A proposal for a 5-storey infill building has been filed for 1102 Commercial Drive, at the corner of Napier Street. Many residents of Grandview-Woodland will know the site by the current two-storey building with Moja coffee, and formerly containing the Florida Market.
The City of Vancouver has provided an opportunity for public feedback on this proposal. Comments can be made on or before Friday, May 20th for staff consideration in the review (the wepage also notes: "However, comments will be considered up until the date of decision"). Further details are on the City of Vancouver’s website:
Comments can be sent directly to City staff via email: email@example.com (604-871-6412)
and to firstname.lastname@example.org (604-871-6703)
Please note that the planner now assigned to the proposal is Sangeeta Vishwakarma, the previous contact was email@example.com
There are a number of issues with this proposed 5-storey development, the most serious of which is that it does not appear to conform to the limits set under the current zoning bylaw.
Current zoning does not allow for:
• a 5-storey, 48.5 ft tall building anywhere on the site
• a setback of 7.16 feet is not permitted in the rear under any circumstance (the 5-storey building wall would be 2.16 metres from the laneway)
Furthermore, there are issues of scale, fit and neighbourliness. One of the urban design conventions in the “C-2” zones is to have a building step back toward the laneway so that the scale transitions from a 3 or 4-storey building along an arterial road to housing on residential blocks. Across from the laneway to the east are a couple of duplex, two-storey ‘Vancouver specials’ on 33’ lots (10.5m wide). The proposed abrupt change in scale is not neighbourly. As well, there will be issues not just with privacy, but with shade later in the afternoon.
Based on the width of the lane, a minimum building setback of 15.1 feet in the rear would be required, even when allowing for the maximum relaxation outlined in section 4.6.2 of the C-2C1 zoning bylaw.
The current building height that is allowed outright is 10.7 metres, or 35 feet (for 3-storeys). A relaxation can be requested to a height not exceeding 13.8 metres (45 feet) that could allow for a 4-storey building. The regulations do not allow for a further relaxation on the relaxation to exceed the maximum height on this site.
The proposal would see the removal of a tall, mature street tree. Work would need to be done on the hydro lines as well on the laneway.
The suggested choice of siding installed “using pre-formed pre-coloured aluminum joint materials” is not compatible with the recently renovated building frontage on Commercial nor is it neighbourly and sensitive to the materials in the buildings in the vicinity.
A single information sign is tucked away around the corner of the site on Napier Street, there is no information sign posted prominently at the 1102 Commercial Drive address. This has limited the ability of the public to comment on the project.
The City’s description of the proposal is as follows:
• retaining the existing two-storey Heritage B building;
• a new five-storey infill residential building with 8 secure market rental units at the rear of this site;
• a proposed maximum height of approximately 48.5 feet;
• a proposed floor space ratio 2.7 (approximately 10107.5 square feet);
• one-car share parking space having vehicular access from the lane; and
• removal of one street tree on Napier Street.
The zoning bylaw is available here :
Setting the record straight
As a result of the ongoing Grandview-Woodland Community Plan, there is a freeze on new rezoning applications. This 5-storey infill proposal is a Development Permit Application that would require the approval of City staff to proceed. City staff can only permit the application if it is allowed under existing zoning.
Zoning limits what you can and cannot do on property. This proposal exceeds current zoning limits, and none of the relaxations outlined in section 5 of the C-2C1 bylaws apply to this site condition. City Council, and not staff, have the power to rezone land in Vancouver.
The City of Vancouver has a series of predefined zoning types that are commonly used for commercial districts along arterial streets. The Drive uses variants of the “C-2” zoning that are also used along Kingsway, Fraser, parts of Main Street, West 4th Avenue and East Hastings and Nanaimo. The specific variant of C-2 used along this stretch of Commercial Drive is C-2C1.
According to the information sign, the current Acting Director of Planning, Jane Pickering (email: firstname.lastname@example.org), will review this proposal behind closed doors. The zoning alternately allows for review of this proposal in the public by the Development Permit Board (DPB).
