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.
We have received this from TransLink:
TransLink is undertaking a major transit network consultation and would like your input and feedback:
"Starting on Tuesday, October 13, TransLink is inviting customers and neighbours across the region to have their say on potential changes to the transit network across Metro Vancouver. An online survey will be available until November 6.
We're considering more than 85 proposed changes and asking for feedback now, as we plan for the future.
Proposed transit network changes across the network aim to:
• Deliver on our plans
• Integrate bus service to better connect to the Evergreen Extension
• Decrease travel time on busy routes
• Extend service to areas with high commuter demand
• Take advantage of road and infrastructure changes
• Make our system more efficient
We invite you to take the survey from October 13 – November 6 and have your say on transit in your community. Your feedback will help inform future transit changes.
Stay up-to-date on the progress of this project by signing up for our General TransLink Updates Newsletter.
Please forward this email to any friends, family, or contacts in your organization who would like to have their say on the proposed service changes. Let us know if you’d like to receive hard copy information about where people can find the Transit Network Consultation survey.
If you have any questions regarding the Transit Network Consultation please feel free to email, or call. Angela Madaski, Community Relations Coordinator, email@example.com, 778.375.7587
Resolution of the Grandview-Woodland Area Council, September 9, 2015.
Whereas: Millions are seeking asylum, fleeing conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria and often suffering and even dying in the process.
Whereas: Grandview -Woodland is a neighbouhood built by and for immigrants from all over the world. The presence of diverse communities is part of what makes Grandview -Woodland a good place to live. Neighbours have always welcomed refugees here.
Whereas: Organizations like Mosaic and Kinbrace have built a robust refugee settlement and services infrastructure in the neighbourhood.
Whereas: The City of Vancouver’s Local Area Plans for Grandview- Woodland anticipate growth in the area’s population over the coming years.
Be it Resolved That: Grandview -Woodland Area Council is shocked at the deaths that have taken place in this crisis and is moved to speak out in solidarity with refugees. Refugees are welcome in Grandview -Woodland. Grandview Woodland Area Council stands in solidarity with organizations seeking to sponsor and settle refugees in East Vancouver.
Be if Further Resolved That: GWAC urges organizations and residents who are able to sponsor refugees from the region to do so.
GWAC will co-host a Federal Election Debate on October 5th at 7pm in Astorino's. Voter registration kits and information will be available. More details to follow.
Neighbourhoods & Neighbourhood Power
September 14th, 7:00 - 9:00pm
Learning Resource Centre, Britannia Community Centre
The Urban Planning Process in Vancouver
We are delighted to announce that Scot Hein, former Senior Urban Designer of the City's much lauded Urban Design Studio is our guest speaker at September's meeting. He will provide an overview of the development process, identify who the players are & their respective roles/contributions. Scot will walk us through the basics of an urban design evaluation & performance review, as well as present the top 10 considerations for a development while sharing the case studies from local neighbourhoods. He has said he will be pleased to answer your questions & have a conversation, including discussing strategic considerations. Please do come!
Scot Hein is the University of British Columbia’s Urban Designer, and an Adjunct Professor of Urban Design in UBC’s Masters of Urban Design Programme. Prior to this work he was the Senior Urban Designer for the City of Vancouver and led the city’s high profile Urban Design Studio for 10 years of his 20 year career. His work included the urban design and implementation of new plans for the city’s West End, Downtown East Side, Cambie Corridor and Mount Pleasant. He was responsible for the urban design and development planning of recent large metro core initiatives including Woodward's, Southeast False Creek/Olympic Village, Mole Hill, Chinatown, the revitalization of Gastown/Victory Square/Hastings Corridor and related public realm projects such as the Granville Mall, Carrall Street Greenway, Pigeon Park, Downtown Historic Trail, CPR ROW and the Silk Road.
GWAC recognizes the importance of community activism throughout the city that is building community engagement and moderating the growth in large scale residential developments. We also acknowledge the important contribution to this development from former planners who love the city, have made a defining impact on it. They are now sought after to shape cities around the world yet continue to care enormously about Vancouver and work to ensure its future. We consider them essential allies in our effort to maintain Vancouver as one of the world's most liveable cities.
We see Brian Jackson's decision to retire after three difficult years as head of city planning as a natural transition, and hope that it will lead to improvement on City Council's stated goals of community engagement and consultation in planning. We are convinced that the members of the city Planning Department are skilled, thoughtful and committed to these same goals, and we look forward to positive and constructive collaboration with both city planners and councillors going forward.
New web site address: You can now find us at www.gwac.ca, which should be easier to remember than the old web address.
New email addresses: For general enquiries, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're a member of the media, you can also reach us at email@example.com.
We've also updated the look of the news page to make it easier for you to read and for us to maintain. Note that as I moved the information over, I didn't have the exact date for each news item, so some of the dates below are approximate.
Grandview-Woodland Area Council Responds to Citizens Assembly Recommendations
Two years ago, the community angrily rejected City plans for towers in Grandview Woodland - up to 36 storeys at Broadway and Commercial. In response, the City struck a Citizens’ Assembly (CA) that recently released its Final Report. It recommended much of that original density.
The Grandview-Woodland Area Council (GWAC) is not convinced that the area needs any more density. Recently rapid densification has made other parts of the city more expensive to live in. Larry Beasley, Vancouver’s former Co-Director of Planning suggests in his new book that 40 housing units per hectare makes for a livable, sustainable community. Grandview-Woodland is at or around that threshold now.
“The CA recommends up-zoning for towers in some parts of the neighbourhood,” said GWAC board member Jim Fraser, “but the City’s own report shows that Vancouver already has enough room within existing zoning for 20 years of growth. Yet the report was not made available to the CA.”
Some CA recommendations will lead to the demolition of affordable, three-story walk-up apartment buildings that are common throughout Grandview-Woodland. GWAC would like to see them kept standing, except where occupants’ health and safety are imperiled.
“This neighbourhood was created by and for lower income people,” said Garth Mullins, GWAC board member. “That’s part of what makes it so great. And we like it that way.”
GWAC president Dorothy Barkley added that “some infill, lock off suites and laneway housing could create affordable options. But expensive towers won’t.”
Before the City permits more development, over-stressed infrastructure must catch up with the existing demand. Grandview-Woodland is underserved in parks, daycare, transportation and other amenities.
GWAC calls on all levels of government to fully fund social goods. But the City is getting big developers to pay for everything from parks to social housing through Community Amenity Contributions (CACs). That’s one reason why the CA recommends more development. Under the CAC system, a developer negotiates a payment to the city for funding public amenities. In exchange, zoned height and density can be changed – behind closed doors. If the price is right, any community plan can be circumvented, even the CA’s Final Report.
“CACs undermine planning, create uncertainty and empower developers at the expense of communities,” said Mullins. “They open the door for corruption.”
GWAC calls for a return to public funding. But if CACs are to remain an important revenue source for a cash-strapped city, the community must be part of negotiating them. GWAC board member Eileen Mosca said “GWAC and other community groups must be part of the City’s negotiation of CACs in their communities.”
The CA has made many positive recommendations which GWAC supports. However, GWAC wants to be a part of any next steps and the implementation of the CA’s report. The City must consult the community on the Report.
Finally, GWAC would like to recognize the 48 members of the Citizens’ Assembly for the time and passion they put into the project. We may not all agree all the time, but we respect the commitment and contributions all CA members have made to our community.
The Grandview-Woodland Area Council (GWAC.ca) strives to represent the interests of Grandview-Woodland, to inform and activate its residents and to advocate for the protection and enrichment of our community
Contact: Garth Mullins
Contact: Jim Fraser