TMH at Adanac and Commercial

March 4, 2019

It is almost a year since Boffo and the Kettle — after an extended and popular campaign by the No Tower Coalition — cancelled their plans to build a huge for-profit condo tower on city-owned land on Commercial Drive between Venables and Adanac. The campaign, of which I was a part, was covered in detail on this blog.

Since the cancellation announcement by the developers, various members of the Coalition have continued working quietly on this and other local issues. Now, the Coalition has formally proposed to the City that the site, currently an infrequently used car park, be used as the location for Temporary Modular Housing (TMH) for those in real need. It is, I believe, the perfect solution.  As the Coalition writes, there are many reasons to support the idea:

  • This would be a quick win for the City.
  • It is already City-owned property.
  • This would be using City land for a valid social purpose, not a for-profit development.
  • There is a need for housing for the hard-to-house in Grandview.
  • It would be entirely suitable for around 30 units of SRO-type housing, with a maximum of three storeys.
  • The community will likely not object to three storeys on that site. It’s not a tower!
  • The TMH proposal allows the City to retain control of the land and while providing essentially the same amount of social benefit that would have been achieved with the proposed Boffo/Kettle project.
  • The current council seems to be doing a pretty good job of distributing social housing and services equitably throughout the City. No one neighbourhood should be expected to take responsibility for more than its share.
  • This TMH proposal is the right scale for the community. A 30-unit TMH project would provide secure housing for those who currently need supportive housing in Grandview-Woodland but the project would not be so large that it would draw lots of people in need from other neighbourhoods.

The Coalition is asking its supporters to write to City Council in support of this idea (see the Coalition site for email addresses). I join in that request.

Night Music: Down To Zero

March 4, 2019

Laurence Gough Revisited

March 4, 2019

First posted in September 2010.

I have now completed my self-appointed summer job of reading all 13 of Vancouver writer Laurence Gough’s series of novels featuring VPD homicide detectives (and eventually husband and wife) Jack Willows and Claire Parker.

I had a marvelous time watching the writer become an accomplished hard-boiled author and then a confident and accomplished novelist. Gough improves and refines his style throughout the series, and his confidence grows with each of the last 7 or 8 books.

These are hard-boiled procedurals, with a satisfying level of violence, set within the geographic, cultural and business textures of contemporary Vancouver. But they also become an extended meditation on both the nature of intimate relationships and of the human condition itself.  The 13-book series takes Willows and Parker through every which way of relationship building; from the first subtle attractions to living with Jack’s children from a previous marriage to being married with an infant son of their own.  This is no longer a particularly successful marriage, but they do the best they can.

I thoroughly recommend him both as a hard-boiled author in the tradition of Hammett and Chandler and Spillane, but also, especially in his later works, as a very good Canadian novelist in his own right.

Poem: Just Like In The Movies

March 4, 2019



they circled the building on foot



as the rain pelted down

hard like hail


on the street

they mugged as tough guys

in the streaming glass

of shop windows

images bouncing from the curved edges

of drops


in the back lane they each had time

to be shy with themselves

wish themselves luck

to be quiet and to suck up

the fear


the third time round

soaked to the skin

they had had enough

headed for the door

she had on a false nose and a hat

gap-teeth and a grin

he had a honey-blonde wig and a gun


the bank was silent

no more


“Hands Up!”