Neighbourhood activist and city have different goals for Safeway site by Commercial-Broadway Station

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      There will be face-painting and balloon artists at an East Vancouver community social about the Safeway site at Commercial Drive and Broadway.

      Civic watchdog Jak King said that he will be there, adding with a hearty laugh that he’ll try to avoid the face-painting part.

      What interests King is the public space that will be on the site when the property is redeveloped with condo buildings of 12 to 24 storeys, offices, storefronts, and a new Safeway.

      Landowner Crombie REIT has partnered with Westbank Projects Corp. for the project.

      “Part of the deal on Commercial and Broadway was that there would be some form of public space there in order to make up for the large buildings that are going in there,” King told the Straight by phone.

      According to King, the Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood, where the Safeway is located, lacks green space with grass and “trees and nature, that sort of thing”.

      “What we need is a lot more green space,” King said.

      City hall has a different idea.

      The new Grandview-Woodland community plan approved by city council in July this year envisions a “hard-surfaced plaza” at the site.

      Planners are eyeing a plaza for cultural programs, markets, outdoor theatre, and children’s festivals, not the green space for which King hopes.

      Project designer Bing Thom Architects will host the November 19 community social at nearby Federico’s Supper Club (1728 Commercial Drive).

      Part of the architectural firm’s invitation to the event reads: “We are brainstorming a new urban typology for the city and for family living—an innovative community-based approach that leverages outdoor green space, neighbourliness, and connectivity to the surrounding area.”