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Archive for March 8th, 2008

Cities on the edge of chaos

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The Observer

Deyan Sudjic on the city of the future. Actually he’s flogging his new book (Endless City, edited by Ricky Burdett and Deyan Sudjic, is published by Phaidon next week at £35.) But there are some interesting insights in a longish article. (The English quality Sundays always make me feel a bit homesick, now I live in a city which only has the Province on Sundays.)

The future of the city has suddenly become the only subject in town. It ranges from tough topics such as managing water resources, economic policy, transport planning and law enforcement to what is usually presented as the fluffier end of the scale, such as making public spaces people want to spend time in. It’s about racial tolerance and civilised airports, the colour of the buses and the cost of the fares on them. Unless you have some kind of framework to make sense of all that, the city can seem to be about so many diverse things that it is about everything and nothing.

And that is how I found myself swept up in Urban Age, a mobile think-tank set up by the London School of Economics Cities programme, with the Alfred Herrhausen Society, a well-funded charitable arm of Deutsche Bank.

And my old school too. And the result

… a lot of messages about reducing the reliance of cities on the car, on high-density cities being more sociable places in which to live, as well as more sustainable environmentally, about the importance of a coherent form of city government. Though it doesn’t shrink from the darker aspects of city life, it is also a powerful affirmation of the city as mankind’s greatest single invention.

Cities are made by an extraordinary mixture of do-gooders and bloody-minded obsessives, of cynical political operators and speculators. They are shaped by the unintended consequences of the greedy and the self-interested, the dedicated and the occasional visionary. The cities that work best are those that keep their options open, that allow the possibility of change.

The ones that are stuck, overwhelmed by rigid, state-owned social housing, or by economic systems that offer the poor no way out of the slums are in trouble. A successful city is one that makes room for surprises. A city that has been trapped by too much gentrification, or too many shopping malls, will have trouble generating the spark that is essential to making a city that works.

The pattern of the Victorian terraces of London has proved to be remarkably adaptable. A four-storey house 18ft wide can be used for almost anything and it supports a population dense enough for pedestrian life on the pavement that makes cafes and small shops flourish; a system-built tower block marooned in Tarmac is not so adaptable.

Typical East Ham houseActually the vast majority of London terraces are two storeys. Most were built between 1880 and 1914 and have two distinctive features: the narrow frontage to reduce liability to property tax (then determined by length of street frontage) and designed to meet the specifications of the 1880 Public Health Act. The four storey versions tend to be older and are mainly found in inner London – the ring of boroughs that were within walking distance of the City.

Good stuff and worth your time. But as for “world class” we are not even mentioned in passing – and neither is T.O. So there!

Written by Stephen Rees

March 8, 2008 at 5:37 pm

Posted in Urban Planning

If I am elected mayor of Vancouver, this is what I will do . . .

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Pete McMartin

There is many a true word spoken in jest. Some of these ideas aren’t funny either – but there’s a few I endorse

2. If elected, I will make it mandatory that any elected official, or any unelected official who happens to be a toady of the provincial Liberal government and who finds themselves on, say, the board of TransLink, must at all times take public transit within city limits, so as to see how it feels to take the bus and sit between the guy singing along on his iPod to Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell and the drunk man who smells faintly of urine and who, loudly, engages you in conversation and who says he wants to be your friend, much to the amusement of the other passengers.

A government helicopter or limousine will not be considered public transit.

7. If elected, I will, in the interests of EcoDensity, rezone Dunbar, the Southlands, Shaughnessy, Oakridge, Kerrisdale and wherever David Suzuki lives [Kits – or is it Point Grey – I don’t know where the boundary is] as multi-family residential, because we all have to pitch in to save Mother Earth and, besides, it’s fun watching rich people get mad.

9. If elected, I will pass out free drugs to the downtrodden members of our society — our diabetics, our cancer patients and our chronic pain sufferers. I will build free clinics where these unfortunates can go and have whatever drugs they need administered to them in a safe and clean environment without any delay. I will call these clinics “hospitals.”

10. If elected, I will commission the building of a public square in every neighbourhood, in which the public will be encouraged to hold outdoor dances every Saturday night, because neighbours need to get to know one another and because life is short. Music shall include Motown, disco, polka, waltz, tango, salsa and klezmer, but not country, unless you can square-dance to it — this, on the recommendation of my political advisors who tell me that anything coming out of Nashville these days sucks. Also to be encouraged in these public squares will be games of road hockey, dogs, skateboarding, impromptu soccer games, farmers’ markets, skipping, fireworks at least twice a year and a level of civilized public drinking in the afternoon that is known to induce the feeling of calm, peace and universal brotherhood that comes with slight inebriation, and because this town could use some slight inebriation.