The City of Vancouver will release a new neighbourhood plan for Grandview-Woodland this summer or fall. The plan will likely bring even more development and pressure on rent. Join us to talk with activists from neighbourhoods that have already been through the planning process and are fighting for the rights of renters. Find out about their struggles, the pressures on Co-ops, and policies in Vancouver that affect renters. Let's talk about what we can do to make secure and stable rental homes in Grandview-Woodland.
June 6, 2016 (Monday)
7 to 9pm
Canuck Family Education Centre
1655 William Street, entrance off Grandview Park
Here are a few links to tenant resources for background information only:
After June 6th, the next two GWAC community meetings will be held on July 11th and September 12th. The themes for these upcoming meetings will be announced in the near future.
Bill Lightbown, Kootenai Elder, Historian and Social Organizer
Friday May 13th, 6:30- 9:00pm at Britannia Community Centre Canuck Family Education Centre (1655 William St)
ALIVE with key partners will be launching the Knowledge Keepers dialogue series, in which we bring forward key individuals (Indigenous and Non Indigenous) who have worked towards social justice with Indigenous peoples. The intent of the series to build off our existing Reconciliation In Action strategy to get all local residents engaged to learn of the Indigenous struggle and find ways to move forward together.
Bill Lightbown is 89 years old and going strong and first moved to Grandview-Woodland in 1942 . He has spent over 60 years on behalf of Indigenous peoples advocating for all Indigenous peoples, regardless of Indian Act status or residency. He assisted in creating BC Association of Non Status Indians (BCANSI) in 1969 (later to become United Native Nations) and is a founder of the newly created Northwest Indigenous Council (NWIC) in 2015.
This year is the 10th anniversary of the "Jane's Walks" events that are held worldwide. The idea behind the walks is to get out and experience neighbourhoods by walking, and these events are inspired by the writings of famous Urbanist Jane Jacobs.
The Jane's Walk in Grandview-Woodland will last approximately 2 hours. We'll be looking at heritage, urban design and the evolution of the Drive over time.
Start time: Sunday, May 8th, 1pm
Meeting Place: In front of Bump 'n Grind Cafe, 916 Commercial Drive (just south of Venables)
Walk title: Human Scale Urbanism on the Drive (website)
GWAC is co-sponsoring the Jane's Walk on the Drive, along with the Grandview Heritage Group. A number of other walks are planned in and around Vancouver between May 6th and May 8th. The full list of events can be found on the main Jane's Walk website.
[Update: here's a photo from the walk. We were honoured to be joined by Ned Jacobs, Jane's son, on a glorious day]
Guest speaker Lon LaClaire from the City of Vancouver provided many updates to upcoming transportation changes in and around Grandview-Woodland at the GWAC meeting on Monday, May 2nd, 2016. Mr. LaClaire was also able to answer many questions from the audience during a wide-ranging question and answer session. Detailed minutes of the meeting are posted below for future reference. Thanks to all who attended and joined the discussion!
Come join the discussion with City representatives on proposed changes to transportation in Grandview-Woodland. Bike lanes, the removal of the viaducts, traffic calming and more.
A presentation by Lon LaClaire, Manager - Strategic Transportation Planning at the City of Vancouver will be followed by a discussion of proposed changes for the neighbourhood. All are welcome
Monday, May 2nd at 7pm
Canuck Family Education Centre at Britannia
1655 William Street (north side of Grandview Park, half a block off Commercial Drive)
April 17, 2015 - Letter: Grandview-Woodland Area Council Recommends a 10-year Moratorium on Spot Rezoning
In Review: Rumours of School Closures Swirl in East Vancouver. Worried Residents Met with VSB Officials on April 4th
GWAC held a forum on the future of our schools on April 4th. Members of the community had an opportunity to receive answers from School Board Trustees about the upcoming budget and about the Long Term Facilities Plan. The meeting minutes are posted below for reference.
