June 28th-30th & July 14th & 25th, 2022 Public Hearing – Kitsilano Groundhogs Force Supportive Social Homes To A New Low

Public Hearing – June 28th, 2022
Update July 14th, 2022 : After spending 22 hours over four days, city council has approved Items 1 & 2, and has heard from 225 speakers on Item 3. This marathon will resume on July 25th, at 3pm, and with at least 60 speakers remaining (estimated at 7 hours), you still have time to make your thoughts heard.

There’s simply no way to describe how horrible this public hearing is going to be. With over 170 people signed up to speak on Item #3 as of Monday evening, a final decision on these passive house, non-market homes near the future Arbutus SkyTrain Station is likely weeks away. Yet provincial ministers David Eby and George Heyman didn’t hesitate to express their belief that this project merits approval, as it benefits their constituencies, and our region (pg 20).

Not that it’s easy to find the latter’s submission amidst the 988 public letters sent in on this issue. In contrast, Councillors De Genova and Hardwick voted to send it back to the drawing board, and Councillor Carr has indicated she hoped for some revisions (7:01:20-70:03). The students at Sir Wilfried Elementary have witnessed the affect fear can have (especially in an election year), and how it can fade with time, as their parents now embrace Marpole’s Reiderman Residence tenants.

In fact, if Item #2 was a little thinner it wouldn’t even require city council’s oversight thanks to the Rental Rezoning Policy, which also drew a huge amount of interest when it was approved last year. Item #1 similarly incorporates a pre-set city drawn layout to provide a bit more job space beside the Olympic Village. Despite some opposition, it’s a little too dry to summarize, even for Hannah and I. Still, your opinion could make a difference on any subject.

Backlash Expectations

Item #2 – 2970 KingswayVery Low
No one likes traffic on Kingsway, but sentiments toward this building are a different story.

Item #3 – 2086-2098 West 7th Ave., and 2091 West 8th Ave.Extreme
To say they’re motivated is an understatement, as one individual has sent in 111 responses alone.

-(Source)

The Second Item – 2970 Kingsway – Very Low

What is it?:
This six floor building will include 127 rental homes with retail stores on the ground level, and if it wasn’t for this site’s “flat iron” shape, it probably wouldn’t have needed to go through this process.

Where is it?:
Here, on a lot that’s sat vacant for at least 15 years across from the Collingwood Brach of the Vancouver Public Library, and less than 10 minute walk from Sir Guy Carleton Elementary.

What will it contribute to the community?:
Those hoping to save their local school should welcome the addition of 45 family-sized homes, and at the very least it will pay a $932,000 levy to upgrade city utilities (pg 43).

What has changed since it was first proposed?
Treating School Avenue like a laneway isn’t something city staff were willing to accept, and so they’re requiring several improvements to be made (pg 17)

What was the open house like?:
Over 1,257 households were notified about this virtual meeting, yet nobody submitted a single question, which is pretty typical for a proposal of this scale on Kingsway (pg 35).

What are its strengths?:
If you’re going to live on Kingsway, it’s important to have a nice sized amenity roof, and this proposal certainly does.

What are its weaknesses?:
Its industrial look is supposed to relate to this area’s past, but it would be nice to see at least a splash of colour somewhere.

What is the opposition like?:
Like any normal person, these two individuals are not fans of the gridlock on Kingsway, though I don’t know how adding more parking here will help that.

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

The Third Item – 2086-2098 West 7th Ave., and 2091 West 8th Ave. – Extreme

What is it?:
As allowed by the Broadway Plan (pg 83), this is a 14 floor, passive house building. It will provide 129 social housing apartments, with half rented at $719 per month, with the rest at $375 a month, and will include on-site supportive services. (pg 16)

Where is it?:
Here, on a trio of empty properties between the future Arbutus SkyTrain Station, and Delmont Park, next to the Arbutus Greenway. Kitty corner to the northwest is St. Augustine, a catholic private school.

What will it contribute to the community?:
There’s a societal, and fiscal benefit to providing stable homes, and services for those surviving on provincial disability and income assistance, as well as those who are already enduring homelessness in Kitsilano.

What has changed since it was first proposed?
As requested by the Urban Design Panel, and public feedback, a large atheistic frame has been eliminated to reduce the structure’s overall height. The amount of shelter rate homes have been reduced by half, and 11 homes have been removed, with city staff debating whether to cut back 11 more (pg 44).

What was the open house like?:
Over a hundred questions were asked at its pre-application virtual event in March 2021, and this report summarizes what happened at the three neighbourhood dialog sessions that followed. Another 240 questions were asked at the city’s online meeting, though some still claim there wasn’t enough consultation (pg 17).

What are its strengths?:
Its permanent modular construction technique means it can be built fast, without sacrificing elements like the brickwork that relates to the surrounding context. It doesn’t need much parking either as the 99 is only a block away.

What are its weaknesses?:
Whether city policy is right to require BC Housing to prioritize avoiding shadows on a public park, even though it would affect a private school’s playground in the morning, is likely a personal judgment call.

What is the opposition like?:
Many are simply loving parents who are understandably terrified due to the misleading claims of aspiring politicians, and those who attack well-meaning volunteers.

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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