All four of these are actually doable. No 9 is pretty much what we ought to have anyway and is a darn site closer to my definition of “free at the point of service healthcare” than what we have now. No 10 you can argue about the details, but is also pretty close to a workable and very necessary provision. I suspect there will be quite a few Canadians who find the idea of people enjoying themselves in public offensive but they will have to get used to it. Or move to Utah. I would vary No 2 to include any trip on public matters and also commutes, and not restrict it to the city limits. In fact the more these jerks have to get out to the burbs the quicker we might see some actual improvement in transit outside of the hallowed City of Vancouver.

The sad truth is that as a resident of Tsawassen, Pete is automatically disqualified

Written by Stephen Rees

March 8, 2008 at 2:21 pm

Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver

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While I am scanning documents I thought I should also pass along those from the community groups opposing EcoDensity, since that is a subject which has generated discussion here recently

February 24, 2008

Mayor Sullivan and City Councillors City of Vancouver
453 West 12 Avenue
Vancouver, B.C. V5Y 1V4

Dear Mayor and Councillors:

Re: Draft EcoDensity Charter and Initial Actions – Report to Council dated Nov. 20. 2007

Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver is a citywide ad hoc organization of 30 groups that includes residents associations, CityPlan committees, ratepayers associations, civic groups and coalitions. Please accept for your information and consideration, the attached group summary statement dated February 19, 2008 and the detailed letter dated December 19, 2007 (with updated list of groups represented).

We understand that the proposed recommendation to Council from staff is for “…Council (to) instruct the Director of Planning to report back with revisions to the draft Charter and draft Initial Actions, in response to public input received.” Concerns remain that the revised documents will not reflect the fundamental changes required.

In order for staff to do their job, they must be also directed by Council to change it from a density charter where density is the number one tool, to one based on a holistic approach to sustainability where density is one of many means but not the goal. Density must not take priority over affordability and livability. We request that Council do the following:
1. withdraw the charter and initial actions;
2. engage communities in an open, democratic, and extended process to devise effective strategies for managing growth;
3. create a comprehensive and balanced plan for Vancouver founded on a holistic approach to environmental, economic, social, and cultural sustainability, where density does not take priority over affordability or livability.


Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver
(See page 2 for a list of the supporting groups.)

Cc: Brent Toderian, Director of Planning
Ronda Howard, Assistant Director of Planning – City-Wide and Regional Planning
Kent Munro, Assistant Director of Planning – Community Planning Division
Rob Jenkins, Assistant Director, Current Planning Initiatives Branch
Thor Kuhlmann, Planner, City-Wide Regional Planning

Page 2

Group contact email: agroupofvancouverneighbourhoods(at)
Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver
Supporting Group names:
• Arbutus Ridge Concerned Citizens Association
• Arbutus Ridge/Kerrisdale/Shaughnessy CityPlan Vision Implementation Committee
• Britannia Neighbours in Action
• Building Better Neighbourhoods
• Burrardview Community Association
• Citywide Housing Coalition
• Douglas Park Residents Association
• Dunbar CityPlanVision Implementation Committee
• Dunbar Residents’ Association
• East Fraser Lands Committee – Sharon Saunders **
• Friends of Southlands Society
• Grandview Woodlands Area Council
• Hastings Sunrise CityPlan Vision Implementation Committee *
• Kensington Cedar Cottage CityPlan Vision Implementation Committee
• Kitsilano Arbutus Residents’ Association
• Kitsilano Point Residents’ Association
• Marpole Oakridge Area Council Society
• Norquay Neighbours – Joe Jones **
• North West Point Grey Home Owners’ Association
• Reinstate Third Party Appeals
• Riley Park / South Cambie CityPlan Vision Implementation Committee
• Shaughnessy Heights Property Owners Association
• South Hill Initiative for Neighbourhood Engagement (SHINE)
• Southwest Marine Drive Ratepayers’ Association
• Upper Kitsilano Residents Association
• Victoria Fraserview Killarney CityPlan Committee – Andrea Rolls **
• Victoria Park Group – Gail Mountain **
• West End Residents Association (WERA)
• West Kitsilano Residents Association
• West Point Grey CityPlan Vision Community Liaison Group *
* Members of the group indicate support for the letter, but have not voted on it yet due to
** Signed as an individual member


Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver is a city wide ad hoc organization of 30 neighbourhood groups that includes residents associations, CityPlan Vision implementation committees, ratepayers associations and community groups. This is the first time in the city’s history that such a diverse, broad representation of neighbourhood groups from across the city have come together to carefully consider and address a City initiative. We oppose the Draft EcoDensity Charter and Initial Actions. The summary of our recommendations are outlined below:

Sustainability – We support the concept ofcreating a truly sustainable future for Vancouver based on a holistic balanced approach that accommodates the full definition of environmental, economic, social,
and cultural sustainability. EcoDensity as currently proposed does not accomplish this.

– To date, the community consultation process leading up to a public hearing on February 26,
2008 has been inadequate and imposes an impossible timeline. At this point many still feel that the
meetings and workshops staged by the City are more about selling the EcoDensity initiative than
engaging the public in a dialogue to bring genuine community input into creating the Charter and
Actions. Although staff has indicated they will be recommending substantive changes in a third draft of
the Charter and Actions, any revised proposal should be released for additional community dialogue
and feedback prior to consideration by Council. We need a new process that is democratic,
transparent, and community-based. The process must be extended over a reasonable timeline, not
just rushed through. Many feel that the City should put the Draft EcoDensity Charter and Initial Actions
to referendum as part of the November 2008 civic election.

The Charter – The question of whether or not the city needs an EcoDensity Charter has never been
debated publicly. There are many who feel that it is not required at all and object to the use of the
word ‘charter’. Its role in this context and what its powers are in relation to other city policies has never
been clearly defined. If we do proceed with one, we need it to use a balanced sustainability approach,
not making density the main priority and tool. This must NOT be a direction-to-policy document that
may be used to change inconvenient policy or to circumvent due process. Even if it would not
immediately change existing policy, Council could at any time approve ‘Actions’ under the Charter to
selectively alter existing policies, such as Initial Action 2 that would override existing Community
Visions. This erodes confidence in the public process and discourages public participation. The draft is
an overly prescriptive document that mostly lists actions or opinions, and fails to establish a higher
level statement of principle for sustainability. The only section in the entire proposed draft Charter that
we support keeping is the “ECO-CITY” section as follows:

• Champion new, holistic ways to align density, design, and land use with other tools for
environmental, economic, social, and cultural sustainability, to achieve mutual benefits – including strategies for transportation and parking, green building strategies, heritage conservation, affordable housing strategies, urban agriculture and food policy, recycling, new energy systems, social development planning, and the many other related City initiatives.”

We recommend adding the following text:

“Density is one of many tools for sustainability, but density must not take priority over other City objectives, including affordability and liveability. Conserving embodied energy through the retention of existing buildings is an important element for achieving sustainability, with particular emphasis on retention of character and heritage buildings.”

And, finally, there must be adequate accountability, conflict resolution and public appeal provisions,
including restoration of the longstanding right of third-party appeals to the Board of Variance.

Draft Initial Actions – There are so many initial actions proposed that it is impossible for the public to
properly understand and consider the actions with all their complex implications. It is therefore,
premature to be proposing their adoption or implementation. The City should first be engaging in a
comprehensive planning process for both the short term and long term, including improved community
consultation that is democratic, transparent, and community-based. The community must be part of
creating the concept with their opinions incorporated. The initial actions should be limited to a very
small number for further consideration only, with much more time for consultation. A summary of a few
of our recommendations regarding the initial actions include the following:
• Sufficient and sustainable public transit must be in place prior to increasing densification.
• Green buildings should be required, not bonused.
• LEED is not an adequate rating system for sustainability. It does not give enough weight to the conservation of the embodied energy of retaining existing buildings, with character and heritage buildings of most concern.

Written by Stephen Rees

March 8, 2008 at 1:12 pm

Posted in land use, Urban Planning

Tagged with ,

Live Work Space for Artists

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An important, an regrettably often overlooked, feature of civilisation is “arts-and-culture”. The Premier made a nice big announcement yesterday about funding to move the Vancouver Art Gallery. Nothing like $50m to grab people’s attention. But yesterday at the SFU meeting I was handed the following documents. They relate to the treatment of artists working in Vancouver.

