Vision Vancouver members of council voted to approve the development at 955 East Hastings on October 30th, 2012. NPA and Green councillors voted against the rezoning and sided with the majority of speakers who had spoken in opposition to the project. Council had previously heard from speakers at a Public Hearing on Oct 16th & 18th. The Wall Financial development will add 352 housing units, of which 282 are condos. The remaining 70 units will be transferred to the City of Vancouver and rented as social housing, with 24 of these operated at the welfare rate. The building will also have light industrial and commercial uses at grade. The Carnegie Community Action Project published two detailed accounts of the rezoning approval in the following two articles: 955 E Hastings condo rezoning hearing results: They accepted it
and How the LAPP Committee failed the test of the condo rezoning proposal at 955 E Hastings. For further coverage please see articles in the Straight and the Globe and Mail.
During the Public Hearing several of the speakers mentioned the $80,901.40 campaign contribution of Wall Financial to Vision Vancouver’s coffers in 2011. This is the third major development that has been recently approved for Wall Financial, with the mega developments at 5515 Boundary and at Shannon Mews being the others. Should members of council benefiting from Wall’s contributions recuse themselves from voting? For further information about campaign finance reform, please listen to Terry Martin’s interview on campaign finance reform here or watch videos here and here. There were a number of other contentious aspects to the development, including the loss of industrial land, the potential upward speculative pressures on surrounding industrial land and gentrification of the neighbourhood, the sheer size of the development and the fact that the rezoning proposal was not put on hold until the completion of the Local Area Planning Process.