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. https://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/1780ebroadway/index.htm

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.

https://rezoning.vancouver.ca/applications/686e22ndave/index.htm

https://council.vancouver.ca/20190611/documents/p4.pdf

https://bylaws.vancouver.ca/zoning/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 publichearing@vancouver.ca 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 publichearing@vancouver.ca

Sign our petition.

Please email us at fraserstreetneighbourhood@gmail.com 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 FraserStreetNeighbourhood@gmail.com 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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COMMUNITY MEETING on Temporary Modular Housing

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

organized by NEIGHBOURS AROUND THE NANAIMO STATION (NANS)

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 

BELOW IS THE LETTER FROM NEIGHBOURS AROUND THE NANAIMO STATION (NANS):

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. 

OPEN LETTER TO VANCOUVER CITY COUNCIL

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

POSTER

The COMMUNITY MEETING

organized by

NEIGHBOURS AROUND THE NANAIMO STATION (NANS)

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.   doug.shearer@vancouver.ca

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Postpone approval of Vancouver RT5 RT6 zoning amendments to allow community input

 

The City of Vancouver has proposed changes to the RT5 and RT6 zones under a report to council dated July 25, 2017, that is referred to public hearing for approval. These changes have had little community input, only a few open houses, and most people in the community have not been adequately informed or involved by the city. Read the report published July 13, 2017 here.

The Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC) is requesting a more extensive consultation process through a community advisory committee and that specific issues be addressed before this report is approved. Read GWAC’s letter to Mayor & Council.

Click here to go to Change.org to view and sign the petition to support this campaign.

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