Crofton Manor Redevelopment
When Darren and I returned to St. Mary’s Kerrisdale Church, we were both feeling a bit nervous. The last time we were here, residents in the neighbourhood wanted city staff to eject us from the building. That didn’t happen this time, but there were plenty of upset voices at this early and critical stage of the planning process.
Unfortunately, most people don’t realize how vital public input is at this stage, as it literally frames what the community should look like. Should it be dense or sparse? Rental housing or market? Should there be be large parks? Or storefronts and social housing? The answers at this point set the perimeters for the rezoning process, and are the best chance for the public to have their demands heard; The only aspect that might be more important is the approval of city council at a public hearing.
So you can imagine our dismay when walked in and immediately heard a person complain that the city should focus on keeping Vancouver for families, instead of redeveloping properties like this one. That set the tone for the night. While there were some residents of the existing facility who were concerned that they would be kicked out to the street, they choose to engage with staff. When they learned that the site would be built in phases, and the new facility would be finished before the old one was demolished, their opposition faded away. In fact, some even asked the applicant to build a taller building to incorporate more senior’s services and housing. The opposition didn’t come from residents of Crofton Manor, it came from their neighbours.
Despite the senior citizens’ hope for more activities in the neighbourhood and their support for this redevelopment, the neighbouring single family home owners were the ones claiming this increase in density was a nightmare come true. Comments from these individuals ranged from disgust at social housing being located in the area, to fear of vagrants wandering through the complex and into their backyards. One couple even insisted that the applicant set up a perimeter fence around the existing homes so that they would be protected from any new residents.
Darren and I were disappointed by these comments. Frankly, we think more homes are needed in Kerrisdale, as the population in the last 10 years has fallen in the “ARKS” neighbourhoods by almost 1,500 people, with half of that decrease taking place within a 1 km radius of Crofton Manor. Meanwhile, the city as a whole has gained roughly 64 thousand new residents. These homes don’t only have to be for new residents, they could allow the ageing community a chance to downsize to a more manageable home, and one day make an easier transition to the assisted living facility. An added benefit is that it would allow these large properties to be redeveloped, which would hopefully increase the neighbourhood’s supply of obtainable homes, be they rental, strata or co-op.
In terms of the design, Darren likes the Perimeter Park, while I’m drawn to the Senior Hub Design. We feel both are better than the Pocket Park and Linear Street Park, as they allow for more activation along 41st Ave, as well as more usable, less noisy park. I like the Seniors Hub, as it exposes every housing typology to 41st Avenue, and to some park space. Darren likes the idea of buffering the neighbourhood with the perimeter park, in hopes offsetting opposition. He also feels it’s more fitting to have storefronts below the market housing, and appreciates that the social housing won’t be located along 41st. You’re free to disagree with us, but we hope you will join us in supporting more housing in Kerrisdale at this critical time. Make sure you check out the project website, and let your voice be heard.