We received a cc of the following email to Mayor and Council from a neighbor in Cedar Cottage. I thought that it expressed so well and in such a heartfelt manner the concerns many of us feel that I decided to ask him if I could share it here. Here it is…
Dear Mayor Robertson, and selected City councilors,
I am writing with increasing concern over the rapid density and development that is occurring in our neighbourhood. I have been a longtime resident of Cedar Cottage, and this street, and have seen how our vibrant single family community has been increasing disaffected by the short-sighted developer-focused preferential treatment given to such high density developments. The increasing concern of residents now is the stealth manner in which the city is not only processing these applications, but also the lack of proper and appropriate community engagement. Why?
While the broader real estate climate in Vancouver has proceeded to inflate property values to such an overinflated price that even high income professionals now find our city unaffordable, the city, it seems is merely complicit in encouraging this approach. Again, why? Why have the views and, even basic property ideals of single family detached development not been respected? Indeed, this specific development is indicative of this attitude of the current council, and the community perception that views of insider and connected developers are given preference over those of ordinary citizens. This is not only wrong, but also goes against the promoted “change approach” that current council had indicated would occur (e.g., community views would be given significant consideration in future decisions).
This is not a new problem. Indeed, in this particular community, we have seen rapid change without full community participation for the last 20 years. While a city plan probably exists outlining the zoning and density change, the community input on such has been highly limited. The first example is the the approval of the East 15th and Clark Street mega development. The second are the approval of repeated high density residential complexes along commercial drive and Stainsbury Street along the former TELUS commercial lands. Third, the approval of high density developments at Kingsway and Knight and then the Kingsway corridor. And now, the seeming approval of another site that residents hold dear, to another undesired high use, poor location, site without considering the community concerns. Once again, why?
In fact, I have seen first-hand the pressures of increased density and how the city has done little to address resident concerns (parking, refuse, congestion, and crime). Even if your council can respond to any plan to address these challenges in response to specific complaints, there is no visible or prominent plan provided to address these concerns. The development, and profiteering, it seems, continues. For example, the city in its approach, appears to favour the west side (i.e., the “crème de la crème of Vancouver”) over the east side. Previously I was advised in my letter that such a divergence in provisioning city services does not exist. Yet, if the below is true regarding Dunbar, why has Dunbar as noted or other similar neighbourhood allowed preference in the development agenda.
Therefore, I wish to not only voice my vigorous opposition to this mega development, I ask that a moratorium be placed in our cherished neighbourhood until such time that our community views have been fully and properly considered. This includes, revising the community plan, providing repeat deliberative committees, and working groups, where the community can have its concerns addressed. Most importantly, let residents determine the outcome of the overall development plan, according to community-specific vision, not of developers; it is the people, not connected real estate insiders who should have the final say.
Please address this development and our issues, so that I do not further see the decline of our precious community hub. I ask, at the earliest convenience, council take the views of CCAN to heart, implement our recommendations, and deny this development. Take heed, government works for the people, not for insiders, profiteers, or special friends of elected officials. The example of how voters were taken for granted, was quite evident in the last municipal election, and of most recent, the election of a new government in Alberta: voters matter, not special interests.
Thus, I would appreciate a discussion and response, would welcome a chat with yourself or interested councilors particularly Mr George Affleck, who has responded favourable to such feedback before. Thank you for attention to my letter and my sincere desire for the betterment of our beloved community, not it’s decline.