VANCOUVER, BC – In December, after the November 2014 civic election, the City of Vancouver held a sub-area workshop for the Grandview community plan. It proved to be an exercise in manufactured consent. That charade undermined the Mayor’s pre-election day apology and promise; the promise that if he were to be re-elected the city would listen to the community and be more transparent.
Grandview is the neighbourhood centered around Commercial Drive, affectionately known as The Drive. Its boundaries span from Clark Drive to Nanaimo Street and from Broadway north to the waterfront.
The Drive has a lively shopping district along Commercial Drive; spectacular private and public views to the mountains and downtown; and it is well served by transit and by the Britannia Community Centre. The Drive is a great neighbourhood that is still affordable for many.
This community is a model of diversity, with a broad mix of age, of ethnic, and of economic demographics. Currently 50% of the area is made up of the original heritage character built prior to 1920, generally well maintained and adaptively reused as multiple-suite buildings that tend to be more affordable than new. Many streets are entirely intact with the original buildings. The area also has a large concentration of purpose-built rentals and more social housing than any neighbourhood outside of the Downtown Eastside. Development pressures from rezoning would put all of this at risk.
Murphy goes on to describe a planning workshop organized by the City, which appears to have been highly manipulated by the organizers. On this, she concludes, “It can be expected that the city will misrepresent this as the community’s opinion on future zoning and development.” She then challenges the population growth numbers being presented by the City to justify dramatic increases in density. Next, she writes about financing of development: “What most people don’t understand is that all this growth doesn’t make the city money. On the contrary, the city must subsidize growth … But where are the discussions about how much growth we can afford and what the growth limits are to retain liveability, affordability and environmental sustainability?”
Murphy concludes in “More to Lose Than to Gain”: “This farce of a “planning” exercise attempts to manipulate the perception of public support for the unjustified ruin of Vancouver. Professional planning should start with legitimate data and objectives that are to the public’s interest rather than turning it into a game of Monopoly.”
A shortened version of this article is in the January 9, 2015 edition (page A16) of The Province. The full version is online in The Province, and on Elizabeth Murphy’s blog. Links are provided below.
Direct link to article: https://elizabethmurphyblog.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/citys-grandview-planning/
CityHallWatch previous posts on this topic.
Grandview-Woodland land use plan: Top-down/political interference obvious by analysis of draft versions (one with 22 towers!)
https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2015/01/09/grandview-plan-political-interference/ (CityHallWatch, 9-Jan-2015)
Inside story of a botched community plan process: How top-down interference led to 20 towers proposed for Grandview-Woodland (CityHallWatch, Nov 13, 2014).
Analysis of City’s Land Use map proposed for the Grandview-Woodland Plan (CityHallWatch, July 7, 2013)