Grandview Rezoning Open Houses

January 19, 2018

The City of Vancouver Planning Department is hosting two open houses at the end of this month:

“As part of implementing the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan, the City of Vancouver is proposing zoning changes to allow for new housing choices in the Grandview-Woodland community. The changes would allow for rowhouses, townhouses, 4-storey apartments, and 4-storey mixed-use in specified locations.”

Both of the open houses will take place at WISE Hall, Adanac & Victoria.

  • Saturday 27th January, noon to 3pm
  • Wednesday  31st January, 5pm to 8pm

Display boards will be available for view on line from 29th January at

Do come to one of these and ask questions and discuss the changes the City wants to impose on our neighbourhood.


Fet’s Whiskey Kitchen Raided

January 18, 2018

Fet’s Whiskey Kitchen, 1230 Commercial, is one of the Drive’s longest serving establishments. It has the widest selection of whiskies in Canada. According to a note on Fet’s Facebook page:

“What an interesting day we had down at The Kitchen today.

At 10am three government agents showed up with the police to conduct a prohibition style raid. The government inventoried, catalogued, sealed and removed 242 bottles of whisky from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society [SMWS] worth about $40k. The same raid was conducted simultaneously at The Grand Hotel in Nanaimo, Little Jumbo and The Union Club in Victoria. All 4 establishments are SMWS Partner Bars and the only whisky taken at each location were the Society bottles.

Every cocktail bar in the province has a few specialty products in their shelves yet only these 4 bars were raided and the only product removed was the SMWS bottles.”

It will be fascinating to learn what this is all about.


Robberies on the Drive

January 9, 2018

As many of you will know, Mary Jean “Watermelon” Dunsdon operates the Licorice Parlour at 1002 Commercial Drive. The following is quoted from Watermelon’s recent post on Facebook:

“Dear Fellow Commercial Drivers: Commercial Drive Licorice Parlour got broken into last night by a seriously professional thief. He has now hit up at least 4 businesses that I know of just in our block alone . Sometime between 1 and 2 AM. He is packing all sorts of tools in his back pack for any type of lock. Caucasian male, approx 5 foot 8. He was wearing a lighter colour hooded rain coat with a hat as well and of course his back pack. He has a really long nose and pale complexion.

Please be on the look out. Also please tell all your friends and neighbours who work or live in the area. Together we are stronger.

I only found out about all the other robberies after mine got broken into. He tried breaking the front lock too said the lock smith tonight, which would explain why our door has been a bit off the hinges for two weeks. Which means he tried to get in a week before Christmas, then kept coming back. Last night he sawed off some of the metal lip on the back door and must have picked the other locks or used magnets to get in. It is a mystery. A few nights ago he smashed the window on a store two doors down and when no cops came he went in and robbed the joint with the alarm going. Across the street he got through two security doors and tripped up the alarm somehow. This guy is bold. We all have him on camera.

Tomorrow I will campaign all business to put up signage and fortify themselves. It is already a disgrace how hard small business need to work to survive in this city. The cost of a break-in could make or break any one of us.”


It is an unfortunate reality that these bad things happen even our wonderful neighbourhood. If you know anything about this or recognise the guy, please contact the store or the police.

The Future of our Coop Book Store

January 9, 2018

A couple of weeks ago, the People’s Coop Book Store at 1391 Commercial issued a notice stating that they would be going out of business at the end of this month. Founded in 1945, the bookstore moved to Commercial Drive in 1983 and has been an important part of the Drive’s cultural heritage for thirty-five years. To see it close would be a terrible shame.  Last night the Coop held a Special General Meeting to discuss the situation.

The Coop now has more than 800 members and had perhaps its busiest Christmas season ever last month. However, like many small businesses, the Coop has always been short of capital. In the Coop’s case, this has meant a smaller than required operating line of credit leading to problems with ordering books from publishers. And, of course, without new books, a bookstore has less and less to offer.  Recently, the finances have been bought to a crisis position due to some unexpected but unavoidable expenses and this has created a shortage of funds with which to pay the rent, leading to the decision to close.

At the meeting last night there was a definite desire from the members attending to see the store keep operating and enough money was raised at the meeting to pay the rent and operating expenses for February. A few new Board members were added (including me) and we will work hard to set in place a more secure financing plan for the future.

This has always been a co-operative venture rather than a for profit corporation and I hope some of the members who have a little spare cash can come forward with donations to see the Bookstore through this difficult period. If you can assist financially, please contact the store and we’ll make the necessary arrangements.


The Drive on CBC Radio

January 5, 2018

It was before five this morning when I made my way to Spade Cafe to be interviewed by Stephen Quinn for a location broadcast on CBC Radio about my Changes on The Drive series. But there was a decent number of people eager to be there so bright and early.

I was there so early because I was the first guest, starting at about 5:10.  Quinn and I talked about the changes in the makeup of Commercial Drive’s businesses, how that came about, and what the future might hold. It lasted about 7 minutes and can be heard here from 1:33 to 8:45 or so.

Many thanks to the CBC staff who made sure I got there (before the buses started running!) and took care of me while there.


GWAC and Local Institutions

January 4, 2018

The next regular monthly Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC) meeting will include an update on REACH‘s spanking new facility and the services the offer.

There will also be a presentation by some of the activists who have recently won a(n at least temporary) reprieve of the closure of Templeton Pool.

Meeting is on Monday 8th January at 7:00pm and takes place in the Learning Resource Centre under Britannia Library.

Talk About An Early Edition!

January 3, 2018

In the last Changes on the Drive, I noted that CBC Radio’s Early Edition program, with Grandview’s own Stephen Quinn, will be broadcasting from the Spade restaurant at 1858 Commercial this coming Friday. They called me and asked for an interview about changes in the neighbourhood. I agreed — to discover that the interview would take place at 5:10am!

I’ll have to stay up all night just to make sure my larynx is working at that hour!