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.