Further information and opportunities for public comment are available at the Vancouver School Board's website.
https://vsbengagement.wordpress.com/ (Long Term Facilities Plan)
Rumours of School Closures Swirl in East Vancouver: Worried Residents to Meet with VSB Officials on April 4th at 7pm
After last week’s news about shortfalls and budget cuts at Vancouver School Board, East Vancouver parents and residents are left wondering if their schools will be mothballed.
On Monday, April 4th the Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC) is hosting a public meeting with:
GWAC president Dorothy Barkley said that her neighbours are worried: “We want to know what’s happened in Vancouver to create this situation where schools could be closed. We want to know how this will impact Grandview Woodland and East Van, when decisions will be made and how we can minimize the impact on our community. We meet Monday to discuss how our neighbourhood/parents can influence these decisions?”
GWAC director Jim Fraser notes that: “Grandview Woodland has the largest urban aboriginal population many special needs children as well as children living in poverty and would be most vulnerable to the loss of resources.”
Public event – media welcome
What: Grandview Woodland Area Council public meeting to discuss school closures
When: Monday April 4, at 7:00 pm
Where: Learning Resources Centre @ Britannia Community Centre (under the Library)
The following people were elected to the new board of GWAC:
Sunday, March 6, 2016 @ 2 pm
Canucks Family Education Centre
1655 William Street, Vancouver, BC
(above Family Place, bordering Grandview Park)
Meet Melanie Mark, MLA
Grandview Woodland's new MLA will be our guest speaker. She wishes to meet her constituents and discuss both our community and how she wants to represent the riding. Community engagement is important to her and she hopes to hear from people attending with questions and concerns.
We will have post-it notes for attendees to write their wishes and concerns for the neighbourhood on, which we will post on the front wall, so that we can create a record and everyone can share the community's thoughts and concerns.
Ms. Mark will follow her talk with a Q&A
In order to vote on the election of Directors or to run for office, it is necessary to be a member (if you are not already registered as a member) or affirm your prior membership by signing in with your name, street address and email address. A sign-up table will be available at the front door to enroll your membership and supply your ballot. Please consider coming a bit early to avoid a line-up.
Neighbourhood Small Grants and Greenest City Neighbourhood Small Grants 2016 is launching today Monday February 15th!
Please find more information and apply online at www.neighbourhoodsmallgrants.ca. And please help us spread the word!
The deadline for applications this year will be Monday April 4th. This means you'll have a full 7 weeks to get your applications in. We look forward to seeing all of your ideas!
As always, please review the application guidelines carefully before applying. If you have any questions or need help with your application, please don't hesitate to email me at email@example.com or contact your local Neighbourhood House (Kiwassa, Frog Hollow or Cedar Cottage - see the websites below for more information).Neighbourhood Small Grants and Greenest City Neighbourhood Small Grants 2016 is launching today Monday February 15th!
It has just come to our attention that a Paul Kasman wrote his Master's thesis (Public Administration) in 2007 on gentrification of Grandview Woodland. The thesis is available for download here.
This is the abstract:
The Grandview Woodland local area of Vancouver, British Columbia, is an area in transition. Retail, demographic,
residential occupancy, and changes to built structures indicate that gentrification has escalated in the past seven
years. Long standing impediments to gentrification, including industrial manufacturing, social housing, and crime, are
not deterring change in this area to the extent they once did. This thesis examines how public policy has affected
these changes in Grandview Woodland.
Public policies embodied in laws and regulations have the capacity to either encourage or dissuade gentrification;
however, other variables also influence gentrification making it difficult to determine the importance and influence
of public policy in the process. This thesis uses semi-structured interviews and a document review in a case study of
Grandview Woodland, to gain a better understanding of how public policies can influence gentrification in a local area
where gentrification was previously impeded.
