Petitions

Press Release: Package Released After Mayor’s Refusal To Meet

Vancouver 6th June 2016. In anticipation of a pending decision on the future of Venables and Commercial in Grandview-Woodland, the NO TOWER Coalition today delivered a comprehensive package of material to City Hall.

It contains:
• 220 pieces of correspondence to the Mayor and Council
• before/after photos of what the potential tower would look like
• copies of the coalition’s 4,297 signed petitions against the proposal
• details of a viable alternative for the Kettle Friendship Society

“We are extremely disappointed that Mayor Robertson has refused to meet us, despite repeated requests,” says Barbara Cameron. “It’s his public duty to listen carefully to constituents.” The citizens of Grandview-Woodland are keeping a close watch on their elected representatives and city staff, as they await the next version of the community plan on June 25.

“City planners have told us no decision has been made yet about this corner,” says Cameron. ”That’s why it’s so important to send a strong message now, that a massive tower complex is not needed and not wanted on the Drive.”

The coalition’s postcard campaign has been running for two months, with many thoughtful messages to the Mayor and Council from Vancouver residents against the tower idea. The online petition also contains many strong comments and can be found at: http://www.tinyurl.com/ndc89xt

With new federal and provincial dollars now available, a viable alternative is possible for the Kettle on city-owned property to the rear of the site, notes the Coalition. This option would require the donation of city land. There are several recent city precedents for this approach.

Building the BOFFO/Kettle proposal would have a devastating effect on the neighbourhood, with more possible towers, further upward pressure on land prices, and loss of nearby affordable housing. The Coalition supports the overall goals of the non-profit sector to provide for the neediest in society, but not at the expense of an entire community’s wellbeing.

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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.

More Of What the Community Is Saying

Thousands and thousands of residents and visitors who love Commercial Drive and the neighbourhood vibe, have already signed our petition against the Boffo Tower and calling for a more community-friendly alternative.  If you haven’t signed yet, you can do so at Grandview Park next Friday afternoon or, perhaps more conveniently, online at our petition site.

One of the advantages of the online site is the ability for you to leave a comment, explaining why you personally think a tower is inappropriate for the Commercial & Venables intersection, and for our neighbourhood as a whole.  Here is a selection of recent comments:

— “Not only do I live in this neighbourhood but I have a business here as well. I have seen what development like this has done to other neighbourhoods and do not want this for mine. Commercial Driive is one of the few neighbourhoods left in this city where there is some diversity, but if this sort of development is allowed to go through unchecked we’ll just be Kits East soon.”

— “As a resident of this enjoyable neighbourhood for 28 years, I do not approve of this proposal to drastically change it by building this monstrosity. Please stick to the original community plan of four-storey zoning.”

— “A low rise option would suit the drive much better…having a clear view of the mountains is the beauty of Vancouver as a city where tall buildings are concentrated in one area. The Drive as a community is a quirky place to live and a high rise doesn’t suit the neighbourhood.”

— “This is a terrible, terrible idea and needs to be stopped. This entire area is already zoned for 4-story buildings and very few are presently that large. We have lots of room for densification without changing the zoning at all.”

These are just a few of the hundreds of comments left by residents.  The real question is: Why isn’t the developer (and its supporters) listening to what the community is saying?

 

 

What The Community Is Saying About The Boffo Tower

At our online petition site, hundreds of members of our community have left comments discussing why they oppose the Boffo Tower proposal at Commercial & Venables.  Here is another selection of those comments (names are redacted here but can be found on the site):

“I don’t agree with the height and the density of the property. It is not in keeping with the neighbourhood.”

“A low rise option would suit the drive much better… having a clear view of the mountains is the beauty of Vancouver as a city where tall buildings are concentrated in one area. The Drive as a community is a quirky place to live and a high rise doesn’t suit the neighbourhood.”

“This tower is out of character for the neighbourhood, far exceeding zoning expectations for the area. It seems as though The Kettle has been put in the horrible position of acquiescing to a plan that provides it with a fraction of the total space while acting as a wedge for tower development in a neighbourhood that isn’t zoned for it. Characterizations of opponents as NIMBYS who don’t support The Kettle’s important work are absolutely wrong. We’d like a solution that supports Kettle (which has been a valuable neighbour for many years), while serving the community.”