The creation of live work spaces required City Hall to bend its collective head around a concept foreign to them. That people could both live and work in the same building – even in the same space. Our conventional  zoning wisdom is that residential and commercial spaces must be located in different areas. The two activities are seen as mutually exclusive. This dates back to the early days of planning, when employment was mostly in factories and “dark satanic mills”. The separation of land uses was seen as the first step to environmental protection, as factories were dirty, noisy and smelly and should be remote from dwellings. In fact, for most of human history where we lived and where we worked were the same place. The idea that they must be separate is taking a long while to kill, but gradually mixed use developments – places where you can live over the shop – and live work spaces are becoming accepted. Of course, no-one can force you to work in your live work space, and many people have decided they like living in lofts even if they do not need a studio. And in Vancouver, of course, competition for space is a very serious business indeed.

Live work spaces for artists were once seen as an important part of the city’s cultural life and buildings had all kinds of conditions imposed on them to ensure that this role was protected, but somehow this message seems to fall on deaf ears when it comes to our courts.

The rest of this post is an OCR scan from the documents I was given last night:

 A Statement by Robert Gardiner

It is critically important to release certain factual information, now that there is no longer a case before the courts. I think the public has a right and, I think, a keen interest in such matters as housing and arts
and culture.

As citizens of and stakeholders in our communities at large, these actions of landlords and/or decisions by justices made in the courts affect us all; often quite directly on a civic level, and as Canadians as a

There is now no legislative protection (such as the Residential Tenancy Act) to protect artists living and working in live/work studios from landlords that see fit to increase rents to literally any amount.

Up to 2007, every effort by my landlord to increase my rent beyond allowable limits under the RTA were denied by the RTB and the Courts of B.C. by ruling that live/work studios were covered under RTA
legislation.  The recent decision by the B.C. Court of Appeal changes that, and could result in dramatic rent increases for artists living in live/work studios.

In light of the huge impact this will have on all artists in similar situations (since case law will have a direct bearing on new cases that will undoubtedly come before the courts in the future), I believe it is time to quickly move to change the laws in the B.C. Legislature, and civically in Vancouver, to protect the hundreds of artists – and the art and cultural initiatives that they provide – as valuable participants in and contributors to our communities.

From:   Robert Gardiner
Sent:    Tuesday, March 4, 2008
For Immediate Release

Affordable Live/Work Studios Threatened By Court Ruling

A recent ruling by the B.C. Court of Appeal threatens all renters of live-work premises with dramatic rent increases.  This could most seriously affect low-income artists who rent live/work studios in order to produce their art. And combined with the possible loss of artist’s studios at 901 Main, could greatly reduce the availability of affordable artist’s studio space within the City of Vancouver.

Robert Gardiner, an artist who has rented an artist’s live/work studio at 857 Beatty Street in Vancouver for sixteen years, is threatened with immediate eviction following a February 21, 2008, ruling by the B.C. Court of Appeal. That ruling upheld his landlord’s right to double the rent for the 70% portion of Mr. Gardiner’s
studio that is legally designated for “work,” effectively making Mr. Gardiner’s live/work studio unaffordable for him.

Yet when the old warehouse at 857 Beatty Street was converted for artist’s live/work studios in 1988, the City of Vancouver specified that the studios were to be “affordable” for artists as one of many conditions of the development.

In the case before the Court of Appeal, Mr. Gardiner was appealing the decision of the Supreme Court of B.C. in September, 2007, which dismissed his petition seeking a judicial review of the decision of a Dispute Resolution Officer at the Residential Tenancy Branch that the Residential Tenancy Act of B.C. did not apply to Mr. Gardiner’s live/work studio, on the basis that the premises “are primarily occupied for business purposes.”
Not only is Mr. Gardiner facing immediate eviction as a result of this ruling, all other tenants of live/work premises may now be threatened with dramatically high rent increases no longer limited to 4% annually under the Residential Tenancy Act.


Contact: Robert Gardiner          604-488-1599

Written by Stephen Rees

March 8, 2008 at 12:50 pm

Posted in Urban Planning

Paradise Makers: The Neighbourhood Activists

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SFU City Program

Friday, March 7 at 7pm Harbourfront Centre

The Activists

Photo by Jason Vanderhill

No history of Vancouver could be written without acknowledging the role of the neighbourhood activists who led the fight against freeways, out-of- scale development and whatever other atrocities were threatening their communities. Jacques Khouri from Kitsilano and Margaret Mitchell, a pioneer of community development, tell their stories.
The format of the evening was not a lecture but an informal interview, with Gordon Price asking the questions. (This man should have his own tv chat show.)

