We haven’t posted to this site in quite a while. In June 2018 we advised you that the Boffo/Kettle tower proposal at Venables & Commercial in Grandview-Woodland had been abandoned.
Nothing much seems to have happened since — at least nothing we are aware of — so this week we took the initiative to go and talk to a few city councillors to see if it would be possible to get some Temporary Modular Housing (TMH) installed on the City-owned triangular parking lot on the site.
Before we went to City Hall, we visited a few of the TMH sites that have gone up around the City, and they are well-run facilities, not more than three storeys, with as few as forty units.
We think TMH could be ideal for this particular site. The scale would be just right; it wouldn’t be a tower AND the project wouldn’t include the 200 high-priced condo units that had been proposed in the previous for-profit Boffo/Kettle plan.
So, right now, we are advocating for TMH on the site. If you agree, please write a short e-mail to the mayor and councillors to say that you are in favour. Here are a few reasons we think it’s a good idea:
WHY IS THIS SITE RIGHT FOR TMH?
- This would be a quick win for the City.
- It is already City-owned property.
- This would be using City land for a valid social purpose, not for a for-profit development.
- It is under-used (it’s currently a parking lot, but it’s often empty).
- There is a need for housing for the hard-to-house in Grandview.
- It would be entirely suitable for around 30 units of SRO-type housing, with a maximum of three storeys.
- The community will likely not object to three storeys on that site. It’s not a tower!
- The TMH proposal allows the City to retain control of the land and while providing essentially the same amount of social benefit that would have been achieved with the proposed Boffo/Kettle project.
- The current council seems to be doing a pretty good job of distributing social housing and services equitably throughout the City. No one neighbourhood should be expected to take responsibility for more than its share.
- This TMH proposal is the right scale for the community. As we see it, a 30-unit TMH project would provide secure housing for those who currently need supportive SRO-type housing in Grandview-Woodland but the project would not be so large that it would draw lots of people in need from other neighbourhoods.
WHY DID WE OBJECT TO THE BOFFO/KETTLE PROJECT?
- Our objection was never about the Kettle or their need for 30 units of supportive housing.
- The proposed height and massing was completely out of context with the low-rise nature of the Drive. At one public GWAC meeting the developer, Daniel Boffo, said he could not make it work if it were fewer than 15 storeys.
- There are many ways to add density to Grandview-Woodland more gently — without towers (e.g., duplexes, laneway houses, infill, etc.) and to maintain the character and scale of the neighbourhood.
- We and our many supporters were worried about the impact 200+ high-priced condos would have on the neighbourhood, lifting surrounding land prices and putting nearby existing affordable rental, non-profit, and co-op housing at great risk.
- We fundamentally disagree that non-profits that fulfill crucial social needs (such as the Kettle) should have to rely on for-profit developers to meet their needs.
- If the Boffo/Kettle deal had gone ahead, the City would have lost control of its property, selling that very valuable piece of land at a very low price. With the TMH project, the City retains ownership of the land.
Thank you for speaking up in support of the No Tower Coalition in the past and for putting your voice on record against what would have been a massive imposition on our community. Please write to mayor and council to support this new TMH initiative. Just cut and paste these addresses into the “to” field in your e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
(Note: We include the “No Tower” e-mail address in the list so we can see how many people have written to Council.) Thank you again for your support.