Author: jakking

The Mayor Refuses To Meet; Coalition Responds

Mayor's response to NO TOWER Coalition Steering Committee-1

Mayor's response to NO TOWER Coalition Steering Committee-2

The Coalition responded:

 
The NO TOWER Coalition
c/o notower@telus.net

June 6, 2016

Dear Mayor Robertson,
We received your letter of May 30, 2016, in which you decline to meet with the NO TOWER Coalition to discuss concerns related to a proposed multi-tower development for Commercial Drive and Venables and Adanac in Grandview-Woodland.

We are extremely disappointed that you have refused to meet with us. As one of our elected representatives, it is your public duty and your democratic responsibility to listen carefully to all your constituents. And over the past year we have met with ten members of Vancouver City Council. Why not you?

We note that you recently apologized publicly for not being more open and accountable to the citizens of Vancouver. We hope that going forward, you can honour that sentiment. We also recall that on September 25, 2013 you specifically directed your planning team to bring forward a proposal for a “substantially reduced height” for this specific proposed development, and that staff report back on this matter by the end of 2013. Still, almost three years later we have no indication of what the result of that request might be. Can you tell us?

The citizens of Grandview-Woodland are keeping a close watch on their elected representatives and the city staff under their direction, as we await the release of the next iteration of our community plan. Our community expects nothing less than an honest and responsive community plan, one which has heard the community’s concerns and has acted upon them.

In the past 12 months we at the NO TOWER Coalition have actively engaged with our community about the proposed BOFFO/Kettle project. We have held over 130 hours of community information sessions at Grandview Park. We have spoken to thousands of residents and visitors who wish very much to discuss this proposal and to learn more about it.

We have made a model of the proposal, and adapted it as more information became publicly available. We have developed before and after images of the proposal, based on the developers “renderings”, to indicate the realistic changes in our current low-rise streetscape this proposal would bring.

We have crafted at least one viable alternative for the Kettle Friendship Society and there may be many others. We have gathered over 4,000 signatures against the proposal on our petitions, and “NO TOWER” lawn signs are to be seen everywhere in the neighbourhood.

All this is in sharp contrast to the city’s resounding silence. You, along with the developer have steadfastly refused to meet publicly with the citizens of our community to specifically discuss this proposal.

In your letter to us, you reference the need for our group to lobby the federal and provincial governments for funding to support affordable housing for the non-profit sector. We note that the BC Government has recently issued a RFP to the community asking for proposals for new provincial dollars available (up to $50 million in 2016–2017 “for affordable housing for people in greatest need” — BC Housing news release April 14, 2016).

Additionally, the federal government recently announced its Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Funding Program. Both these initiatives are proof positive that federal and provincial dollars are on the table for the asking. In fact the city holds the key. By contributing its land (the north parking lot) many dollars could be unlocked, giving the Kettle what it requires.

Recently Heritage Vancouver held a well-attended symposium entitled “What’s So Special About the Drive? The very fact of such an event attests to the major role Commercial Drive plays in the cultural and economic vibrancy of Vancouver. It is one of our very special high streets and much loved by many. A tower such as the one proposed by BOFFO/Kettle and originally supported by the city, would bring many unwelcome changes to the Drive, including loss of nearby social housing, further increases in land and rental prices and a further loss of housing affordability. Surely you realize the negative impacts this development could have on our community.

While we support the overall goals of the non-profit sector to provide for the neediest in our society, this must not happen at the expense of an entire community’s well being.

Sincerely

Barbara Cameron
Penny Street
Kathleen Piovesan

The NO TOWER Coalition
notower@telus.net

One Year Old and 4,000 Supporters Strong!

The No Tower Coalition has today released the following media release:

The No Tower Coalition has marked one year since it began a grassroots community campaign to develop alternatives to the massive multi-tower condo proposal at Commercial and Venables in Grandview-Woodland.

The coalition now has over four thousand signatures on its petitions against the proposal and has recently released a video that outlines its concerns and proposes positive alternatives that meet the stated needs of the Kettle Friendship Society. 

“Its quite remarkable that our small group has been able to sustain this protest for over a year,” says spokesperson Barbara Cameron, “And we’re still building momentum. Our tenacity and the public outcry about this Boffo Kettle proposal speaks volumes about the strong community sentiment against this inappropriate development idea.”

The Coalition has a regular information table on Saturdays at Grandview Park. “This past Saturday was our best ever with 80 new signatures on our petitions, breaking through the 4,000 milestone” notes Cameron.  “We are pleased to see the growing community concern.” More than 1,000 of these signatures have been added since the developers released their drawings of the proposal.

The coalition has outlined many concerns about the tower proposal, including its massive density, negative impacts on the character of the Commercial Drive neighbourhood, upward pressures on land price, and the probable loss of affordable housing in the vicinity.

While the Coalition has always supported the Kettle, it believes there are viable alternatives to the proposal, one of which would see the Kettle build a four-storey structure of its own on land on the north half of the site, provided by the City of Vancouver. 

The coalition also notes that there is new money on the table for affordable housing from the Province of BC, and possibly from the federal government, and there are several other recent examples of low-rise (four storey) social developments, which have partnered with the province and the City of Vancouver.  These examples include an affordable housing project at 1700 Kingsway and the Firefighters Burn Fund building at 3891 Main Street.

“We are anxiously awaiting the city’s release of their next version of the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan,” says Cameron. We very much hope they will recognize the community’s wishes and refrain from upzoning this key corner of our neighbourhood.”

Here is the happy moment when the 4,000th signature was added to the petition.

IMG_3314

As you can see from the scoreboard on the right-hand sidebar, we continue to charge ahead toward a much higher level of support.