“This Commercial Drive neighbourhood is not the appropriate place for generic tower-type densification that would take away from the eclectic character of the area. A smaller, more creative design needs to be considered.  This is not what the neighbourhood needs. Besides being incredibly ugly this type of development would alter/ruin the heritage low rise feel of The Drive. This is poorly thought through and a very bad idea.”

“While I support the Kettle and the good work it does, I do not believe that necessary public services such as this should be paid for by developers in return for lucrative up-zoning of their properties. I am opposed to spot re-zoing in any case – any re-zoning should be done in the context of an integrated, community-driven and community-friendly neighbourhood plan.”

“This is a terrible, terrible idea and needs to be stopped. This entire area is already zoned for 4-story buildings and very few are presently that large. We have lots of room for densification without changing the zoning at all.”

“This project stands outside the planning process for Grandview, and the City is biased towards the development. Boffo’s projects downtown are great, but they are luxury buildings. The limited-term social housing tied to this project cannot, and should not, be used to justify this unwelcome vanguard of change.”

“Too high!!”

“I don’t want The Drive densified and commercialised!”

“We have enough hideous new buildings in this town. Commercial drive doesn’t need to change.”

“I know we can do better things with the space than a tower!”

These are from your friends and neighbours, many of whom are long-term residents of the Commercial Drive area. The proponents of the tower continue to denigrate these folks as NIMBYs as if protecting and enhancing one’s neighbourhood is a bad thing.

In contrast, we praise them — and the thousands of others who have supported this campaign — as heroes standing up against a corporation that seeks only its own profit.

Onward To 4,000!

This afternoon, at our regular information table in the sunshine at Grandview Park, we secured the 3,000th signature on the petition opposing the Boffo Tower.  Here is that very moment:

3000th signature

The gentleman, whose name we withhold for privacy reasons, said that he was signing because he “was concerned about the changes to the neighbourhood” that the tower would bring.  About 40% of the commenters on our online petition have said the same thing, and it is what we hear time after time at the info table.

3,000 signatures, 3,000 taxpayers, 3,000 voters expressing their opposition to the tower.  Will the developer and its allies listen?  Will City Council?  We can only hope that the clearly expressed views of this community count for something at City Hall.

And if 3,000 doesn’t do it, we are on our way to 4,000 now!

Onward Against the Tower!

Our petition against the tower has now grown well beyond 2,700 signatures.

After talking to scores of local residents and collecting a lot more signatures today at our information table at Grandview Park, it is pretty clear that we will exceed 3,000 in the next short while. That’s a lot of citizens’ voices and a lot of voters who will demand their say when the public hearing comes around if the developer decides to proceed against the community’s clearly stated aspirations for the neighbourhood we love so well.

We can hope that the developers and their allies  see the folly of their proposal and withdraw it. But until then, we continue to move forward.

The NO TOWER Petition Keeps Growing

The number of people signing the NO TOWER Coalition petition keeps growing daily.

There are now more than 2,400 signatures across the paper and on-line versions, the vast majority of whom are residents of the neighbourhood.

We thank all of you who have already supported the cause.  If you haven’t yet signed, we urge you to do so and to leave a comment about why you agree this tower is not wanted on Commercial Drive.

Now We Are Thousands

We now have well over 2,000 signatures on our petition that opposes the massive tower proposal at Commercial & Venables.  The vast majority of these are Grandview residents, and most of the others are frequent contributors to the economy of the Drive.

Both the visiting shoppers and the residents agree that a massive tower is inappropriate for the Drive and should be opposed.

In addition to the signatures, several hundred residents have left comments on exactly why they signed the petition. You don’t have to sign the petition to read the comments, but reading them will inspire you with their deep sense of community, and their obvious desire to have an important say in what happens to our neighbourhood.

If you haven’t yet signed up to join the thousands in the No Tower Coalition, we urge you to do so today.

What The Community Says About The Boffo Tower

As most of you know, we have been collecting signatures on our petition opposing a large high-rise tower at Commercial & Venables.  We have well over 1,800 signees at this point.   Most have signed the paper petition that we circulate at meetings and our information tables; but more than 600 have signed online.

