GWAC and TMH: A Report

June 8, 2021

I attended the GWAC ZOOM meeting last night which featured a long discussion about Temporary Modular Housing (TMH) in general and the new building at 1580 Vernon in particular.

The meeting began with an overview of TMH in Vancouver by Steve Bohus. It was a very useful review and was applauded by Lisa Jimenez, a CoV planner.

The meeting was then turned over to Julie Roberts and Robbie Moza of Community Buildings Group (CBG) who are in charge of operating the new building which is scheduled to open in July. CBG operates a number of low-barrier homeless shelters in Vancouver, along with two TMH projects, one in Marpole which has operated very successfully for three years, and another at Naomi House which opened earlier this year.

The new TMH at 1580 Vernon will include 98 housing units, along with a community kitchen, common areas, and office space. Each of the housing units is roughly 250 sq.ft. and includes a private bathroom and a small kitchen area. Ms. Roberts played a short but enlightening video of the TMH at Naomi House which illustrated the kind of housing units that will be available.

CHG is currently working with BC Housing to select the first tenants who will be offered space at Vernon. There is an attempt to prioritize local homeless.

CHG also creates what they call a Community Advisory Committee (CAC) from the local residential community. The CAC is designed to help integrate the TMH within the local neighbourhood. In the case of 1580 Vernon, there are no residences within three blocks of the building and so the CAC will probably be peopled by the businesses that are close by.

CHG noted that there were significant community concerns before the Marpole before the TMH was opened. However, after three years of operation, there now seems to be good acceptance of the building and its residents.

I found the presentation and the discussion to be extremely valuable. I have been a strong supporter of this development, and the proposal for 1st and Clark, and I hope that this presentation helped soothed some of the concerns people may have.

It was good to see CoV Planning and BC Housing staff, along with Councillor Jean Swanson and two BIA executives, join in with the GWAC meeting.


R.I.P. Frank & Danse

June 5, 2021

Two of the Drive’s most colourful characters are now both lost to us.

Frank, on the right, and Danse, on the left, have been habitueès of the Drive for as long as I can recall, sometimes carving wood and sometimes just begging. They had several pitches but most of the time they had a spot outside Home Hardware at Graveley.

I found them a cheerful pair, always willing to chat. Danse could be a bit loud on the bus, but in a happy way; proudly announcing with his big grin that no-one had to bow to him as he passed.

A few years ago, they moved back to small-town Alberta, which they hated, and they soon returned to the friendlier streets of Grandview. Their support network included folks at Home Hardware, Tim Horton’s, and the Dime, and I suspect many others too.

Now, they are both gone. Frank died a few weeks ago and I heard this week that Danse had died in intensive care on 27 May. They will be missed.

I understand that their sister is coming up from San Diego for a celebration of their lives on 20 June in Grandview Park. I also hear that Home Hardware will be erecting a plaque in their memory on their wall.


GWAC and Temporary Modular Housing

June 2, 2021

This month’s meeting of the Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC) takes place on Monday 7th June, 2021, at 7:00pm on ZOOM.

A really important topic that has generated heat on both sides of the argument.

Image c/o Steve Bohus


Grandview Gardeners Plant Sale!

May 14, 2021

Good News, and Bad

May 10, 2021

The bad news is that Vancouver Coastal Health have declared Grandview (and a few other neighbourhoods) as a covid-19 hotspot.

The good news is that those 30-years old and up in the ‘hood can now apply for an appointment to get a vaccine.

VCH will be opening a COVID-19 vaccine clinic at Killarney Community Centre (6260 Killarney Street) and from May 8 to 14, 17 to 21 and 25 to 28 from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Vaccinations will be provided by appointment only.

All B.C. residents 18 years of age and older (born in 2003 or earlier) are encouraged to register now through the provincial Get Vaccinated website, call centre (1-833-838-2323) or in person at a Service B.C. office. Translation services are available through the call centre.

Following registration, residents will be notified by phone, email or text message as soon as they are eligible to book a vaccine appointment.

I encourage everyone to register and get vaccinated as soon as possible.


GWAC : May Meeting

April 27, 2021


GWAC AGM

March 2, 2021

Last night there was an excellent attendance at the ZOOMed Grandview Woodland Area Council AGM.

I gave a presentation on the GW Community Plan, which seemed to be well received, and there was a good level of discussion about what GWAC should be doing over the coming twelve months.

Nine Directors were acclaimed for the 2021/22 year, including three who were not on the Board last year. The turnout for the meeting, and the level of debate that went on, augurs well for the organization.

