For Carlito Pablo, who has always been the most open and receptive of our local reporters. Sad to see him leave.
The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is a nonpartisan network of resident and community groups citywide that have come together on common issues of agreement and concern. The following is our mission as stated in the Principles and Goals document approved by the CVN groups.
The mission of the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) is to restore and strengthen the central role of neighbourhoods in shaping land use, transportation, and development decisions in the City of Vancouver. We aim for a genuinely collaborative partnership among the City and its residents, organizations, and businesses.
Neighbourhood-based planning founded on meaningful community involvement in decision-making is essential to Vancouver’s future as a liveable city of neighbourhoods that is more sustainable, affordable,
resilient and inclusive.
To that end, CVN is very concerned about the directions of the current planning process at the City of Vancouver. CVN is opposed to both of the recently approved Broadway Plan and Vancouver Plan that, if implemented, would shape future growth of the city as it becomes the Official Community Plan (OCP) and part of the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS). The province has threatened to change the Vancouver Charter to allow any rezoning application that is consistent with an OCP to proceed without a public hearing.
The CVN letters to City Council on these plans can be found as follows:
• CVN on the Vancouver Plan: https://coalitionvan.org/posts/2022-07-06-vancouver-plan-opposed/
• CVN on the Broadway Plan: https://coalitionvan.org/posts/2022-05-18-broadway-plan-opposed/
• CVN on the Regional Growth Strategy (RGS):
Our conclusion, based on the information available for analysis on these key issues, is that only TEAM for a Livable Vancouver, with Colleen Hardwick for mayor, have policies to withdraw both the Broadway Plan and Vancouver Plan, to reconsider these plans under a new neighbourhood-based process with meaningful involvement of local residents and businesses, resulting in plans with a high level of their support.
Please be informed, do your due diligence, and vote wisely!
Advance voting: Oct.1 Oct 1, 5, 8, 11, 13 – Advance voting (Sat/Wed/Sat/Thurs) at most Community Centres
Oct 15 – Election day (Saturday)
Voting locations: 8am to 8pm. See City website/documents/voter cards for locations.
TEAM For A Livable Vancouver today proposed a $500 million City of Vancouver investment in affordable co-operative housing to create homes for over 4,000 people in up to 2,000 new units for all income levels, using City land for locations across Vancouver. TEAM mayoralty candidate and Councillor Colleen Hardwick said today that the proposal would be put to Vancouver voters in a mail ballot referendum within 18 months of taking office.
“This co-op housing proposal would be the single biggest increase in 100% affordable housing the city has ever seen at one time,” Hardwick said. “The $500 million expense would be amortized over 30 years and the co-op rents would recover costs to the City, while Vancouver would retain ownership of the lands and lease it out over a long term. Vancouver needs affordable housing – not expensive strata condos that ordinary people cannot afford, and not simply “market rate housing” or slightly below market rates that ABC’s Ken Sim and Forward Together’s Kennedy Stewart keep talking about – we need affordable housing for the missing middle and for working people who can no longer rent or buy in Vancouver.”
Professor Patrick Condon, Founding Chair of the UBC Urban Design Program, Faculty of Applied Science, said the TEAM proposal is a game changer for Vancouver.
“This is an innovative and practical proposal that could create affordable housing for thousands of Vancouver residents who have little hope of continuing to live in the city or see their kids and grandkids stay here,” Condon said. “It’s so important that a mix of our city, from the well off, to the middle class and the economically disadvantaged all live together in the same vibrant neighbourhoods across our city,” Condon added.
Colleen Hardwick noted that
“Our affordable housing plan is about giving people real hope about the future of living in our beautiful city – not the hype we hear from major corporate developers and other political parties that have simply failed over the past four years of skyrocketing rents and housing prices while prescribing more of the same but expecting different results. We need 100% affordable housing built as soon as possible and this plan will, with the support of Vancouver residents, create thousands of new homes for people who desperately need them,” she said.
Hardwick said that the ownership of these purpose-built rentals will remain with the city, providing a return to the ratepayers of Vancouver, as required by the terms of the Vancouver Property Endowment Fund. As this affordable housing comes online, rental payments will provide cash flow, enabling it to pay back the land leases over 35 years while providing cash for further development.
