599 West 2nd Avenue – Temporary Modular Housing
In a sign of community disinterest, satiated curiosity, or even support, the second open house for the modular home site near the Olympic Village Station drew only a small crowd. While the first open house held on January 30th saw attendance in the mid 300’s, this event failed to reach 50 total attendees by 6 pm. Perhaps they agreed with the city’s idea that being close to a mass transit hub, the Vancouver Police Station, and the VGH campus makes this a suitable location. As False Creek South is a proud community, it could be that residents felt that this proposal helped achieve the income diversity that the neighbourhood was founded on (an equal mix of low, middle and upper incomes). Another option is that the City staff addressed people’s concerns, or those same people feel that the end result is inevitable.
Darren and I both found ourselves fascinated that this project, because of it’s design, internal systems, and provincial standards almost reaches the environmental standards of a passive house! As such, the building should be almost sound-proof when the windows are closed. The reason for the setback from the street is two fold. One is due to the electrical lines that follow 2nd/6th avenue, and the other is because the City is exploring the possibly of turning that right of way into a separated bike lane.
Though sparse, the attendance was very polarized, with a minority in favour of the project. Others were fearful for the safety of their families and possessions. Some even worried the site would be filled with residents of the Downtown Eastside, rather than those who currently sleep under the Cambie Bridge, in the disused Olympic Streetcar Tracks, or in the alcoves of Central Broadway. People that have lived in the area for years felt that the Marguerite Ford social housing building was badly implemented, and that this site would repeat that legacy. What puzzled us was that the only social housing advocacy group in attendance was the group set to run the site, the Portland Hotel Society. I understand that these housing types are not perfect answers, or even a permanent one, but I still assumed that this project would have the support of shelter housing advocates. That said, I may be overlooking a reason why these groups didn’t turn out to support this project.
If you have concerns about the project, would like to learn more about it, or wish to voice your support, there is still time make your voice heard.