I urge all residents of Grandview Woodland who are interested in the future of our neighbourhood to at least get yourself on the GWAC mailing list and, if possible, to attend — online — their monthly meetings. You will learn much and I am sure many of you have valuable experience to contribute.


Emergency Warming Centres

February 12, 2021


First Saturday Is Back

February 4, 2021

Local artists open their studios on the first Saturday of each month for you to visit and, hopefully, to buy some of the wonderful art works and crafts that they make available.

This month, on 6th February a wide range of Grandview and eastside artists are involved. For details check out the First Saturday website.


GWAC on Strathcona Park

January 30, 2021

This month’s meeting of the Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC) is on Monday 1st February starting at 7:00pm. It is, as usual these days, a ZOOM meeting.

The main topic this month is the tent encampment on Strathcona Park, its impacts and possible solutions. The discussion will be led by Katie Lewis, secretary of the Strathcona Residents Association.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84620957804?pwd=bGs3WEVVYWV1Qy9xRlB3REdjcHZ4UT09

Meeting ID: 846 2095 7804 Passcode: 669540


Broadway & Commercial: A Discussion

December 2, 2020

The next Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC) meeting is on 7th December at 7:00pm, to be held on ZOOM. The discussion this month will be about the latest proposals for a huge set of towers at Broadway & Commercial on the Safeway site.

If you are interested in the LONG history of the development proposals on this site, please see this thread.


Wind Fall

November 30, 2020

At lunchtime today I was walking down the Drive collecting material for tomorrow’s Changes on the Drive post. The wind was constant, viciously cold, and strong. So strong that one of the trees in Grandview Park fell over and completely blocked the Drive just a few minutes after I passed by.

Select image for a clearer view.

As you may be able to see, it brought down power and transit lines but, so far as I could see, there was nothing underneath — which is a blessing.

The Drive has been closed from Parker to Charles.


First Nations: Shut Down Canada!

November 23, 2020

There was a small demonstration by First Nations at Grandview Park at lunchtime. The speakers used screechy megaphones which made it hard for me to understand what was being said. However, their signs called for Canada to be “Shut Down” and for the RCMP to be disbanded.

I saw no police there but, when the protesters decided to form a parade and march north on the Drive there were suddenly whole fleets of cops on motorbikes and push bikes. As the parade marched away, I thought the number of police was about the same as the number of protesters and, while they didn’t interfere in the time I was watching, it seemed an over-reaction to say the least.


GWAC October 2020

October 1, 2020

The October meeting of the Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC) will be a ZOOM meeting on Monday 5th October at 7:00pm.

It will be a form of open mic affair for the GWAC Directors to listen to residents’ opinions. According to an email from a Director:

“[W]e’re approaching this meeting as an opportunity to hear from our members about the issue of housing and development in Grandview, in particular as it intersects with the current homelessness situation in the neighbourhood.

We’ll start with a bit of summary discussion about the current pressures on the neighbourhood, providing some background regarding the tent encampment situation as well as some of the current housing proposals in the works: the non-profit rental project at 1766 Frances, the fully market development project at 2300 Charles and the proposal for social housing on the Britannia site; then we’ll offer the members a chance to share their views regarding when and if the community plan should be relaxed for a project providing community benefit and what housing is the right fit.

The goal of the meeting is to hear from our membership to inform the direction GWAC should follow on these issues.”

I’m sure some divergent voices will be heard on these issues. I wonder if any of the Vancouver-Hastings candidates will join us?

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84241518316
Meeting ID: 842 4151 8316


What We Will Miss This Summer

April 15, 2020

I just received an email from Britannia Neighbours announcing that their always wonderful annual East Van Garden Tour set for June 21st has been cancelled this year due to the pandemic.  And that got me wondering about some of the other festivals and gatherings that we have become accustomed to on the Drive.

Car Free Day, one of my real favourites, scheduled for July 12th, has been converted from a street festival into an online event.  Not sure how that’s going to work.

On June 6 we are supposed to enjoy the 25th annual Stone Soup Festival on the Greenway.  There is no indication on their website, but it seems highly unlikely that will be going ahead.

The following weekend — June 14th — is the scheduled date for this year’s Italian Day.  Once again there is no news on their website, but a huge gathering of that kind doesn’t seem feasible at this point.

It looks like being a long quiet summer.

 


Good News — and Bad — for the Drive

April 14, 2020

In previous reports I have noted that Triple A Grocery at 1626 Commercial was boarded up and probably closed.  However, today it seemed to be open again, which is good news.  Hope it is permanent.

