“Just wanted to inform you that as soon as a Liberal win became apparent, every home in our neighbourhood received a letter from Colliers seeking to assemble land. That’s Broadway through 12th Avenue, from Clark Drive to Victoria — hundreds of properties.”
Resident of Grandview Woodland Plan Area
(Updated: Thank you to readers who commented and e-mailed input, which is reflected in a revised headline, and some changes and clarifications below.) This scanned letter from a local realtor to a Vancouver resident is an example of what’s going on exactly as the community is engaged with the City for a community plan in the Grandview Woodland Plan Area. It arrived in mailboxes by Canada Post on Tuesday, October 20, the day after the federal election.
Our source confirmed that many people in the neighbourhood received letters addressed specifically to them, and writes, “We regularly receive letters from real estate agents looking for homes to buy, but this is the first land assembly letter to make its way beyond the local arterial roads.”
(Updated:) Our source wishes to emphasize this phenomenon: Essentially the drive to assemble properties comes at the price of dismantling thriving communities for the sake of greed, not increased affordability.
Is this letter yet another symptom of a flawed and manipulated community planning process? (See our links at the bottom about problems with the process so far.) Are realtors are playing an aggressive role in escalating land prices as soon as they get a whiff of potential rezonings to increase density, making housing less affordable, even as the neighbourhood is engaged in discussions with the City for the community plan? Do the real estate industry and urban planners condone this kind of behaviour? (Hint: Chief Planner has spoke against it.) Take this example to a higher magnitude — what are the implications for any community plan process and what can be done, by whom, to mitigate speculative pressure as soon as the whiff of increased density is in the air? Below is an image of the letter, followed by the text further below, and related reading.
CityHallWatch’s source provides more information:
- Many residents are frustrated that the City planners assigned to this community planning process won’t take their calls or messages. The draft plan is scheduled to reach City Council in the spring of 2016 and they are deeply concerned there will be limited or no further consultation with the public.
- Some long time residents are not interested in moving, but may feel forced to do so if the neighbourhood changes to much and it loses its appeal. (That’s the part about the “community” being removed from the community plan.)
- Ironically, some people who were supportive of “increased density” in the community consultation “Emerging Directions” document have now moved away. (So much for that.) The point being to highlight the observation — which has been seen in other planning processes — that assertive advocates of change have been known to “fly the coop,” leaving the remaining residents to deal with the changes they advocated.
- During the public consultation on the “Emerging Directions” document for Grandview Woodland Plan Area in the summer of 2013, several neighbours canvassed the area and submitted over 400 signed individual letters in protest of plans to introduce six-storey stacked townhouses, towers, and tall mid-rise commercial buildings. The letters were personally delivered to the City’s Planning office. In addition, neighbours attending the Citizen Assembly workshops clearly expressed their disinterest in placing multifamily buildings that disrespect the general form and character that exists today in this heritage home community.
For more about what appears to be a flawed and manipulated community planning process, see other links below.
PREVIOUS POSTS ON THE GRANDVIEW WOODLAND PLANNING PROCESS:
TEXT OF LETTER FOLLOWS …
Colliers INTERNATIONAL October 13, 2015
1XXX 10TH AVE E, VANCOUVER BC V5N XXX
As you may be aware, the City of Vancouver is currently undertaking a review of planning policy in the Grandview-Woodlands Precinct. The main purpose of the review is to guide land use policy throughout an area that includes your property at 1XXX East 10th Avenue.
An emerging strategy within the plan indicates that your property could potentially be rezoned to support redevelopment for multi-family residential.
If assembled with the neighbouring properties, your property will likely be worth considerably more than its current market value.
The reason we are contacting you now is to determine your interest in meeting with us to discuss the planning changes and how it may impact the value of your property. Our expertise is in assembling and representing land owners in the sale of residential properties undergoing zoning changes. We have successfully assembled and sold numerous sites in areas such as East Vancouver, the Cambie Corridor and the West End.
In the next couple of weeks we will reach out to you by phone. In the meantime, please feel free to contact us by phone or email if you have any questions.
Casey Weeks* … *Personal Real Estate Corporation
Meg Cooney Sales Assistant
End of letter