Audio podcast

Jacques Khouri – born in Israel, he came to Canada in 1963 and moved to Vancouver in 1964. He enrolled at UBC but in 1968 he dropped out and drove a taxi. He had been a reporter for Ubyssey (the student newspaper) and eventually became a Vancouver Sun business reporter. He had been required to go to a meeting at City Hall as part of one of his university courses. “It looked like a circus, and these people were running the city!”. His first project, while at university, he had refurbished a frat house as a co-op. In 1972 “the feds were spending money” and one was the Local Initiatives Program, for job creation for young people which employed him to promote the program. Eventually he bought a house in Kitsilano only to discover a plan to build a high rise next door. The whole area was zoned for high rises but so far none been been built. There was a proposed 13 storey seniors’ housing project of a Jewish community group. Although he upset that group, and the ruling clique at City Hall as well as the developers, he organised the neighbourhood, and managed to get the whole area of Kitsilano down zoned to stop highrises in February 1974. Since then, this feat has not been duplicated.

Margaret Mitchell arrived here in 1972 and was a Social Worker in community development. She worked on area development projects the content of which depended on the wishes of each community. The intention was to help citizens to bring about change in their lives and was different from the current model of client based social work. The method used was to discover the concerns of the community and provide neighbourhood services to meet them. It was Pierre Trudeau’s idea, and was administered and funded by Canada Assistance under the Welfare department. Initially the money was sent to provinces who distributed to community projects. “While we were solving problems, we also rocked the boat and the powers that be didn’t like it. The Province and the City at that time were both right wing conservative.”

She worked with women in Little Mountain, listening to complaints from single moms on welfare: they had no access to child care, and not enough money to feed themselves. The women decided to confront the agencies who each sent representatives to a meeting, which included the MLA and the MP, who had to listen as each told their personal stories. “They had no reply.” They started getting money for child care as well as an “opportunities allowance” which allowed for confidence and skills building.

Prior to this experience she had worked for the Red Cross in japan and Korea, as a welfare worker in a leave centre. She also worked with refugees from Hungary in Vienna. She was born in small town Ontario to a conservative family and attended a school of social work in Toronto. They saw themselves as change agents. “We didn’t just want to put band aids on. We saw the need to get at root causes.” She was the first community worker in Little Mountain working from a “hang out, drop in shack, with red door”. She worked closely with the local schools who were very supportive.

The United Way was also engaged in setting up the local area plans and had 22 “Citizen Councils” but these were professional organisations who “scared off the locals”. In Grandview is was not a professional council but high school students started their own group ATTAC which took over the citizen council and formed a group to oppose the freeway. Eventually this group established the Britannia Centre. Again they were supported by their teachers. They were mainly from Chinese and Italian families, and the children acted as interpreters for their parents. “The City asked us to start Community Development Department”. Norah Curry worked with public housing tenants, who took over the management of the their housing and also set up a food co-op.

The motto was “Don’t rest in peace – organise” One neighbourhood group in a housing project was upset that their kids had to cross the GN tracks to get to school. They camped on the tracks, stopping the trains to the port for a week and they got their overpass. They also went on to develop a food co-op and took over the local housing office.

Jacques pointed out that these were disenfranchised people, from the bad part of town and had been left out of the process. The West Side was organised but East Side wasn’t. In Kitsilano they found that a citizens group “needs a spark plug” and that person needs to be paid. The issues – real estate changes and high local unemployment – the housing crisis which is being ignored again – have been same for the last 35 years.

One community organiser, Nathan Carmel , thought that altruism had no place in social work: he said “go for the self interest, find the hot button”. He started the West Broadway Citizens Committee, to oppose a City scheme to “improve” the area. The big idea was to take people’s homes, tear them down and turn the land into parking lots. While this would have served the interests of the businesses, the owners and tenants of the houses opposed the plan.

While there was unanimous opposition by the people in Kitsilano against highrises, the City did not want to down zone, as that would expose them to lawsuits from those who lost development potential. The solution was to keep the density but reduce the height, by “laying the high rise on its side”. Ray Spaxman was hired by the city to deal with rapid change and that has not happened like that since. A 2,300 signature petition was presented. The area from Burrard to Alma from 16th to the inlet was affected. Mike Harcourt proposed a one year freeze and made it permanent one year later. They had avoided law suits by not devaluing property.