The findings from this study suggest that public policies can have a substantial, but not autonomous, effect on
gentrification in such an area. In Grandview Woodland, policy makers facilitate gentrification through city-wide and
province-wide policies, including zoning changes, the Strata Title Act, and the Residential Tenancy Act. While these
public policies have streamlined the advance of gentrification in Grandview Woodland, the iv catalysts for
gentrification are the wider national trend of increased popularity of inner-city living, and the middle class moving
eastwards in search of affordable homes in response to the massive property value increases in Vancouver’s West Side.
In February and March, Providence Health Care, in partnership with Vancouver Coastal Health, will host a series of
community forums open to everyone to discuss the new St. Paul’s hospital, the health campus and health services in
your neighbourhood. We welcome you to attend one or more community forums to discuss the new St. Paul's and health
services in your neighbourhood.
Your feedback will be used to inform decision making for our clinical plan for the new St. Paul’s. In these
progressive dialogues, we’ll consider your feedback from the first sessions in each neighbourhood and tailor the
following sessions to include previously discussed ideas, issues and concerns.
Please register for the community forums online at http://thenewstpaulsforum.eventbrite.ca or by calling 604.714.3779.
Public meeting Grandview-Woodland Area Council - ALL ARE WELCOME
Monday, February 1st @ 7:00 pm
The Learning Resource Centre, Britannia Community Centre
Dispatches from struggles against displacement by aggressive developers, City plans and real estate speculators.
Discussion of strategy & tactics, effective East Van organizing & what works.
1. Arielle Yip - Joyce Area
Residents Association. Organizing to defend the working class character of an affordable neighbourhood in the face of
overwhelming, market-driven development plans
2. Jennie Wang - Friends of Garden Park
A group that spontaneously formed in response to City plans that would radically change Grandview Woodland
3. TBA - Broadway-Commercial Neighbours
residents who rallied together when they saw a clear threat to their neighbourhood
4. David Carman - Three Storeys Max
A group that wishes to see gentle densification, safety and the preservation of our neighbourhood.
These by-elections will be held in Vancouver-Mount Pleasant and Coquitlam-Burke Mountain electoral districts on February 2nd.
There are two all candidates meetings, one is at Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House on Tuesday, 19 January 2016 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, click here to RSVP. The other is at the Carnegie on January 27, more details to follow.
The Parker Street Sponsorship Initiative (PSSI) is a group of Parker St. neighbours (and friends of neighbours) that have gathered together to address the current refugee crisis by sponsoring and supporting a family through the process of resettling in Vancouver. The group is fortunate to have motivated individuals with diverse experience and expertise to ensure that the initiative is a success. Although still in its early stages, the group has located housing in the neighbourhood at a reduced rent for two women. (Even better: the housing is a furnished and previously unused basement suite, so no existing housing is being taken off the market.)
PSSI also has the support of MOSAIC BC, a multilingual non-profit organization located in Grandview-Woodland dedicated to addressing issues that affect immigrants and refugees in the course of their settlement and integration into Canadian society. PSSI will be relying on MOSAIC to access other resources available to assist with refugee sponsorship and to provide overall guidance and support when needed.
Each sponsoring group must raise enough money to support the refugees it sponsors for a year. PSSI is actively fundraising, has a donation website set up on Chimp.net, and has raised over $8,700 so far, primarily from its founding members. However, this is still far short of what is required to support two people for a year, so PSSI is asking for additional donations of cash from the community.
GWAC supports integrating refugees into the community and encourages neighbourhood residents to help if they are able. People can learn more about PSSI and donate at the following link, which will issue a tax-deductible charitable receipt. Click here for the PSSI link on Chimp.net, or go to https://chimp.net/groups/parker-st-sponsorship-initiative. For those who want to contact the group directly, the email address is: ParkerStreetSI@gmail.com.
The City invites you to a Community Dialogue session regarding the 1ST Avenue Temporary Winter Shelter (RSVP required)
We have received the following from the City:
RE: 1648 E. 1ST Avenue Temporary Winter Shelter (Temporary Development Permit Number DE– DE419783)
The City of Vancouver is committed to ensuring that all people have a warm, safe place to sleep during the cold, wet winter months. Over the last seven winters, the City of Vancouver and BC Housing have partnered to open temporary winter shelters so people experiencing homelessness can come inside and get connected to health and housing services.