For our gorgeous and entrepreneurial grand-daughter Gemma, on her 30th birthday.
after all that rain
had the texture of twilight fireworks
gently above the ground
then bursting into a sun-splashed grey.
had gone while those
of faith pondered greater mysteries
who preferred a faster tempo
drew other conclusions from the game.
Dame Hilary Mantel, the great historical novelist famous for the “Wolf Hall” books about Thomas Cromwell has died at the age of 70. She will be sorely missed. The following is one her most valuable lessons for all historians:
“Evidence is always partial. Facts are not truth, though they are part of it – information is not knowledge. And history is not the past – it is the method we have evolved of organising our ignorance of the past. It’s the record of what’s left on the record. It’s the plan of the positions taken, when we to stop the dance to note them down. It’s what’s left in the sieve when the centuries have run through it – a few stones, scraps of writing, scraps of cloth. It is no more “the past” than a birth certificate is a birth, or a script is a performance, or a map is a journey. It is the multiplication of the evidence of fallible and biased witnesses, combined with incomplete accounts of actions not fully understood by the people who performed them. It’s no more than the best we can do, and often it falls short of that.”
As an architectural and social artifact I have no real issue with high-rise towers.
When I moved to Vancouver in 1979, I lived first at what was then the Plaza Hotel at the northern end of Lions Gate Bridge. I worked as a freelancer and so needed a corporation to invoice my services. My first company was called Twenty-Third Floor Productions, which accurately reflected the position of my apartment. I loved it up there. When North Vancouver became inconvenient for me commuting without a car, I moved to the West End and happily lived amid (though not in) the towering glass and concrete erections. No, I have no issue with high-rise towers.
In fact, I have often said that if the residents genuinely approved 15-storey towers on every block on Commercial Drive, I would have no problem with that. I would definitely move because that’s not the Drive I want; but the point is that I will always support the right of the neighbourhood to make that decision.
From a planning point of view, I was deeply concerned in particular by the Boffo Tower proposal on Commercial Drive because of what the success of the developer against the expressed wish of thousands of local residents would mean for any concept of genuine neighbourhood control in the future.
It matters not whether we are talking about towers or townhouses or row houses or supported housing or a new transportation option or a change in the use of roads; the issue always comes down to where the power of approval lies. Right now, the disproportionately asymmetrical power equation of developers + money + a developer-friendly City Council and Planning Department versus ad hoc volunteer groups trying to protect the right of the communities to choose means that the ability of Vancouver’s neighbourhoods to control their own affairs, in matters of zoning and streetscapes, business and housing, is slipping away at a fast and increasing rate.
It is vital that we re-establish the rights of the electorate by pushing powers down to the lowest, most local level. In terms of municipal policy this means making “city-wide” policies subject to local opt-in or opt-out. This would mean that the Interim Zoning policies enacted after the Mayor’s Task Force on Affordable Housing, land use policies under Transportation 2040, and now the city-wide plans such as Broadway and Vancouver Plans currently being implemented and further devised by the Vancouver City Planning Commission would all be controlled and enacted — or not — by each neighbourhood in Vancouver.
This also means that regional groupings, such as the unelected Metro Vancouver, need to become operational liaisons only with no executive powers concerning local development, and certainly no authority to override neighbourhood decisions through Regional Context Statements and similar. If necessary, the City of Vancouver should be prepared to withdraw from Metro in order to ensure this level of local control.
And we must oblige the Province to amend the Vancouver Charter so that we, the residents of Vancouver, have full control over the style of council we have, the financial terms under which elections are fought, whether or not we become members of larger groups such as Metro and Translink, and all the powers needed to ensure that we can at least address the pressing crises of unaffordable housing, homelessness, and the low salaries paid to Vancouver employees compared to other large cities in Canada.
In a Twitter exchange with me some while ago, Bob Ransford called “parochial decisions” and “endless debate” a problem. No, it’s not a problem. After so many decades of top-down control and crony management, parochial decision-making after legitimate local debate is exactly what we DO want, what this City needs.
Civic politics should not be about cult followings and strict ideological homogeneity. It matters not that TEAM and I differ in some of the details of policy. What matters is it is TEAM and TEAM alone who understand that neighbourhoods are the vital partners in this enterprise of moving Vancouver forward, and it is only TEAM that will implement the processes of government that will strengthen that partnership.
On October 15th vote Colleen Hardwick for Mayor with a majority of TEAM Councillors!