought out and a potential danger to communities.

Lee Chapelle

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Blockbuster Rezoning on Fraser Street

REZONING at 686-688 East 22nd Avenue, 3811-3891 Fraser Street and 679 East 23rd Avenue

This proposed development will result in five newer homes being demolished and sent to the landfill. Welcome to Vancouver, “The Greenest City”.

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION TO OPPOSE THIS REZONING.  Following is the petition link:   


  • a total floor space ratio (FSR) of 3.28;  allowed 0.70 FSR
  • a building height of 21.5 m (71 ft.);  allowed 2 1/2 storeys
  • a total floor area of 9,813 sq. m (105,626 sq. ft.);

Concerns about this development are as follows:

  • access to public schools, daycares and other community amenities
  • affordable housing
  • space for local businesses
  • preservation of community character and diversity
  • safe and varied public spaces
  • building height
  • traffic
  • transit

Following links are for the Rezoning Application, the City Council report explaining the project, and the District Schedule that shows what is allowed in this City RT-2 zone.

Click to access p4.pdf

Click to access rt-2.pdf

Tuesday July 9 5:30 PM  — Public Hearing at City Council 453 West 12th Avenue

HOW YOU CAN HELP: register to speak in advance of the hearing by emailing or phoning 604-829-4238, starting on June 28, to have the most impact.

Attend the hearing on July 9 (without registering to speak) to support us. 

Register to speak at the hearing in person on July 9 between 5:30 and 6 PM.

Email your comments to

Sign our petition.

Please email us at if you plan to attend the hearing.


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New Community Group for Fraser Street Neighbourhood

Fraser Street Neighbourhood Committee

We are a coalition of residents of the Fraser Street neighbourhood who care about the development of Fraser Street between 16th and 41st Avenues.

Our goal is a Fraser Street Plan.

We are asking the city to pause new developments along Fraser Street to allow for consultation with community members and the development of a neighbourhood plan.

Development in our community must be thoughtful and responsive to the needs of residents, including affordable housing, space for local businesses, preservation of community character and diversity, safe and varied public spaces, and access to public schools, daycares and other community amenities.

What can you do?

We would love to hear from you about your vision for the future of the Fraser Street Neighbourhood!

  1. Email us at to share your thoughts and concerns.
  2. Send us an email to sign up for our email list and receive updates on our activities and events. We will use this list to let you know when there are important in person or online opportunities to give your opinion on development proposals and other plans.

Check out our Google Map showing the development proposals in our neighbourhood:

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Rezoning Application for 1956 – 1990 Stainsbury Avenue PUBLIC HEARING:

Rezoning Application for  1956 – 1990 Stainsbury Avenue PUBLIC HEARING:

Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 6 pm
City Hall, 453 West 12th Avenue
Third Floor, Council Chamber

Submit your comments to City Hall  by email to

Following is the link to the rezoning:

Cedar Cottage Area Neighbours (CCAN) registers its opposition to this rezoning project.

Through our experience in dealing with three large rental projects over the last five years in our neighbourhood, at Knight and 15th, Commercial Dr and 18th, and on Hull St at Victoria Dr, we realize, sadly, that this rezoning is already a done deal.  So, asking for our input is really tokenism.

Following are some issues with this current Stainsbury project

               ·         the building height is overbearing to the houses next to it; 18 m (59.2 feet) tall is equivalent to a 6 storey building 

               ·         the density doesn’t conform to 1.5 FSR in the Stainsbury triangle as on the North side so why allow 2.59 FSR on the South side in an RS 1 zone (small detached homes area)

               ·         there is a lack of parking, 80 units and 34 parking spaces – this area is already overcrowded with street parking

               ·         there is not enough ground level green space available to the public view, all setbacks are not large enough

               ·         the construction itself may well destroy the foundations and create a water damming effect on surrounding properties as happened with the project at Commercial Dr and E 18th; with no help from City building inspector as it becomes a P. ENG problem — private litigation

               ·         the schools in the area are overcrowded

               ·         the community centre is too crowded; no space for little kids

               ·         the large mature trees will be destroyed; we consider trees part of our heritage and a community amenity

               ·         there is too much traffic in the area now because of new developments

               ·         Cedar Cottage has been overburdened with this type of building that does not provide adequate parking.  There have already been 3 projects of this type in this immediate neighbourhood approved in the last 5 years, this will be the 4th.  The policy, for rentals with reduced parking and overbearingly tall, was supposed to limit projects to a minimum of ten blocks apart so the neighbourhood would not be unduly disrupted and to maintain neighbourhood character.  That’s gone out the window.

               ·         the rental building at Knight and 15th is on AirBNB; this project may end up on AirBNB too

               ·         the Knight and 15th rental building has had a FOR RENT sign posted outside ever since it was built two years ago

               ·         there was inadequate to no consultation with the neighbourhoods across Vancouver to allow such zoning changes in RS zones —- THIS IS ABSOLUTELY OUTRAGEOUS BEHAVIOUR BY THE CITY PLANNING DEPARTMENT!!!!  People buy into a neighbourhood expecting certain building attributes.

