Important Dates for the Calendar

May 21, 2017

The Britannia Renewal project is moving ahead rapidly with a regular schedule of meetings and workshops. The next three are the following:

  • May 23, 7:00pm to 8:30pm:  Designing Safe Spaces.  Meeting in the Britannia Ice Rink Mezzanine. Speakers will discuss the design of spaces with two spirit, trans and gender variant, and women’s safety in mind.
  • May 27th, noon to 3:00pm: Public Outdoor Spaces Workshop.  Meeting in Gym D. Help imagine the kinds of public outdoor spaces the new Britannia could include.
  • May 29th, 5:00pm to 7:00pm. Housing on the Britannia Site. Meeting in B-Lab, Info Centre, Napier Street. There is a suggestion (perhaps even a requirement) that housing be included on the renewed site. What do you think about that?  Come along and debate the issues.

 


The De-Beautification of Vancouver Continues

May 19, 2017

Vision Vancouver’s plan to turn Vancouver into a homogenous zone of endlessly similar beige neighbourhoods of townhouses, duplexes and soaring tower clusters continues apace.

Two of the loveliest buildings that make Grandview so special are about to be lost to us.

Image: Google Streetview

The pair of cottages at 2040 and 2054 Pandora are for sale, as a pair, at $5,600,000.  There is a “potential to build up to 11 units … excellent development opportunity.” That seems to encourage demolition and the imposition of some bland modern revenue development.

Why can’t we incentivize the current owner or a purchaser to moving the houses forward on the lot, thus maintaining a heritage streetscape at that point. The incentive presumably would be the right to infill buildings behind the old houses which themselves could be renovated and made strata. A form of HRA, I guess, not unlike Jeffs Residences and the presently-being-constructed Brookhouse on Parker.

Anyway, it will be a great shame to see these houses disappear.


Is The Boffo Tower A Dead Duck?

May 18, 2017

There were some strange goings on at the Grandview -Woodland Community Plan Open House at the WISE Hall last night. This was the second iteration of the duplex rezoning display presentation I wrote about on the weekend.

Several members of the public were advised by a City planner that Boffo had withdrawn from its Boffo-Kettle Tower project at Commercial & Venables/Adanac.  Andrew Pask the CoV planner directly in charge of the GW Community Plan seemed quite upset that his colleagues had “let the cat out of the bag” and claimed he knew nothing about it.

The Boffo-Kettle Tower is the massive for-profit tower project the neighbourhood has been actively opposing for almost five years, but which City Council — no surprise there — pushed through against the residents’ desires last summer (see here and here for the long battle fought).

The residents wanted a height of no more than 4 stories on the site, to match the neighbourhood and the current zoning along Commercial Drive, but the developers claimed they needed 12 stories to make sure they received an unhealthy level of profit. In the final months of discussion, City Planning suggested 9 stories but, at the Council meeting to approve the project, Boffo’s allies in Vision pushed through an amendment re-establishing the 12-stories. The opposition to the tower, using the developer’s own words from public meetings, suggested the final building would be 15 to 20 stories high. No, said the developer; the opposition is just lying.

Now, we presume, the developers tried a bait and switch, pushing for 15 to 20 stories once again, and City Planning pushed right back, well aware of the local fury this would create in Grandview in the run up to the 2018 municipal elections.

Maybe it is all rumour and conjecture; but it will certainly please thousands of residents if it turns out to be true.


The GW Community Plan Drones On

May 13, 2017

This afternoon, I went to the CoV Planning Open House regarding a proposed change to zoning in the core of Grandview; a change that is designed to increase density while maintaining the look and feel and livability of the central area of our neighbourhood.

I was there about 1:00pm and there were perhaps three dozen residents milling around, looking at the display boards that were set around the WISE Hall. Others kept arriving in the time I was there.  The display boards seemed to be better at communicating than some we have seen, and there seemed to be sufficient City staff available to answer questions.

The purpose of the Open House was to explain the changes being proposed for the central area of Grandview. These are changes that differ from those in the Community Plan and also differ from the proposals suggested last November.  One of the major changes is that this proposed rezoning now takes into account the City’s Character Homes Review protocol.   The following two images are, I believe, the key to the changes (select the images for a larger view).

 

I was pleased to see very detailed boards discussing the various procedures to be followed depending if a house is character or non-character, and whether or not the owner wants to demolish or expand the current property.  All of the boards are available to view at http://vancouver.ca/gw.

I’ll need some time to think about the new proposals, but I was pleased with the comprehensive nature of the displays today.


The Postwar Housing Bubble

May 12, 2017

As a follow up to an earlier post about the collapse of house and land values in the pre-WW2 period, I have today posted a brief notice about the post-war boom from 1948 to 1955.

Both posts use very small data sets but I believe they are good illustrations of what can happen over short periods of time.

Hope you find it of interest.


Community Plan Meetings

May 9, 2017

The Grandview-Woodland Community Plan dog and pony show is back in town!  To quote the planning department’s email notification:

As part of implementation, zoning changes to allow for new housing choices in the community are being proposed. These include two-family dwellings (duplexes), townhouses, and some 4-storey apartments in specified locations. Join us at an open house to learn more about the proposed two-family (duplex) zoning changes, ask questions, and provide feedback.”

There will be two presentations (i.e. a display of presentation boards), both at WISE Hall:

  • Saturday May 13, noon to 3:00pm
  • Wednesday May 17, 5:00pm to 8:00pm

 


Birth of A Community, Part 4

May 6, 2017

I have today published the fourth part of my brief history of Grandview. This chapter covers the first growth of Grandview from 1901 to 1907.

I hope you find it of interest.