For many months now, the NO TOWER Coalition, representing the more than 3,200 residents who have signed our petition in opposition to a huge high-rise tower at Commercial & Venables, have been trying to organize a meeting with City Planning. We have yet to have any success.
On July 13, 2015, we wrote to Brian Jackson, General Manager of Planning, with a list of questions we had regarding the Boffo Tower project. Brian Jackson was on holiday and we received a response from Kent Munro, assistant Director of Planning. He merely confirmed what was then believed to be the timeline in response to the Grandview Plan and suggested further discussions would be “premature” at this point.
On July 15, we wrote back to Kent Munro, once again requesting a meeting to discuss the residents’ issues. On July 24, City Planning wrote to members of the Citizens’ Assembly (CA) group saying that Planning “was declining” requests for meetings while they studied the CA Report. This was finally confirmed to us in a letter from Planning on July 27.
We waited two months and then on September 22, we wrote again to Kent Munro requesting a meeting. Now, after another eight weeks, we have still received no response, nor even the courtesy of an acknowledgment.
During this past month or so, the Coalition has met with half-a-dozen City Councilors, nearly all of whom have suggested we need to meet with Planning to discuss our issues. As you can read above, we have tried very hard to achieve this with no movement from their side. Therefore, we have written again, this time an open letter to Acting General Manager Jane Pickering;
“Dear Ms. Pickering,
The NO TOWER Coalition is a group of citizens concerned with a tower development being proposed for the corner of Venables Street and Commercial Drive. Over 3000 people have signed our petitions against the tower development being considered by Boffo Properties on that site.
We have had meetings with several Councillors regarding our concerns and have been advised by them to meet personally with Planning staff.
We have had correspondence since mid-July with Mr. Kent Munro regarding our concerns about the future of this site and have made many requests for a meeting with Planning staff to discuss this further.
We understand Planning staff are reviewing information gathered at workshops for the Grandview Woodland Community Plan and from the Citizens’ Assembly Final Report and would appreciate the opportunity to discuss, within this review, our concerns regarding Boffo’s intentions for this site. With so many residents of the Community upset about the possibility of a tower being built on this site it behooves the Planning department to listen to the Community now rather than turning a deaf ear and inevitably causing more negative reactions from residents.
We ask that, as the Acting General Manager of Planning and Development Services, you arrange for us to meet with Planning staff, preferably within the next week or two, to discuss our deep concerns about this and to perhaps explore alternatives that are more in keeping with the wishes of the Community.
Thank you for your consideration.”
Now, we wait yet again to see if this produces a more positive response.