April 12th, 2022 Public Hearing – A Conscious Uncoupling Leads The Next Generation Of Moderate Income Rental Homes Back To Their East Van Origins

Public Hearing – April 12th, 2022
With only ten public hearings scheduled before the civic election, Hannah and I expect this will likely be one of the last calm events this term. The pandemic certainly consumed much of our city council’s ambitions, yet they still managed to spend plenty of time debating simple things like Item #1, a typical townhome project under the Cambie Corridor Plan. That vision also allows for Item #2, which has done something unexpected that has left plenty of people wanting more.

Certainly, like its previous iteration, it could have included more strata housing near the Langara-49th Avenue Canada Line station, however it’s voluntarily chosen to provide more office space instead. Item #3 highlights another oddity, as these industrial zoned lots sit empty, aside from a lone 114-year-old single-family home, which still has a bright future ahead of it. If approved, it will serve as a kitchen for the Temporary Modular Housing Building operated by the Lu’ma Native Housing Society.

A lack of vacant sites has stalled that homelessness strategy, yet it’s the Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program that will be brought to a halt this night. Item #4 is just the 12th of over 50 submissions to reach this stage, and it might be the last as some of our elected officials (4:35:02), (4:44:30), (5:07:40) claim that policy was essentially killed last year. How fitting then that it ends in the same neighbourhood that so eagerly welcomed its first two steps.

Backlash Expectations

Item #1 – 6409-6487 Cambie StVery Low
The biggest source of complaints is that this could be taller

Item #4 – 2406-2484 Renfrew StVery Low
This community has a strong history of supporting moderate income rental housing

The Second Item – 6409-6487 Cambie St – Very Low

What is it?:
This 10 floor building offers 110,000 sqft of office space, 10 live/work homes on the laneway, a 37 space city-owned daycare, and 48 strata homes, which is far less than the Cambie Corridor Plan expected.

Where is it?:
Here, It’s across the road from the Langara-49th Avenue Canada Line station, less than a block from Tisdall Park, and a short walk to the Langara Golf Course, and YMCA.

What will it contribute to the community?:
The 37 space daycare that will be given to the city has been valued at ~$6.15 million, and another ~$4 million in fees will be paid to improve civic infrastructure. There will also be $340,000 provided for public art (pg 12).

What has changed since it was first proposed?
Originally submitted in December 2019, it was rumoured to have been lost to the effects of the pandemic. Instead, it underwent a massive change, switching from a design that hinted at the 127 strata homes it offered, to one that reflected its newfound use as an office building.

What was the open house like?:
This virtual event, which you can view here, was pretty uneventful, aside from a misunderstanding over how many floors the area plan allowed for.

What are its strengths?:
It provides the community badly needed space for doctors, dentists, legal services, and childcare. Plus, it will create a new mid-block connection.

What are its weaknesses?:
There might be some privacy issues during the day, as the offices look over the laneway live/work home’s rooftop patios.

What is the opposition like?:
“Opposed” might not be the right word, as its critics suggest that this building should be taller, and include less underground parking. (pg 44-45)

Want to speak up?:
You can submit your comments using this online form, or register to speak by phone, or in-person, here.

-(Source)

The Fourth Item – 2406-2484 Renfrew St – Very Low

What is it?:
It’s a 14 floor building, with a six floor podium, that will contain 180 rental homes, with 20% set at rates affordable for households earning between $38,000 – $80,000 a year as outlined by the MIRHP Program. There’s also a few retail stores in the base of the tower.

Where is it?:
Here, up the hill from the Renfrew SkyTrain station, and the first two buildings approved under the MIRHP Program, which are now under construction.

What will it contribute to the community?:
Aside from the cost of securing 20% of these homes for the next 60 years at rates affordable for today’s middle class, it will also pay $4 million in fees to upgrade city infrastructure. A further $286,000 will go towards providing public art. (pg 19)

What has changed since it was first proposed?
Originally the tower and mid-rise were united in structure, but then the Urban Design Panel recommended they be split in two, and resubmitted for their review, which happened in October 2021.

What was the open house like?:
Hannah and I can’t agree whether there was one or two questions, but you can look and judge for yourself here. Either way, the only concern was whether this site could accommodate a daycare centre, and the answer was it can’t.

What are its strengths?:
Was it worth revising the design to provide a nice looking courtyard space? The Urban Design Panel certainly thought so.

What are its weaknesses?:
While the new retail stores should help improve the comfort levels for pedestrians at this busy intersection, the hilly terrain makes that effort more challenging.

What is the opposition like?:
They’re outnumbered by those who support this project by a nearly 3 -1 margin (pg 54), and only one person has written to city council to complain that this building is too tall to be near single-family homes.

Want to speak up?:
You can submit your comments using this online form, or register to speak by phone, or in-person, here.

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