Skilled Placement of Last Modular Housing Project Saves Chinatown & Strathcona Green Space – Funds for More Homes Run Dry as Winter Approaches

Union St at Gore Ave (898 Main St)
On my way to this event by Oppenheimer Park, I made a point of stopping by to take another look at the location that will host these homes. The first thing I noticed was that more people seemed to have made this park their home, as it appeared several new tents had popped up. The second thing I noticed is that there were less tents everywhere else. It seems that the people I saw last time, living in the grassy areas of the MacLean Park Housing complex, and even under the viaducts themselves, had just moved a street or two over. Obviously, I had no intention of invading these people’s privacy, so I didn’t take any photos to support my experience.

When I arrived at the event, I was struck by just how much these homes have been embraced by residents of Vancouver. It seems that as people have learned more about these homes, their fears and anger have faded away, as there were clearly more staff in attendance than members of the public. This feeling was validated when I learned that the new Margaret Mitchell building near the Olympic Village has received care packages from the surrounding neighbourhood, and enough small potted plants to place one in every home. I also discovered that a decision on the approval of the second Olympic Village TMH project will likely be made this month, and that the construction at Larwill Park and in the Heather Street Lands should be completed in November and December respectively.

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I have to give the staff involved with this project a lot of credit. Looking back, the first events in Marpole could have easily been mistaken for a post appocolyptic horror film, but the abuse that staff endured was all too real. Still, they worked hard at community outreach and eventually won broad support for these homes. That extra effort continues in this green space as staff have skillfully orientated the building so that only two trees will be lost. Additionally, the service area and parking for the building will be accessed through a new small lane off of Gore, rather than Union Street, which will reduce the chance of any conflicts with the many pedestrian and cyclists that use that block.

That said, the event never felt very busy, even though about 40 people attended. That’s a bit of a shame as, in addition to the usual cookies and coffee, there were also several tasty sandwiches to choose from. When I left the event to head down to the Make Room Info Session in Oakridge, I made sure to take one last tour of the boards, as a lack of funding means this could be the last modular home project in Vancouver.

Though I’m hopeful this will not be the last we see of these modular homes, as I overheard a discussion between staff over whether BC Housing should seek additional funding to continue the program. However, that would likely require a lot of public support. You can express your thoughts on this project by emailing housing@vancouver.ca , but if you want to see more of these homes, we suggest you reach out to the Hon. Selina Robinson, (provincial) Minister of Municple Affairs and Housing at selina.robinson.MLA@leg.bc.ca, and the Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos, (federal) Minister of Families Children and Social Development at Jean-Yves.Duclos@parl.gc.ca and ask these senior levels of government allocate more funds so that people can sleep in these real homes, rather than on cardboard on our streets, or in tents in our parks.

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