Vancouver staff report recommends extending schedule for Grandview-Woodland plan

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      A staff report going before city council on September 25 recommends extending the timeline for the Grandview-Woodland community plan in order to establish a “citizens’ assembly” as part of the process.

      The document, posted online today (September 16), also calls for a brief extension for the Marpole community plan to allow for further consultation on proposed changes to the document, and recommends that plans for the Downtown Eastside and the West End be considered by council in November.

      The extension proposed for Grandview-Woodland follows public backlash to draft plans for the area, which included a proposal to allow mid- and high-rise towers around the Commercial and Broadway transit hub.

      “Several components of the draft Emerging Directions published in June clearly caused significant concern, partly due to the scale of change in an area that has seen very little development and a decline in population over recent decades, so there is a need to re-set the process, take the time to consider different approaches and rebuild trust with the community,” the report reads.

      If city council approves the recommendations, staff will report back in December on details of the citizens’ assembly.

      Jak King, the president of the Grandview-Woodland Area Council (GWAC), said the key question will be what powers the assembly will hold.

      GWAC has called for a series of changes to the planning process for the neighbourhood, including the establishment of a "joint management group" consisting of both community members and city planners, and working groups focused on issues like low-income housing.

      According to city staff, the assembly’s work would include exploring land-use options in particular areas, such as Commercial and Venables and along Hastings street, and discussing issues affecting various residents in the community, including youth, seniors, and renters.

      Changes being recommended for the Marpole planning process include focusing development on arterial streets and retaining existing zoning for some single-family areas originally proposed for rezoning. 

      In August, hundreds of Marpole residents attended a rally to protest proposed rezoning changes in the community. 

      The staff report on the four community plans will be considered by council at its committee on city finance and services on September 25 at 9:30 a.m.




      Sep 16, 2013 at 7:22pm

      Residents from all across Vancouver will be at a rally the night before, at 5:45pm on Tuesday, September 24th at City Hall. The Planning recommendations don't go far enough for Marpole and Grandview-Woodland. The West End and the DTES are being left out in the cold with imposed plans created top-down by bureaucrats.
      It's time to listen to the people and make REAL changes.


      Sep 17, 2013 at 7:22am

      So Council punts the plan to a "citizens assembly", delays Marpole, nary a word about the West End, Norquay, Mount Pleasant, just in a nick of time so that it's forgotten by the next election for 30% of attention deficit voters who even cast a ballot.

      Not to worry, Vision's usual "nothing to see here, look over here, shinyyyy.. (see the pretty bike lane, farmers market, or, insert newest greeenwashing diversion project here)" approach to voters fully at work here.

      %50.00 says when everyone forgets how Vision tries to screw over their neighbourhood, then....after the next election when Vision (or the NPA for that matter) wins, status quo resumes, spot zoning resumes, planning for towers resumes. All in the name of green Density of course

      Queue the usual ineffective outrage which ensues. The reply will be "citizens assembly" ... what citizens assembly? That was so 2013... We have towers to build, donors to be rewarded approach to planning resumes again.

      Queue the outrage and upset again, spin, repeat next election.

      Sad but oh so predictable.

      Foxxe Wilder

      Sep 17, 2013 at 9:25am

      Really, you have all those virtually EMPTY 1/2 million dollar condos downtown making the skyline of Vancouver a TRASH-OPOLIS and you want to put in MORE in a low income area? Wake the hell up! You don't have THAT many yuppies.

      Here's an Idea; how about making little cities of RETIREMENT HOMES for these useless yuppies on the outskirts of town where their GREED and ARROGANCE can't influence younger people?

      Alan Layton

      Sep 17, 2013 at 11:58am

      I'm surprised the city caved on their plan so easily. It'll be interesting to see what sort of compromise they come to, but I don't think that vertical growth is going to be stopped to any major degree. I'm sure every house owner wants to keep their little oasis intact, but there's one little problem - people are still falling all over themselves to move here. Even astronomical housing prices aren't stopping them and it's not just the rich moving here either. Unless you can find some way to stop immigration to Vancouver, there will be significant densification around transit hubs, including Commercial and Broadway.

