Marine Gardens (video): A model community of affordable rental housing at risk. What now, what next? (Public Hearing Feb 24)

“Marine Gardens is arguably Vancouver’s finest example of livable, affordable and sustainable family housing.”
(Ned Jacobs, urbanist and video content coordinator)

“This video introduces us to Jillian Skeet, a community defender and a long-time resident of Marine Gardens. She shares her stories and her passion for a model of community living that is rapidly disappearing. I shot this in the fall of 2014 as Vancouver was gearing up for the civic election. I was impressed with her passion, intelligence and commitment to the preservation of Marine Gardens, under the shadow of massive new tower developments at Marine Gateway, on the Canada Line subway station at the foot of Cambie Street in South Vancouver.”
(David Vaisbord, Filmmaker)

The public hearing to rezone the site of Marine Gardens is set for Tuesday, February 24, 2015. Mega developer Concord Pacific is requesting City Council’s rezoning of this site to build two towers (27 and 21 storeys) plus a 6.5 storey midrise. For more information about the public hearing (including links to rezoning documents and past articles about Marine Gardens on CityHallWatch): Public Hearing Feb 24: Details on rezonings at Marine Gardens

Read more background here:
“Marpole: Marine Drive residents fear the wrecking ball” (by Kristen Moran, contributing writer, Vancouver Courier, 13-Mar-2014)

More reading about Marine Gardens and this video

Marine Gardens Video: Can we save Vancouver’s affordable rental housing gem, the pride of Habitat 76?

Marine Gardens is a beautifully-designed complex with 70 affordable, family-oriented rental units in Vancouver, Canada. But this verdant housing complex is threatened by destruction for 584 new units in two towers (27 and 21 storeys) plus a 6.5 storey midrise. The public hearing on this rezoning is on February 24, 2015 with a City Council decision soon thereafter.

To tell this story, hyper-local documentary maker David Vaisboard, with community activist Ned Jacobs (son of planning critic/urbanist Jane Jacobs) have prepared a 4.5-minute video featuring interviews with resident leader Jillian Skeet. (The video is available on YouTube here , and Vimeo here

Our goal with this video is to document the beauty of this urban gem while it still exists, provide input for discussions at City Hall and the subsequent development processes at this site, and influence the discussion about housing issues in cities of the world. We hope the video might even inspire efforts to preserve the Marine Gardens community and legacy in some way.

Marine Gardens was designed by architect Michael Katz and landscape architect Cornelia Oberlander. It was completed in 1974 as a demonstration project for the “Habitat 76” conference, showing an innovative and livable, affordable and sustainable residential development. It is a highly successful example of compact townhouses achieving a density of 45 units/acre. The buildings were even designed to be dismantled and relocated.

Although City Hall and the developer plan to destroy and replace the 70 affordable rental units (albeit, replaced at market rates) and relocate tenants (giving them right of first refusal following redevelopment), the plan will in fact uproot and scatter a fine and unique multicultural community that includes low-income residents. The deplorable plans will enable the destruction of one of Vancouver’s hidden gems. This story needs to be documented and told. And we believe the telling of the story might change the outcome.

We also consider the very process of making this video to be a collective learning experience. There are a myriad of housing and development challenges facing Vancouver and many cities of the world today. We are learning from making of this video and hope to develop a model for planning/funding/creating/distributing a short documentary video for use in other cases like these.

Fundraising: Click Indiegogo to donate by secure site by PayPal or credit card –
The first $300 of our $500 fundraising target for this video will reimburse the filmmaker’s time for editing the video. The next $200 would be a bonus to cover the time required for shooting. An extra $200 if raised would help Marine Gardens residents prepare printed materials to publicize the situation, and an extra $300 or more above that could go as a fund to support the efforts of Marine Gardens residents to represent and defend themselves. (On the other side of the equation pushing this rezoning with its current plan of the complete destruction of Marine Gardens is the virtually unlimited taxpayer funds of the City of Vancouver and the huge financial power of one of North America’s largest developers, Concord Pacific.) It is hoped that the video will be shown at the public hearing, viewed extensively online by people around the whole, and also be available for any events to promote frank and serious discussions about affordable housing and urban development. To donate, please visit our campaign at

About the interviewee
Jillian Skeet has lived at Marine Gardens for almost 12 years. She is a national and international affairs consultant, and a writer, who has worked in the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa and with organizations at the United Nations in Geneva and New York. She has lived in many places but considers Marine Gardens the best place she has ever lived because of the community, and the wonderful environment that allows children to grow up playing outside like children have since the beginning of time.

About the filmmaker
Filmmaker, activist, educator David Vaisbord, (imdb link) has made several award winning films, including the Gemini nominated Drawing Out the Demons: a film about the artist Attila Richard Lukacs (2004), and cult classic Juicy Danger Meets Burning Man (1998).

Beginning with the “6-block manifesto” and evolving into several short activist films, a website, blogs and gallery installations, the Little Mountain Project has been Vaisbord’s “Hyperlocal Documentary” practice for the past 7 years. Find out more about it in POV Magazine’s Summer 2013 issue .

In 2014 he launched a crowd funding campaign for The Little Mountain Film and continues to fund raise for the completion of the feature documentary. Meanwhile Vaisbord continues to work as a transmedia producer, educator, digital media consultant, and full time father of two busy children.

About the content coordinator
Ned Jacobs, a son and lifelong student of the urbanist Jane Jacobs, grew up in New York ’s historic Greenwich Village . As a youth he contributed to saving the Village and its environs from urban renewal projects and expressways and helped pioneer non-destructive forms of development that respect neighbourhood character and scale. After immigrating to Toronto in 1968, he joined the grass-roots movement that stopped the Spadina expressway. A Vancouverite since 1975, Ned has participated in causes and initiatives concerning the environment, transportation, social justice and neighbourhood planning. He has been a guest lecturer for the SFU Urban Studies Program, the UBC School of Regional and Community Planning, and the Vancouver Community College graduate planning program.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s