The footprint in question comprises four properties, a lane and a street:
While we cannot know all of the details of the financial situation of the Kettle Friendship Society and cannot speak for them on this issue, we do see that there are viable alternatives that will benefit the Kettle, allowing the organization to expand, the community to gain additional community space, and preventing 200 high-priced condos in 3 towers from being added to our neighbourhood. The proposal involves the following:
- The City of Vancouver provides lot 5 for the Kettle relocation on a long-term lease or as an outright grant.
- The Kettle could elect to sell its current property or mortgage it along with the city-granted land to raise most of the funds needed for construction of social housing and expanded office and program space. The most recent assessment for the Kettle’s existing property is $2,068,000. Preliminary estimates put the cost of constructing 30,000 square feet of space for the Kettle – not including the land – at $5.2 million.
- With assistance from the provincial government, the municipal government, granting agencies, and the public, the Kettle could add to its own financing capacity, raising the additional funds needed to build 30 social housing units and other needed space within 4 storeys (30,000 square feet, approximately).
- The city-owned rear lane behind the current buildings (lot 4) could be incorporated into the final footprint as required.
- The Kettle could potentially remain in its current building, until its new purpose-built structure is complete, avoiding re-location costs and service disruption.
- The adjoining street (lot 6) would be permanently closed to car traffic and would become a pedestrian-only area with various people-friendly elements such as outdoor seating and other appropriate community amenities. This might take the form of a beautiful piazza, such as the ones pictured below, which will reflect the Italian heritage of Commercial Drive.
Overall, this proposal provides benefit to Kettle Friendship Society and the neighbourhood around Commercial Drive, leaving only the properties along Venables available for for-profit development. This development or developments should be kept within the 4-storey height limit that exists in the area. Minimal land assembly and no upzoning will have less effect on surrounding land value.
Even better, if we could have Federal government investment in more rental and cooperative housing along Venables we could further increase affordability in Grandview-Woodland.
We welcome your responses and other ideas: firstname.lastname@example.org