               ·         there is yet another one of these 6 storey projects being proposed at 1405 East 15th and 3047-3071 Madams St

               ·         spread these types of buildings across Vancouver if you must have them; STOP dumping them in Cedar Cottage

               ·         this type of project takes years to construct, that is years of noise and dust and disruption

To speak to Council, please register individually up to 5 pm on the day of the Public Hearing by emailing or by calling 604-829-4238. You may also register in person at the door between 5:30 and 6 pm on the day of the Public Hearing. Please visit for important details.

Copies of the draft by-laws are available for viewing at the City Clerk’s Office in City Hall, 453 West 12th Avenue, Third Floor, Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. All meetings of Council are webcast live at  

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COMMUNITY MEETING on Temporary Modular Housing

Friday September 20th 2019, 6:30 pm to 8 pm


Croatian Cultural Centre, 2nd Floor, Room #4, 3250 Commercial Dr (close to Trout Lake Park) with the attendance of Councillors Colleen Hardwick and Jean Swanson 


Dear friends,

NANS will hold a community meeting on Friday September 20th (flyer below). Councillors Colleen Hardwick and Jean Swanson have been invited and have confirmed their attendance. On the agenda will be Temporary Modular Housing and key points that the neighbours hope to put forward towards the achievement of a democratically-created city-wide plan for Vancouver. 


Neighbours around the Nanaimo Skytrain Station have been told by the City that fifty 320 sq ft units of Temporary Modular Housing will be set up on the green patch next to the orchard at the corner of Vanness and Copley, purportedly to house homeless people.

We, as a community, support the building of permanent affordable housing in our area. But we do not support Temporary Modular Housing because it is substandard housing that will be torn down in five years and will certainly be trash in less than a decade. 

We support the building of housing like Brant Villa, the BC Housing complex we have on E. 24th and E. 27th or the various co-op housing complexes in Vancouver Kingsway.  We want low-rise quality housing for a mix of low-and-middle income individuals and families – complexes with courtyards and children’s playgrounds.

As for process, City Council is proceeding in a highly undemocratic fashion. Council is acting without a neighbourhood community plan and without consulting our community. For decades now developers have been allowed to fill our city with luxury towers without requiring that these contain affordable units. Council cannot expect neighbourhoods now to accept substandard housing for the housing they have so far failed to build. Communities have not been engaged, and there are questions to be debated.

City Council is uprooting the homeless regardless of their personal situation and their wishes. This is wrong.  Homeless facing addiction and other special challenges need quality permanent assisted-living facilities surrounded by a support network. These facilities should be placed in close proximity to social, cultural, and medical supports that they already know and feel comfortable with. Why are we not asking the provincial and federal governments for partnership and financialsupport to supply housing truly conducive to an improved quality of life for these fragile members of our society? 

We call on City Council to consider that people living in poverty in this city, the homeless included, have the right to livable permanent housing. We call on you to stop allowing towers to be built in our city unless, as it happens in London UK, at least 35% of the units are truly affordable. It is time Vancouver City councils stopped catering to developer greed.

We remind City Council that every single one of our communities – from Shaughnessy to the Downtown Eastside – deserves respect. We call on Council to halt all construction of Temporary Modular Housing throughout Vancouver until communities have each adopted a community plan and decided on the kind of housing it wishes to have. 

Do not hide behind your employees. We did not elect the Director of Planning. You are the elected officials and we will be holding you responsible with our voice and with our vote.

                                                                Vancouver, July 2019



organized by


will take place on

Friday September 20th 2019, 6:30 pm to 8 pm

at the Croatian Cultural Centre, 2nd Floor, Room #4, 3250 Commercial Dr (close to Trout Lake Park)

with the attendance of Councillors Colleen Hardwick and Jean Swanson 

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Trout Lake Park Expansion Plan?

It was reported in various media outlets this past summer that The Parks Board had acquired a house adjacent to John Hendry Park (Trout Lake) with plans to demolish the house, the long term goal ostensibly being to buy up the entire block and eventually expand the park.  People complained that the house was sitting vacant when it could provide housing.  A local resident has raised this issue again, pointing to a recent report from the Parks Board which puts another twist on the story. It’s one thing for the City to provide houses for the rental market but what is the real long term strategy?  Could it be a block-long six-story rental block?

This Parks Board report says on page 6:

“The City is revising the DCL system to address the City’s growth needs more effectively at both the City-wide level and community level. The City has urgent needs to address housing affordability, availability of childcare and other transportation and core infrastructure demands. ”

The report also says on page 5:

“The purpose of the (Property Endowment Fund) PEF Board and PEF Fund is to maintain or increase the City’s ownership of strategic land in the City of Vancouver; to support the City’s planning and development objectives.”

It appears from this report that The City’s “urgent” “Affordable Housing” agenda and the Parks Board’s long term goals are starting to merge. Does The City really intend to expand Trout Lake Park, or does the City really intend to allow this land to be sold to developers to build a large rental housing project alongside the park? Projects such as this are being built in this area, and the rents are not affordable.  According to the City’s rental guidelines, a 450 square foot Studio is set at $1496.

So, Parks Board and City Hall, what is the real reason are you are acquiring this property? Are you really buying it to expand the park?  Colour me skeptical.

The City staff person to contact to ask is Doug Shearer, Senior Planner, Parks Research and Planning.

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