Module Housing Info Session Fails to Draw Crowds in False Creek – Project Setback to Allow for Future Bike Lane

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.

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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.

TMH Energy Bike Lane ROW.jpg

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.

3 thoughts on “Module Housing Info Session Fails to Draw Crowds in False Creek – Project Setback to Allow for Future Bike Lane

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  1. As one who did attend the meeting, early as I had another meeting to be at. at 5pm, the numbers were light, but it was quite early before many had finished work. I also want to mention that despite being told via phone and email that the meeting was “just the same as the one before”, I attended anyway, curious to see if any of the issues those 300 + residents had voiced concern over were acknowledged, let alone addressed. Most of the display signs were the same, a new major one greeting us on arrival to inform us that no recording, filming, etc., etc was allowed – god knows these folks hate to be caught on record, and some really pretty cherry tree’s added to the new pretty pictures of the temporary housing. The mailout they sent notifying residents of the meeting was both single and small, unlike the original mailout, and was somewhat erratic with only half my neighbours getting them. The mailout also failed to mention the words “modular”, “temporary” or “homeless” – though when I called the city to question that, they assured me it was not intentionally misleading…so with that, it might not be a surprise that attendance was low. I asked what, or if, feedback from the first meeting has been considered or incorporated and I was told, with great pleasure, that yes – they were going to improve the lighting around the building….that was it – nothing else about the tennant mix, access to the skytrain, and no mention of this set back, though I did receive a comment from a COV staff member that I was “privileged” to have been able to cut across the parking lot to False Creek in the past and now would have to either walk around the back of the building or under the bridge. The major item I took away from the meeting was that, unlike (Name Withheld – CD) (head of BC Housing) comment to me the last meeting that “no, she could not promise that tenants would not be 100% drug addicts” or all come from outside the community from the DTES, (Name Withheld – CD) from the Portland Hotel Society assured me that they would be reaching out first to all the homeless already in the area – many we all know from their dumpster diving over the years, and many we would be thrillled to see get a home in the neighbourhood they have adopted – and from there would be looking for tennants wanting to move forward in their lives. some drug addicted, some not. If this is to be believed then that is a far cry from what they were initially telling us and I personally feel cautiously optimistic.

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  2. Hello Cate,

    Sorry it took us so long to respond to you, the last few weeks have seen us busy with a lot of city led events.I’m glad to see you were able to make it to this one. As mentioned, Darren was there from almost the start of the event until 6pm (I got there at about 5pm) and, as we noted, the attendance never picked up. With how busy the first event was, I’m not surprised that the sign urging civil discussion went unnoticed, but it was located right by the candy machines in the entryway. it’s pretty standard for the city to display this sign at events they feel will generate a lot of attendance. We can see why it’s gives the impression that it was meant to protect the staff, but we feel it was designed for the public. After all, while it’s critical to keep things civil by prohibiting large displays, weapons, and abusive tones, it’s also important that people can speak their mind without fear of being recorded and facing reprisal.

    I know at our building, whenever there is a mail out from the city, most of the neighbours the notification cards the same way they treat flyers from politicians– in short, the bin by the mailboxes is usually full.
    I’m sorry you didn’t notice the board about the setback, though we did include it in our post. We learned of the potential for the space to be used as a bike lane from our own conversations with a staff member. We understand what it’s like to have a preferred route to travel, but with the neighbourhood planning program well underway, we knew it was only a matter of time before this typically empty parking lot was put to a better use. In our view it’s likely that both these modular homes, and the parking lot, will be gone 5 years from now.

    We are really glad to hear you’re feeling more optimistic about this project. After all it’s important that all residents feel safe and cared for in a neighbourhood they have adopted as their home. We’re sure it will be better for everyone when more people in the neighbourhood have a roof over their heads, and a real bed to sleep in.

    We should note that we chose to remove the names of people that Cate identified in her post. While we felt conflicted in doing so, we strive to foster conversation, and wanted to protect these individuals’ privacy. Unless otherwise expressed, we ensure that all people are kept anonymous. Hopefully you don’t feel this violated your opinion, Cate.

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