      Doug R

      Sep 17, 2013 at 1:06pm

      Gawd, I just figured it out! Alan Layton isn't a real human being, "he's" a Vision Vancouver developed 'bot' programme, designed to comment favourably on any wrongheaded VV initiative, here in The Straight, and anywhere on the web where real people with a conscience and any degree of caring and concern for the development of our City might surf to gain insight into how Vancouver's 'faux green' municipal party continues to systematically set about to destroy the City we love, brick by brick, programme by programme, initiative by initiative, til there comes a time in the very near future when we won't recognize the Megalopolis Vision Vancouver has built, as the City we once loved.


      Sep 17, 2013 at 3:32pm

      Increased density needs to happen if Vancouver is to continue to be a 'livable city'. There is a housing crisis in Vancouver as so many people want to live here while communities fight tooth and nail to keep any increased density out of 'their' neighbourhood. Increased density is the only way that we can avoid the traffic/transit nightmare caused by the unending sprawl of forcing people into the 'burbs. As someone that lives on East Broadway, I say build a whack of highrises along the Broadway corridor. Follow that with the train to UBC and maybe people will one day be able to actually live affordably in this area.

      Can one of the nay-sayers here please tell me how we can keep Vancouver a great place to live while cramming another couple hundred thousand people into the city in the next 15 years without building any new housing? The NIMBYs just want to keep their neighbourhood exactly the same and screw everyone else.


      Sep 17, 2013 at 6:31pm

      This is getting to be an old Vision Vancouver trick. After too much negative press for one of their developer give-aways they pretend they are doing "further study" until the media coverage dies down. But Marpole and Granview Woodlands should not get false hope, nothing will be changed in their neighbourhood plans unless Vision is removed from power.

      Rick in Richmond

      Sep 17, 2013 at 6:50pm

      Unless we adopt Soviet-style internal passport controls, we can do nothing to stop Canadians from moving here.

      Unless we destroy farmland, we cannot expand horizontally. 90% of British Columbians believe in the ALR, and rightly so.

      What to be done?

      We need to densify vertically. That density belongs around many SkyTrain stations, and other transit hubs. Such locations reduce the requirement for cars, parking, and roads.

      We need to densify vertically, BUT do it with a good reading of what neighbours want, and why. Vertical density is working well in Burnaby at SkyTrain hubs. That Council listened to its people, and we see the results everywhere.

      Vancouver planners blundered because they presumed a consensus that does not exist. They imposed a heavy hand, and engaged in bait-and-switch. They got caught, and are now furiously back-pedalling. For example...

      Commercial Drive is a unique neighbourhood, depending for its identity and success on small shops, local institutions, and human scale. 35-storey towers? Ridiculous.

      Vertical density makes sense at the Olympic Village station, and is already present. On Commercial Drive? Crazy.

      Raymond Tomlin

      Sep 17, 2013 at 11:24pm

      Some years and not so long ago the NPA municipal government of the day was intent on seeing the old <a href=" target="_blank">Molson Brewery site</a> developed as so many 25, 30 and 35 storey towers.

      Although city planners and the Council of the day demanded it, neither the neighbourhood nor urban planners wanted to seeing towers plunked down into the middle of a vibrant urban neighbourhood.

      The solution? The townhouses, and three, five and ten story buildings – and a walkable neighbourhood with inner courtyards – that you see today, open to everyone, with a density that far outstrips that which would have occurred had the podium and tower folks at City Hall won the day.

      When Sam Sullivan was elected Mayor back in November 2005, early on he met with his planning department and instructed them to convert the Olympic village to 40-storey towers in mirror image to Yaletown across the water. The planning department let him know that such a plan would take months / years in the consultation process, the net result of which would be that the Olympic Village would not be completed by 2010. Sam lost, we won. Thus, we now have a livable, and dense, inner city neighbourhood of, yep you guessed it, three, five and ten storey buildings in the heart of our city.

      What is this phallic fetish with towers that seems so popular with, one would guess, those who are not (perhaps) well-endowed, and would seem to want to compensate for their lack of ... well, really ... towers are the only way to go?

      More history. When the NDP were elected to government in 1972, the first order of business was to cancel the two 50-story Bennett Towers proposed for the area where the Courthouse on Hornby now exists – replete with skating rink. Barrett and company seemed quite assured of their manlihood – no 50-storey towers for them.

      So, let's give a re-think to, and open up a dialogue on, the form of development which best serves those of us who live in Vancouver, and those not yet resident in our city who would choose to call Vancouver their home.

      We can have a livable city, a beautiful green city where we can raise our children and our grandchildren, a city that serves the interests of all, and not just the developers and the cynical folks who, at least for now, rule the roost at City Hall.