In 1974 the funding was cut by both City Council and the feds, but a lot of groups continued. In 1972 a TEAM council and an NDP government were elected and they transferred community development into a more structured form. The politicians thought they could use these groups to just let off steam, and they had no intention of listening. Consultation is not the same as delegation of power.

The story of Stratchcona is very important and it was unfortunate that Shirley Chan was unable to attend. In that area Chinese and other immigrant groups were to see their houses bulldozed so that public housing in large blocks could be built. This was described as “cultural genocide”. Organising techniques were developed which had to be bilingual, and the neighbourhood formed an association to protect their homes. Block captains were appointed, in a way similar to China, to ensure that everyone was kept informed and mobilised when needed. The federal government was supporting urban renewal, but the community wanted federal help with rehabilitation first, and then renewal.

Grandview, Strathcona and Hastings combined to stop the freeway from coming through their areas. This followed the successful campaign in Toronto that stopped the Spadina Expressway.

Jacques became a developer because he became tired of listening to his opponents saying “You have never built anything.” He showed them what to do with the Kitsilano Housing Society which at 1st and Maple built an affordable housing development which is still there. He was working at the time for the federal government and didn’t wait to be fired. He became real estate agent so that he could earn a living and he blagged his way onto the official plane, and went with Trudeau to Cuba to see Castro as a “freelance” journalist. The consensus on the platform was that Jacques has “chutzpah”.

Margaret went into politics “as an extension of what I was doing”. She ran for Vancouver East for the NDP and became an opposition MP. As far as she was concerned this was just more neighbourhood activism – “making it up as you went along”. She had hoped that as organisations gained official recognition that it would lead to greater local control with the establishment of wards and so on.

Jacques pointed out that as groups grow they become more mainstream, and many of the revolutionary ideas they introduced to Vancouver, like organic food, have now become established and common. Gordon Price raised the question of the legitimacy of community representatives: “when someone using the first person clams to represent an area, by antennae go up. And aren’t community groups naturally conservative? They just want to keep things the way they are.”

Jacques agreed that NIMBYism does play a role. He gave the example of a development ha has done at 22nd and Cambie: a housing co-op on a “pocket park”. George Puil (to his credit) supported it saying we have a city wide problem and we have to deal with it, while we have plenty of parks in the area. It has to seem fair. If there is no neighbourhood group the area gets projects dumped on it. Margaret said that False Creek was not a conservative group, but Gordon responded that was a “blank slate” – a former industrial area with no established community.

  • Momentous changes are coming but we have to deal with housing affordability.

  • A man from Norquay said “We don’t think we are the nimbys. We are saying no to mass rezoning.”

  • Robert Gardiner spoke about live work space being lost. This is actually a much larger issue than can be dealt with here and will the subject of a separate post

  • Gordon Price compared what happened in the West End and Kitsilano. The former was now 65% rented, mostly high rise, and as a result houses a wide range of incomes. Kits has become gentrified, and is now unaffordable to the students who had originally rescued it

  • Mel Lehan said that activism was against gentrification. “You only get NIMBY when you force stuff down people’s throats”. Ecodensity has got nothing to do with the environment. There is now a coalition of 30 neighborhoods opposed to the EcoDensity Charter. But he emphasised that “we want to work with the process” to allow growth but build in affordability and amenities.

Jacques responded to Mel’s request for advice: “Follow the money and follow your heart”

  • “What we are doing is not a shining example. City Hall does not have the right to rezone without regard to neighborhoods.”
  • A woman from Little Mountain said community input based on knowledge and history is important. The community there created a “Visions plan” but the province wanted “vacant possession” of the public housing, while the community would prefer on site relocation of the remaining families. “Socio econmic diversity is important and what is happening on Little Mountain is still urban renewal by another name.” The province wants to do all its housing stock this way. The community is not against an increase in density but it has to respect the community and provide an equitable increase in the number of affordable units

  • Karen Fung spoke about bar camps or transit camps. She grew up in Riley Park and asked how to inspire youth now. Gordon Price suggested she stay and talk to SFU staff about a similar project they are interested in.

  • “We want a role in deciding what happens in our city. There is now a new generation of planners and a new coalition of groups. Where can we go for advice?

Jacques did not feel that there was much he could point to in the literature that would be as useful as first hand experience. “Books you can read later to see what happened to you.” At which point, Gordon closed the meeting by presenting both speakers with a book.

Written by Stephen Rees

March 8, 2008 at 11:46 am