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. firstname.lastname@example.org