Britannia Renewal: Open House

January 31, 2018

Image: Commercial Drive: Licorice Party

January 31, 2018

Night Music: I Got Life

January 30, 2018

Grandview-Woodland As Part of a Resilient City

January 30, 2018

The following notice has been received from Britannia:

Vancouver is currently undertaking the development of a city resilience strategy as a member of the international 100 Resilient Cities project. This program was pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation and helps a network of cities gain access to tools, funding, technical expertise, and other resources to build resilience to face the growing environmental, social, and economic challenges of the 21st century. More information here and here.

In recognition of the crucial role that local connections and community development play in resilience (and building on the disaster support hub initiative), the City of Vancouver has partnered with four community organizations to develop neighbourhood-level resilience toolkits and action plans.  Britannia was selected to anchor the Grandview Woodland neighbourhood resilience strategy. As part of this pilot project Britannia will seek guidance from the community to develop locally-relevant resilience toolkits and resources, and a neighbourhood action plan to continue to build community resilience through sustainable grassroots leadership and an integrated neighbourhood resilience strategy.

Representation and leadership from the diversity of community members, organizations, businesses and cultural institutions that make up Grandview Woodland is essential to the success of this pilot project. Please consider joining our project steering committee to develop the first Grandview Woodland neighbourhood resilience strategy. The terms, conditions and expectations of the committee will be set by the members of the committee.


If you are interested in joining the committee, or have any questions or concerns you can contact the project coordinator directly at If you are not able to become involved at this time, but would like to receive project updates, please subscribe to our project newsletter here.

Wise Words

January 30, 2018

Image: Branches and Clouds

January 29, 2018

Poem: First Date

January 29, 2018

it’s dark and smoky in the back

of the old Lincoln;  smells of old leather

and cheap perfume, nostalgia for the old

days sweep over me like the steady progression

of clouds wheeling around the planet.

And there she is beside me, showing me

more thigh than I can possibly handle;

an immense superstructure peeps

from the straining buttons, and I see

with the clarity of hindsight how this present

future follows the paths of the past.


Night Music: Blue Train

January 28, 2018

GW Community Plan Open House

January 28, 2018

Yesterday I attended the Open House put on by CoV Planning Department concerning rezoning for new building types with the Community Plan. I was there around 1:00pm and the WISE Hall was packed with people. It was so busy in fact that it was difficult to get decent shots of the display boards, so I apologise in advance for their quality (selecting an image will at least get you a bigger picture).

The new zonings concern the eastern half of Grandview, and specifically Broadway, First Avenue, Hastings, and the entirety of Nanaimo from Wall to Broadway and beyond.


There are no surprises here as the approved Community Plan was clear about most of these changes. However, the display panels do give a lot more detail on FSR and similar technical matters.


The Open House will be repeated on Wednesday evening from 5:00pm to 8:00pm


Dinner Tonight #41

January 27, 2018

Tonight’s dinner was Moroccan Chicken smothered in olives via the New York Times. I used both large green and smaller black olives. Pretty good!

Select the image for a better view.

Image: Den City

January 27, 2018

The Rio Theatre For Sale

January 27, 2018

The Rio Theatre, just west of Commercial on Broadway is being offered for sale as a development site.

Select image for a larger view

This comes as no great surprise, given its location in one of the major development areas identified in the Grandview Woodland Community Plan. It would be great to see the theatre, or something like it, incorporated into whatever is built there in the future.  The Rio has served the neighbourhood since 1938 and, with the massive increase in population density planned for Broadway & Commercial, we need to retain entertainment and similar facilities to service those new residents. After all, Man cannot live by condos alone.

Why Can’t Boffo/Kettle Answer A Simple Question?

January 26, 2018

A senior member of the Kettle Boffo team that wants to build a massive over-sized tower on the corner of Venables and Commercial Drive loves to retweet on Twitter material regarding “affordable housing,” as if that is important to him. We also know that it is becoming difficult in Grandview to find affordable housing.

So, yesterday, I asked him (and copied to Boffo Properties) a simple question:

“How many of the Boffo condos on the Drive are planned to be affordable under CMHC definitions for median income Vancouver families with minimum legal down payment?”

All of the variables are easy to find:

  • CMHC (and most other) definitions of “affordable housing” consider 30% of gross income to be the maximum of affordable.
  • The latest Stats Can figure (2015) for median family income in Vancouver is $72,662. I’d be happy for them to use $75,000.
  • The minimum down payment in Canada is 5% for the first $500,000 and 10% for the balance above $500,000.

So far, there has been absolute silence from them. I wonder why that is? Could it be that none of the condos will be affordable to the average Vancouver family? If so, how is that helping the situation in Grandview?

If the Boffo Tower is designed for the global luxury market rather than to help house regular locals, that’s up to them, but let’s not have any of the partners suggest this has anything to do with affordability.

What I did get in return for my question was the typical nonsense from the build, build, build crowd. As usual they say that a $651,000 condo (now the median price in Vancouver) is more affordable than a $2 million single-family property. While that is technically true it still doesn’t make the condo genuinely affordable. This argument is exactly the same as telling a working family they should buy an Aston Martin rather than a Lamborghini when what they actually need is a Ford Escort.


Night Music: A Day In The Life

January 26, 2018

Breakfast Today #7

January 26, 2018


One of the great breakfasts — kippers cooked in butter with spiced scrambled eggs.  Only one of us likes this, so lots more kippers for me!


Select image for a better view.

Image: Northern Wheat

January 25, 2018

Dinner Tonight #40

January 24, 2018


Tonight I made a very pleasant and unusual Peruvian stew with chiles, limes and apples.  It was my very first time using a slow cooker.

Select image for a better view.

Night Music: The Boxer

January 24, 2018

What Is Happening With The Boffo Tower?

January 24, 2018

As I was out shopping this morning, I was reminded — by their own sign — that nothing is happening with the Kettle/Boffo Tower project that aims to ruin the stretch of Commercial Drive between Venables and Adanac.


It is now almost five years since Nancy Keogh of the Kettle begged and pleaded with City Council to exclude the Boffo Tower from the delays in the Grandview Woodland Community Plan, and it is more than 18 months since Councillor Andrea Reimer forced through an amendment — against the wishes of the Planning Department and thousands upon thousands of residents who had petitioned against a tower — to give Boffo the full twelve stories that they were demanding.  And nothing has happened.

If you visit their website, nothing has changed for well over a year. Absolute silence. No light shining on anything. This is not altogether surprising as they have been essentially silent (to the community) throughout the entire six year process. I am sure they have had a lot to say to Planning and politicians, but locals apparently don’t need to be informed.

They have also been talking among themselves. At least some of the delay is due to serious differences of opinion between the partners — or so we are told by City Planning.

As someone strenuously opposed to the building of a tower on that site (when excellent low-rise alternatives exist that can satisfy the Kettle’s needs), the longer the delay the better. However, there is one worrying issue.  We are told by Planning that the value assigned to the City land for Boffo’s Tower is fixed at the value when they first discussed the idea with the City, perhaps in 2012 or 2013. As we are all aware, land values have increased astronomically over the last five years. That means Boffo is being allowed to buy tax-payer’s property at far below current market value.

Every taxpayer in the City is therefore subsidising the private profit to be made by this developer. That’s a serious problem that needs to be fixed whenever they bother to apply for a development permit.


More information on the Boffo Tower disaster can be found on this blog and on the website of the No Tower Coalition.


Wise Words

January 24, 2018