The online petition allows signees the opportunity to explain why they have signed. There are now hundreds of such comments, and we would encourage everyone interested in community opinion to read them. To ignore them is to ignore the voices of the neighbourhood.  Here is a selection of some recent comments:

“As an urban planner, and Grandview resident, I believe we need contextual densification. These tower proposals do not meet the needs nor desires of this community. ”

“A tower is an awful idea and will kill the soul of the drive.”

“This size of building is not what this neighborhood needs to increase density. It would be an eyesore.”

“This is NOT how one funds important social services.”

“This type of structure would completely change the character of the neighbourhood and does not provide for green space and other necessities that any development would require – to densify is one thing to sell out to developers in such a way that neighbourhoods are negatively impacted is a different thing all together.”

“I want to preserve the character of our neighbourhood. A tower would not fit with the structures here and if it’s not going to include affordable housing, it’s definitely inappropriate.”

“I live here and do not believe a massive 15 storey tower should change this residential area with condos. This will be the 1st for more to come. This area was ment for lower income people. That has already changed but this would be a disaster for Commercial Drive area.”

“Approval of the 15-storey Boffo tower at Venables / Adananc and Commercial Drive would act as the thin edge of the wedge, which would see ‘out of character to the neighbourhood’ towers become the new Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood development standard. Through our opposition let us ensure that won’t happen.”

“To see this tower and the cancer of condos spread my heart breaks. This is not right for our community, expand the Kettle with government funding, don’t let developers get their way!”

 

These are just a few of the hundreds of comments made by Grandview residents in opposition to the Boffo Tower and in favour of sustained funding for the Kettle from all levels of government.

Genuine Community Participation

For the last two weeks, in blazing sun and, yesterday, in pouring rain, volunteers of the No Tower Coalition have been manning an information table at Grandview Park for three hours each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoon.

NVT in the Park

At the table, we have collected hundreds of signatures for our Petition. But more importantly, we have talked to those hundreds of Grandview residents and many others. We have listened to their concerns about unwanted development in the neighbourhood, collected their ideas for alternatives to towers, and given them information about this high-rise project that so many had not heard of before.

As citizens keen on developing and enhancing this beautiful community we all call home, we believe strongly in openness and accountability – from us, from our elected representatives, and from developers and organizations that seek to radically alter our neighbourhood. Getting people information, encouraging them to talk one on one and in groups, with us and amongst themselves, as happens at our Grandview Park table, is key to genuine community participation in the future of Grandview and the Drive.

We’ll be back in the Park next week. Please stop by and chat

The People Speak Once Again

In today’s Vancouver Courier there is an op-ed by a strong supporter of the tower.  You wouldn’t think that would be an article we would point to.  However, the comments (below the article and the glossy ads) by Grandview residents are inspiring, explaining in many different ways why the op-ed is flawed in its arguments and assumptions.

When the people get to speak (as in the hundreds of comments on our on-line petition) they speak well, articulately, and eloquently about their community and their fears about how the tower will damage it.  Even if you don’t want to sign the petition, read what your neighbours are actually saying.

Petition Comments: A Sample

The number of signatures on the No Tower Coalition’s online petition is growing rapidly. If you haven’t signed on yet, we urge you to do so today.

Just as important as the signatures, and far more eloquent, are the comments left by signers outlining the reasons they are signing the petition.  Here are a sample:

 “A low rise option would suit the Drive much better…having a clear view of the mountains is the beauty of Vancouver as a city where tall buildings are concentrated in one area. The Drive as a community is a quirky place to live and a high rise doesn’t suit the neighbourhood.” — M-PB

“This is not what the neighbourhood needs. Besides being incredibly ugly, this type of development would alter/ruin the heritage low rise feel of The Drive. This is poorly thought through and a very bad idea.”  — KM

“While I support the Kettle and the good work it does, I do not believe that necessary public services such as this should be paid for by developers in return for lucrative up-zoning of their properties.” — LL

“I love my neighbourhood and while some change is inevitable, a 15-storey is ill-considered and would destroy the character of the community.” — SO

There are literally hundreds of others. Please spend a moment to read what the community is saying.