Several hundred people who were homeless have transitioned through the emergency shelters into permanent housing over the last seven years; however the annual homeless count in March 2015 revealed almost 500 homeless people still remain unsheltered. We ask you to join the City of Vancouver, BC Housing and all of our community partners in offering your support for the Winter Shelter Strategy to help those living on our streets.
A temporary winter shelter was opened at 900 Pacific Street last winter, and will open again this winter on December 1, 2015 and close no later than the end of April, 2016.
We are committed to managing this winter shelter safely and would like to invite you to a Community Dialogue session to learn more about shelter operations and to help integrate the shelter successfully into the community.
WHERE: WISE Hall, 1882 Adanac Street
DATE: December 2, 2015
WHEN: Doors open at 5:30pm. Meeting begins at 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Please RSVP by visiting: http://communitydialoguesessions-dec-2-2015.eventbrite.ca
To speak to a City staff person about our Housing and Homelessness Strategy, please call 604.873.7465 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the Winter Response Strategy please visit: http://vancouver.ca/people-programs/winter-response-shelter-strategy
These are notes from Camerin Gray's presentation to GWAC on November 2, 2015.
Metro Region, Vancouver City, and Grandview Woodland Neighbourhood Snapshot
The metro area is currently comprised of 2.5 million people living in 900,000 homes with 1/3 of those renting and 2/3 owning, and a median income of $78,000 for owners and $41,000 for renters. In the city of Vancouver, 630,000 people live in 270,000 homes with about a 50/50 split of owners and renters and median incomes of $77,000 for owners and $43,000 for renters. Other than the ratio of renters to owners, affordability is a similar issue across the metro area, with about 30% of renters spending more than 30% of their pre-tax income on rent, and low rental vacancy rates across the region.
Grandview Woodland is considered one of the inner ring of neighbourhoods close to the downtown core (Kits, Fairview, Mt Pleasant, and Strathcona are the others) and along with Marpole and the West End, these neighbourhoods provide most of the city’s rental housing. GW has 5% of the city’s population. About 65% of GW residents rent and 35% own. Median incomes are 2/3 of the city’s average at $56,000 for owners and $28,000 for renters. Rents are slightly more affordable in GW at 87% of the city’s average or $923 per month. City records show that 47% of renters pay more than 30% of their pre-tax income on rent.
Change is projected for the region, the city, and the neighbourhood over the next 30 years with an influx of 900,000 people and 500,000 homes to the metro area. Annually, that looks like 30,000 people and 18,000 new homes per year in the metro area. Vancouver is projected to get 15% of the region’s growth. What this means for Grandview Woodland has yet to be seen.
What we do know is that the cost of housing is projected to rise and vacancy rates are projected to remain low. Currently, it seems that 47% of renters in Grandview Woodland are at core need, meaning their household has to pay more than 30% of its pretax income for a unit of appropriate size and in a reasonable state of repair. Though, Cameron thought maybe the 47% number was inflated somehow, he did think it was likely that Grandview Woodland has more residents in core need than the city average. Grandview Woodland faces two significant housing issues:
While affordability may be a relative term, housing policy of the past recognized that many people will never be able to afford to buy their own home. There are two housing types that must be built to ensure affordability across the income spectrum: purpose built rental and social housing.
Purpose built rental (a building that can only be rented, never converted to condos) was last built in significant numbers in the 1970s and is now aging. Unconventional rental (rented condo units, houses, secondary suites, etc) take up a greater share of the rental market than in the past, but are less secure because they can be removed readily from the rental stock. The city has implemented some incentive programs wherein developers can get added density for an agreement to build rental only buildings. 1200 rental units have been started in the last 5 years in the city under these programs (STIR and Rental 100).
