Push for more high-rises near Vancouver's Joyce-Collingwood Station causes stir

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      The push for more high-rises near Joyce-Collingwood Station in East Vancouver is causing a stir.

      Some members of the Renfrew-Collingwood community are worried about the city’s review of the lands around the transit hub. City planners are proposing to allow new towers of 17 to 35 storeys in one of the most compact neighbourhoods in Vancouver.

      Chanel Ly attended an October 21 open house hosted by the city at Collingwood Neighbourhood House, and the 23-year-old was “overwhelmed” by the plans.

      Ly and other residents started organizing and later held two alternative information sessions with community members at the same neighbourhood centre.

      “I’m not against development or increasing density, but how it’s being done is very market-driven,” Ly told the Georgia Straight on November 26 on the sidelines of one of these events. She said she is worried that future developments will have an impact on vulnerable members of the community like low-income renters.

      Among those who showed up at the information session organized by the Joyce Area Residents Association (JARA) was local MLA Adrian Dix. The NDP representative for Vancouver-Kingsway browsed displays prepared by the group, whose demands include guarantees of affordable housing in new developments.

      Dix’s office on Joyce Avenue is a few doors from a proposed 29-storey condo tower that Westbank Projects Corp. has planned for north of the SkyTrain station.

      Joseph Jones, a civic watchdog from another part of East Vancouver, also attended. Jones had been critical of the city’s planning process for his Norquay neighbourhood, which is now experiencing rapid development growth.

      In 2010, the city approved a new plan for the Norquay area along and around Kingsway between Gladstone and Killarney streets. One of the projects currently under construction is a massive condo complex by Westbank on Kingsway.

      Many JARA organizers are young people like Arielle dela Cruz Yip, who noted that more than a third of residents in Renfrew-Collingwood are renters.

      “If we have that many renters in the area, that means that they should have a say in development because their rents would increase,” dela Cruz Yip told the Straight.

      She added that current businesses, especially retailers, should also be considered when plans are finally drawn by the city.