1405 East 15th Avenue & 3047 – 3071 Maddams Street
Given the response to the last rental building proposed under the Affordable Housing Choices IRP on this block nearly 7 years ago, Darren and I were not sure what to expect at this one’s first open house. Certainly, I was apprehensive that toxic reaction would be repeated when I arrived and saw the Croatian Cultural Centre’s parking lot was packed with cars. However, the gathering of cigarette smokers outside indicated it was just BINGO Night that had drawn this large response.
As I entered some time after the event began, I wondered if I had missed a wave of early attendees, but I was assured only about 20 had come before me. The majority of those who remained appeared to be young professionals who hoped these homes would be approved, as they were eager to live near frequent transit, and Clark Park. They were perfectly fine that only 41 vehicle parking spots were planned, with two used as dedicated car-share spaces.
Eventually, those who opposed this project started to trickle in, raising the total attendance to around 50 people. Some were still upset that previous proposal was ultimately approved back in 2014, and claimed rental housing was being used as a guise to add density to the neighbourhood. Most acknowledged that homelessness was a problem, and that people’s lives improved when they were housed. Despite this, they believed it was an illusion that new rental housing would help the middle class.
Yet, one board which explained that for the last decade, Vancouver’s rental vacancy rate has been lower than 1% went ignored, as these individuals blamed money laundering for our city’s housing crisis. As most of the night’s criticism was similarly philosophical, I am not sure what that means for the future of this project. Maybe it is a sign more people are beginning to view these wedding cake like mid-rise buildings as an updated version of the Vancouver Special.
While it seems silly to require the upper floors be setback on the Knight Street side, it has allowed for a nice rooftop amenity space, complete with a communal kitchen. After spending the evening listening to the Urban Design Panel, it is no wonder that feature appealed to Darren. That said, he had several concerns about the layout of the ground floor, particularly about how the pathway to the lane could impact the privacy of adjacent homes in the building.
It is important this connection is done well, as, despite the lane’s unsuspecting connection to the Clark-Knight Diversion, it is well used, and the city has no plans to close it off. The building has also been carefully shaped to preserve many of the existing trees, and splashes of green will break up this black and white design. At this stage, your thoughts can shape things big and small, but only if you send them to firstname.lastname@example.org before February 19th, 2020.
More images of the project boards can be found on our Instagram.
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