Social housing comprises only 6% of Canada’s housing stock. Meaning that 94% of the housing stock is provided by the market, a relatively high percentage compared with many European countries and with Singapore. Social housing comprises a range of housing types, including public housing, supportive housing, non-profit rental, and non-profit co-ops. They can be operated by government, non-profits, and non-profit co-op societies. Vancouver has 23,000 purpose built social housing units and GW has 9% of the city’s total, or 2100 units. Grandview Woodland has most of the city’s First Nations’ social housing. Social housing makes up 14% of the neighbourhood’s total housing stock. Most of our social housing was built in the 1970s and 1980s.
Social housing in the neighbourhood faces two primary challenges: expiry of operating agreements and therefore subsidies and renovation and repair of older buildings. There are currently no long term Federal or Provincial funding programs to build new social housing.
In addition, there is a severe shortage of 3 and 4 bedroom units for rent, both on the market and in social housing across Vancouver. Grandview Woodland has 330 3 and 4 bedroom units of social housing. Across the city, only 2% of the purpose built rental stock is 3 or more bedrooms in size. We both need to preserve existing rental and social family housing and build more of it.
Role of Market, Role of Government
Both the market and government (mostly government) have a role in addressing Vancouver’s affordability problems. We probably cannot stop the increasing cost of single family homes, as their supply is diminishing relative to condos. We can increase the supply of condos and townhouses, but ultimately market housing will not solve the affordability crisis. Supply is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for housing affordability because housing is expensive to build, and there are constraints on land, labour, equipment and construction materials supply. Additionally, lenders tend to become more conservative in a hot market and housing demand can drop suddenly, as in the recession of 1982. Supply, by contrast, is a slow process. Therefore, government is essential to providing social housing for households of low and modest income, especially in high growth areas like Vancouver. The Federal and Provincial governments must take the lead as they have the resources. The city can take some role in securing land, but the city does not have the power to address the need.
There remains a question as to where to build additional social housing density. Cameron asks: “Should older dense neighbourhoods like GW be densified and redeveloped, or should new market housing be built in low density, single family areas or low density suburbs?” And, “Do we need a growth plan for the whole city that identifies where densification should take place? Is neighbourhood by neighbourhood planning the best or right way?” Cameron argued that cities should not use the need for funds as the reason to rezone to higher densities. Rezoning should instead be a response to the need to accommodate growth. He argues, we need to plan as a region. He also argues that senior governments should assist to provide at least 1000 units of purpose built social housing in the region each year for the next 10 years, while 2000 such units per year for the next 20 years would be much closer to the real need. Half of all social housing units built should be 3 plus bedroom and should be for families.
From Celine Mauboules, Senior Planner, City of Vancouver Housing Policy and Projects, with some edits:
I wanted to reach out and let you know that the City of Vancouver and BC Housing are partnering to open 4 temporary shelters this winter to ensure homeless people have a safe and warm place to sleep. As in previous years, the shelters will open December 1st and close no later than April 30, 2016. This year’s sites include 1648 E. 1st Avenue (50 beds, operated by RainCity), 900 Pacific Street (50 beds operated by RainCity), and 70 additional beds operated by Salvation Army at their Harbor Light and Anchor of Hope facilities in the DTES.
We are committed to managing the shelters safely and responsibly and have attached the Operations Management Plan for 1648 E. 1st for your information. There will be a community meeting being held later in November. We do hope you will join us.
The City of Vancouver is gathering feedback on the 10th Avenue Corridor. They ask for feedback to help identify opportunities and challenges to help guide design improvements.
From their page:
A top priority of Transportation 2040 is to upgrade the 10th Avenue Corridor to be more safe, convenient, comfortable, and fun for people of all ages and abilities to walk and cycle.
The 10th Avenue local-street bikeway runs from Victoria Drive to Trafalgar Street, linking many key destinations like Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) and Commercial Drive, plus several busy north-south cycling routes.
Over 500,000 people cycle on 10th Avenue every year, making it one of the busiest east-west bikeways in the city.
This project will be developed and implemented between 2015 and 2017.
Go to the city web page about this project.