On the other hand, Storm Crow Tavern at 1305 Commercial is closed and not coming back.  The owners posted on Facebook:

“The Tavern already had many challenges, such as an expiring lease in an aging building slated for redevelopment, and the coronavirus, for us and many other small restaurants, is a fatal blow while we’re already down.”

They will be keeping on with their Alehouse on Broadway, and the Manor in Toronto.

 

Many thanks to Ferry Seagull for the heads up.


The Virus Strikes The Drive

March 16, 2020

This weekend I received a useful email from Fet’s Whiskey Kitchen at 12340 Commercial Drive reminding me of the extra safety regime they had put in place at the restaurant to protect customers.

Today, in another email, they announce they have decided to close indefinitely as a precaution.

“In light of the clear and strict recommendations of Canadian and provincial health officials for social distancing, we were compelled to act swiftly and decisively to help combat the spread of COVID-19. Along with the collective governmental and societal efforts to contain this pandemic, we hope that this decision contributes to bringing us closer to putting this behind us, getting our people back to work, and once again fully enjoying the relationships that we’ve nourished over the years. Aside from public safety our highest priority is to ensure employees are looked after. As we await details on emergency government relief funding, we will be making every effort to properly assist our employees through this crisis.”

I didn’t hear anything about restaurant closures in the BC Health Officer’s press conference this morning, so this action by Fet’s is purely voluntary, and I applaud their community spirit.


Another Date For The Calendar

March 7, 2020

The People’s Co-op Bookstore — Canada’s oldest continuing bookstore — will host a book launch on Wednesday 11th March.  The launch is for Lisa Robertson‘s The Beaudelaire Fractal.

“Robertson, who now lives in France, was a big part of Vancouver’s poetry scene in the 1990s, when she was part of the Kootenay School of Writing collective, and for a time operated Proprioception Books. She is the author of numerous fantastic books of poetry, including The Weather, Debbie: An Epic, 3 Summers, and Cinema of the Present.”

The bookstore is at 1391 Commercial, opening time is 7:30pm, and admission is free!


GWAC AGM Tomorrow

March 6, 2020

The Annual General Meeting of the Grandview-Woodland Area Council takes place on Saturday 7th March at 2:30pm in the Canucks Family Room at Family Place (at the far north of Grandview Park opposite the play area).

GWAC is the oldest and most active Area Council in the City, holding public meetings each month. Most meetings feature an interesting speaker or group, and offers residents a space to air their thoughts and comments on issues of importance to our neighbourhood.

Have you ever thought of running for the GWAC Council?  The AGM is where the Council is elected each year.  Come along and vote!

This year’s AGM includes a fascinating talk by our own historian, artist, and heritage expert Michael Kluckner:

“Over 90 years ago Vancouver hired Harland Bartholomew & Associates to create Vancouver’s first city-wide plan, providing a template for the ambitious young city that was poised to amalgamate with two neighbouring municipalities to become the modern City of Vancouver. Automobile-oriented transportation and industrial growth were priority considerations … Kluckner will explore what was implemented, what worked and what did not, and track more recent changes in legislation and development, such as the vision for False Creek, condominium living and the push for compact communities in both the city and the region.”

It’ll be fun and useful. Hope to see many of you there!


GWAC AGM This Saturday

March 3, 2020

The Annual General Meeting of the Grandview-Woodland Area Council takes place on Saturday 7th March at 2:30pm in the Canucks Family Room at Family Place (at the far north of Grandview Park opposite the play area).

GWAC is the oldest and most active Area Council in the City, holding public meetings each month. Most meetings feature an interesting speaker or group, and offers residents a space to air their thoughts and comments on issues of importance to our neighbourhood.

Have you ever thought of running for the GWAC Council?  The AGM is where the Council is elected each year.  Come along and vote!

This year’s AGM includes a fascinating talk by our own historian, artist, and heritage expert Michael Kluckner:

“Over 90 years ago Vancouver hired Harland Bartholomew & Associates to create Vancouver’s first city-wide plan, providing a template for the ambitious young city that was poised to amalgamate with two neighbouring municipalities to become the modern City of Vancouver. Automobile-oriented transportation and industrial growth were priority considerations … Kluckner will explore what was implemented, what worked and what did not, and track more recent changes in legislation and development, such as the vision for False Creek, condominium living and the push for compact communities in both the city and the region.”

It’ll be fun and useful. Hope to see many of you there!