2924 Venables Street – Alice Saunders House
Admittedly, Hannah and I were a little torn on whether to write this post. While we enjoy sharing information about upcoming pre-application events, it almost feels unnecessary when the notice is openly available on Twitter. Then again, as we only learned about it when we were sent a link to this tweet, we thought it was only fair to pass along the favour to our readers. More than that, we’re happy to provide a bit more context too.
Though it wasn’t that long since this site was in the news, as the Vancouver Tenant’s Union has strongly opposed this change. At first glance, that position is totally understandable. After all, who could possibly support the supposed eviction of low income elderly residents. However, it only takes a moment to realize that’s not happening here. Instead, these individuals will be rehoused at other buildings, and given the right to return at existing rates, once the Alice Saunders House is rebuilt.
That far exceeds the city’s own recently expanded Tenant Relocation and Protection Guidelines. In a perfect world, such things wouldn’t need to exist, but the truth is, like our own bodies, buildings decay with age no matter how well you take care of them. Which means eventually it becomes too hard to justify spending charitable donations on a 42 year old building, when a new structure can offer 149 homes, provide fire safety systems, and improve accessibility.
Some may not understand why an elevator is so desirable, but anyone who’s ever seriously hurt their legs will know why 70% of the existing residents feel anxious without one. This, along with the shortage of seniors homes, is probably why this 68 year old non-profit housing group received 18.1 million dollars from the Provincial Government to address these issues. Obviously, the danger is always that opposition from well-meaning individuals will lead to delays, added costs, and ultimately less homes.
Of course, there are others who will likely hope for that outcome, as this proposal is just a block south of a rental housing project that drew strong neighbourhood opposition. After months of delays. a scaled back version of that concept was eventually approved by city council earlier this year. As a result, it’s hard to say whether this proposal will reach its fully-funded potential, or be limited in height by that precedent.
There’s no way to know that answer until this event, but it’s clear that public participation can have real consequences. Given the weather at this time of year, another block party rally with Councillor Swanson is very unlikely, but we expect a large turnout at the Hastings Community Centre on October 8, 2019 nonetheless. As the event runs from 5 to 7:30pm, whether you’re retired or still working, there’s plenty of time to drop by, and even relive the summer with something from Whiskey Six BBQ afterwards.
Applicant Team Information:
Developer – Brightside Community Homes Foundation