Yesterday, some people in the neighbourhood started receiving flyers in the mail from the Boffo-Kettle consortium that wants to build a huge and inappropriate tower at the corner of Commercial and Venables. (Note, I am calling it the Boffo-Kettle consortium because they now have a shared logo and because of the email nonsense that will be discussed below).
The flyer, which looks thrown together rather than carefully composed, is, as usual, full of error and distortion. For example, they continue to claim that Adanac Towers — the 100% low-income supported housing unit on Adanac built some 40 years ago — is 14 storeys tall when in fact it is only 12. They know it is only twelve — having been told so many times (and it is easy enough to count the floors) — and yet they want to make their own monster look better by comparison and so they continue to try to mislead the public in this way.
Once again, their flyer only includes “conceptual” drawings — which is odd given they have been working this project for four years now. You’d think they were better organized than that.
They also have a bizarre paragraph entitled “Have you consulted with the community?” to which they respond with a loud “Yes” and list what they have done:
“In 2015 we presented our preliminary ideas to the Grandview Woodland Citizens’ Assembly (March 28), attended the city-led Open House (May 4), participated in a Citizens’ Assembly Roundtable discussion (May 5), and presented at a Grandview Woodland Area Council Meeting (May 11).”
I don’t think any of that counts as “consultation”, but let’s look at their claims individually.
- On March 28, Boffo and the Kettle presented ideas to the CA. The presentation (rather than consultation) took about 30 minutes.
- They attended the Open House on May 4 but refused to identify themselves (almost as if, someone commented, they were embarrassed to be attached to the project). The Open House lasted perhaps two hours. It should be noted that neither Boffo nor the Kettle arranged this meeting and no definite ideas were presented by the City on their behalf. The City has not yet released details or even tabulated results from the residents’ comments — will they ever release these?
- Some — again unidentified — people from Boffo and the Kettle attended the CA Roundtable on May 5. This was NOT a presentation or consultation on the Boffo-Kettle project but on the CA’s recommendations for the neighbourhood as a whole. It was at this meeting that Daniel Boffo was asked who he was and said, “I’m just a local businessman.” Once again, was he embarrassed to be linked to his own project? That meeting lasted about two hours.
- On May 11 Daniel Boffo and Ken Paquette attended the GWAC meeting. They did NOT make a presentation and their attempt at “consultation” consisted of answering four of five questions over a 30 minute period. (By the way, I spoke with a couple of residents not involved with the NO TOWER Coalition to check my memory of that meeting. They both agreed with my characterization and both, unprompted, called the attitude of the tower promoters “aggressive” and “bullying”.
So that’s it. If we are generous and call all of this “consultation”, it comes to a grand total of five hours. This needs to be compared and contrasted with the fifty-seven hours the NO TOWER folks have been at Grandview Park chatting to all comers about this specific project. And that doesn’t count the 15-20 additional hours of door-to-door discussions the volunteers have undertaken.
The result: Boffo-Kettle is scrambling for any support they can muster, while the NO TOWER folks have collected more than 2,300 signatures on their petition to oppose the tower.
Finally, on the Boffo flyer there is an email contact address: firstname.lastname@example.org. I wrote to them to complain about the Adanac Towers inaccuracy. I got a reply — but not from Boffo and not from the Kettle. It was from their high-priced manufactured-consent public relations specialists Pottinger Bird:
By not even answering their own emails, it seems clear that, if they ever had it, the Kettle has lost all control over this process and thus their own future. Does their Board understand this?
She has begun a new series of video portraits of locals in the Grandview neighbourhood, and she decided to kick off the series with me. I’m always scared my face will break the camera, but it was great fun!