Council modifies timelines for plans in Marpole, Grandview-Woodland, and Downtown Eastside

The move comes three days after a rally by angry residents at City Hall

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      The Vision Vancouver–controlled council has tried to mollify residents who've expressed outrage over the community-planning process.

      This evening, council approved Mayor Gregor Robertson's motion amending a staff report's recommendations regarding the Grandview-Woodland, Marpole, and the Downtown Eastside area plans.

      The vote came three days after dozens of residents held a rally at Vancouver City Hall to protest the community-planning process.

      Originally, the Grandview-Woodland community plan was scheduled to be considered by council in December.

      Robertson's amendment extends this by a minimum of 12 months.

      This means that the Grandview-Woodland community plan won't be voted on until after the November 2014 municipal election.

      Staff had previously proposed to report back in December on creating a Citizens' Assembly to offer input into the Grandview-Woodland planning process.

      This came after residents had expressed alarm about a staff proposal for 11 towers of between 18 to 36 storeys near the Commercial-Broadway Station.

      The original Grandview-Woodland community plan also called for increased building heights at the intersections of Commercial Drive and Hastings Street, Commercial Drive and Venables Street, and Commercial Drive and East 1st Avenue.

      Robertson added a directive in response to concerns about the Kettle Friendship Society site near Venables and Commercial.

      It calls on city staff "to work with the Kettle Friendship Society, Boffo Properties, other potential partners and the community to explore development options for the Commercial and Venables proposal that would significantly reduce the proposed height of the development"

      The amendment stated that this should be done "while maintaining the expanded Kettle program and maximizing the number of supportive housing units".

      Marpole plan changes

      Robertson also tried to defuse tensions in Marpole, where some residents complained of being blind-sided by city hall

      The Marpole community plan includes a 50 percent increase in housing units by 2041. This would involve introducing different housing types in single-family areas.

      Staff tried to mollify some outraged residents by recommending that the plan be deferred for additional consultation into late 2013 or early 2014.

      The staff report also suggested removing part of Marpole—bounded by West 59th and West 69th avenues and Heather and Cambie streets—from the community plan.

      Robertson's amendment called for this part of Marpole to keep its existing zoning.

      The mayor and council also instructed staff to examine how to "buffer the already-approved six-storey Cambie Street developments" and this single-family area.

      This would occur in phase three of the Cambie corridor planning process, which will begin in 2014.

      Not much changes for DTES, West End

      Meanwhile, Robertson called for a minor change to the Downtown Eastside community plan, with a council vote coming no later than January 31, 2014.

      Zoning and bylaw amendments would then be referred to a public hearing.

      The staff report had earlier recommended a final vote by November.

      There is no change to the timetable for the West End community plan, which will be considered in November.

      Associated zoning and bylaw amendments for the West End are expected to go to a public hearing in early 2014.

      One of the most contentious aspects of the West End plan is a recommendation for laneway housing.

      At a public meeting in late August at the West End Community Centre, Vancouver's general manager of planning and development, Brian Jackson, said that laneway housing would "help us renew the rental stock".

      Robertson defended the decision to bring forward community plans, saying: "We have to address the lack of affordable housing in Vancouver."




      Sep 27, 2013 at 9:39pm

      Too bad the Cambie corridor couldn't be delayed. They are moving full steam ahead on rezoning applications. Small, cheaply built but expensive condos for Canadians to aspire to owning. But come election time, I won't forgive or forget.


      Sep 28, 2013 at 3:44pm

      Once again City council is using divide and conquer tactics. They did it in the DTES by carving Chinatown out of the boundaries and now they're doing it in Marpole. The businessmen of Chinatown got what they wanted and now the single home owners west of Cambie get what they wanted. Instead of requiring an entire community to come up with a plan, Vision Vancouver has used corporate techniques. Pit neighbours against neighbours and they turn away from you.
      Marpole community - stand together or you will all lose!

      The Fix is In

      Sep 29, 2013 at 10:01am

      It's very disappointing to see Council charging ahead with the vaguely-written plan for the West End. Staff and Council are suggesting there is widespread support from the community, but hasn't even released the results of the public survey from the June open houses. West End residents are asking for more detail on proposals like six-storey "laneway infill buildings" and new tower developments at Thurlow and Burnaby Streets, but alas, Council will, once again, be shoving development plans through the approval process.


      Sep 29, 2013 at 10:26am

      City should be able to get citizens opinions and give a chance for us to raise concerns. Which as far as I am concern whatever the decision or decisions of the authority that is, there is not necessary to discuss with citizens. Want to remind the authority has the obligations to listen the concerns of our citizens


      Sep 29, 2013 at 1:03pm

      Mayor Robertson is doing everything right, but the entire process is hijacked by Social Housing extremists in Grandview-Woodland community. Poor people want everything to be their way at our expense.

      As the Vancouver Sun correctly and objectively pointed out:

      "Fern Jeffries, a member of the False Creek Residents’ Association, said the Downtown Eastside process was highly politicized because council appointed a citizens’ advisory committee that was entirely made up of people interested only in social housing. As a result, other residents and homeowners in the Strathcona, Chinatown and Gastown areas felt alienated. She alleged that one “cell” within the Local Area Planning Committee used threats and intimidation to prevent others from participating in the process.

      “There are a lot of communities that have not participated because the committee was dominated by one group that scared the others away,” she said. “The timeline for public input needs to be extended.”"

      Save Vancouver

      Sep 29, 2013 at 6:25pm

      @Daniel -Roberston goign everything right? Well, yeah, if you consider steamrolling neighbourhood concerns from east to west to give their developer funders some choice building sites. The man is nothing but a developer shill with a coat of greenwashing.


      Oct 1, 2013 at 10:12am

      Don't fall for it!

      Those living in the West End are familiar with what the Granview-Woodland "Citizen's Coalition" ploy will look like. After massive anger was expressed over rezoning in the West End, Vision delayed the most controversial project and created a "West End Mayor's Advisor Committee" or WEMAC.

      This group was neither elected nor selected by the community, instead it was a hand packed group of Vision insiders. This group met a few times, then blessed Vision's plans, acting as if they spoke for the neighbourhood. After receiving this "blessing" Vision threw the switch and construction began the next day. Incidentally it was individuals protesting this dishonest manipulation that prompted the mayor to famously label them "f*cking hacks."

      Granview-Woodland, don't fall for it! The "Citizen's Coalition" will again be a bunch of Vision appointees and they will just yet another kangaroo democracy way of pretending that the community is on board with something you violently oppose. Don't be surprised if construction starts the day after the appointed "Citizen's Coalition" makes their report, which of course will list a thousand politically correct spins of why your area desperately needs the towers in the original plan. You can bet that Vision's developer buddies are already creating the condo marketing ads as we speak.