July 8, 2015
For immediate release.
OPPOSITION GROWING TO MASSIVE TOWER ON COMMERCIAL DRIVE
Vancouver. Concerned citizens of Grandview-Woodland are moving to block a project being proposed by the developer Boffo Properties at the corner of Commercial Drive and Venables Street.
Boffo is proposing a massive development for this site, including a 15-storey tower with 150 market condo units and an eight-storey tower with expanded facilities for the Kettle Friendship Society, including 30 units of supportive housing for Kettle clients.
“We want to emphasize that we are not opposed to the Kettle or its valuable services for people with mental health concerns,” said spokesperson Barbara Cameron. “We strongly support the Kettle and its work”.
“Yet the key point here is that a massive and dense, high-rise tower would be completely out of context with our low rise, people-friendly and much-loved Commercial Drive community and extremely destructive to the neighbourhood. The Kettle should get expanded facilities, but not at such a cost to its neighbours.”
The No Tower coalition is active and now has over 800 signatures on its two ongoing petitions against the tower proposal. The group will continue to lobby vigorously for practical alternatives to the project, without a tower.
“We absolutely reject the argument that all possible sources of funding for the Kettle have been explored,” Cameron said. Just today Vancouver City Councillor Kerry Jang noted “the provincial government has to continue to invest in housing and begin a second phase of development where supportive housing is built on city property.” (Vancouver Courier July 8, 2015.) The City has a key piece of available property at the Venables/Commercial corner, which could be put into play for the Kettle.
Services to people with mental illness are part of Canada’s social safety net, the No Tower group emphasized. They should be publicly funded, in ways that do not have a negative community impact.
Giving private developers inappropriate density and height bonuses in exchange for providing necessary mental health services would set a dangerous precedent. It should not be allowed.