Keep the following Tweet for the history books.
Hundreds of thousands of words have been written and spoken on this rezoning application. The opposition movement for this 12-storey tower proposal probably volunteered tens of thousands of hours of personal time, while the organized effort to lobby council for approval was probably tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. In the end, on the 11-person City Council, eight (8) council members voted in opposition, and three (3) in support. Despite the rejection of the 12-storey proposal, the Beedie Group still has the potential to go ahead and seek development approval for a nine-story building here. So a whole new process needs to begin now with discussions about the best and most respectful use of that site.
History was made today in a number of ways. People have put this battle in the context of Chinatown’s fight against highways in the 1970s, which ended up defining Vancouver we see today. Another historic happening was the split vote within the ruling party. In the ten years (2008 to 2017) since Vision Vancouver has held absolute power at City Hall, it has been extremely rare to see even one of the Vision members on City Council NOT vote with the party. (It seems quite possible that coordinated vote decisions are typically being made secretly, and possibly illegally, in caucus.) Another historic happening was an actual rejection of a major development application. We will have to dig far and deep to find any record of Vancouver City Council under the current regime ever rejecting a rezoning application, large or small.
Surely there will be a major amount of follow-up reporting in local, national and international media and even textbooks about this historic decision today. We will post some links here in the coming days.
To understand the systems and dynamics at play, this entire process merits further analysis — from the Council’s adoption of higher buildings policies in Chinatown several years ago, to this application coming forward, to the efforts of the opposition and support movements, and the final voting. All of this is in a highly political environment, with the region suffering from a housing crisis and politics at all three levels being fueled by donations from special interests — at the municipal level, largely coming from developers and unions. The next civic elections are on October 20, 2018, and the official “election period” starts on January 1. Fasten your seat belts.
Vote, by party
Media coverage, post-decision
Political Fear Drives 105 Keefer Decision: Unprecedented Rezoning Fail (by Joseph Jones, Vancouver Media Co-op, 14-June-2017). Excerpt: One thing at Vancouver City Hall can exert more force than big developer dollars. That thing is political fear. The next Vancouver municipal election lies only one summer plus one year into the future…. On the afternoon of 13 June 2017, political fear factored into the decisions of almost all of the eleven councillors who voted on the proposal to rezone the Beedie-owned parcel at 105 Keefer Street. Only Adriane Carr (Green) stands unbeholden to developer “donations.” …
Chinatown decision: Vancouver council rejects controversial 105 Keefer St. proposal (by Dan Fumano, Vancouver Sun, June 13, 2017)
Excerpt: Vancouver council’s rejection of a controversial condo development in historic Chinatown — and the community opposition that galvanized against it — will have implications beyond the neighbourhood. “It’s bigger than Chinatown,” said Andy Yan, director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, minutes after the mayor and council voted. “It’s a signal to the development community that you must consider the surrounding neighbourhood that you’re working in.”
Vancouver City Council votes down controversial Chinatown condo project at 105 KeeferVancouver City Council votes down controversial Chinatown condo project at 105 Keefer, By Simon Little and Emily Lazatin, CKNW: http://globalnews.ca/news/3525630/vancouver-city-council-votes-down-controversial-chinatown-condo-project-at-105-keefer/
Vancouver city council votes down 12-storey Chinatown tower
105 Keefer St. development rejected in 8-3 vote; councillors note how proposal divided the community, by Justin McElroy, CBC News, Jun 13, 2017
Contentious Chinatown development application rejected (News 1130, by Lasia Kretzel and Ellen Coulter, June 13, 2017): http://www.news1130.com/2017/06/13/controversial-chinatown-development-application-rejected/
Vancouver city council rejects Beedie Group rezoning bid for 105 Keefer Street
by Charlie Smith on June 13th, 2017, Georgia Straight:
City council rejects 12-storey condo for Chinatown: Beedie Development Group could still build a shorter building without public hearing (Mike Howell, Vancouver Courier, June 13, 2017): http://www.vancourier.com/news/city-council-rejects-12-storey-condo-for-chinatown-1.20574341
Some recent coverage by CityHallWatch
Renderings, standards and human perception. A look at the 105 Keefer Street rezoning (May 28, 2017). Analyzes deceptive or misleading images that make the proposed development look smaller than it would really be if built. https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2017/05/28/renderings-standards-human-perception-105-keefer/
Silencing the citizens: Did Mayor Robertson go “nuclear” on 105 Keefer with 9:30am Monday Public Hearing? (May 27, 2017).
Controversial 105 Keefer (Chinatown) rezoning goes to public hearing (May 23, 25, 26, 29+): Beedie Group, 12-storeys (May 23, 2017). https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2017/05/23/105-keefer-public-hearing/
How Vancouver city hall exacerbates affordability crisis: “Look no further than … rezoning of 105 Keefer” (Nathalie Baker, opinion – Vancouver Sun) (May 14, 2017)
Official statement by the Mayor, minutes after end of meeting.
Statement from Vancouver Green Party regarding Councillor Adriane Carr’s questions/comments on this rezoning: Councillor Carr Motion for 100% Social Housing @ 105 Keefer Site (June 13, 2017): http://www.vangreens.ca/councillor_carr_motion_for_100_social_housing_105_keefer_site
Selected previous media
MEDIA (original list from #SaveChinatownYVR group, with our additions at top)
- Controversial Chinatown rezoning for 12 storey building goes to public meeting (by John Mackie, Vancouver Sun, 23-May-2017): http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/controversial-chinatown-rezoning-to-go-to-a-public-meeting
- Activists plan to oppose retooled Chinatown development at hearing: 12-storey 105 Keefer contains 106 market units and 25 ‘low-to-moderate income’ seniors units (Liam Britten, CBC, 23-May-2017): http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/british-columbia/chinatown-real-estate-keefer-1.4125174
- Historic Chinatown becoming Yaletown North? (Elizabeth Murphy, special to Vancouver Sun, 20-May-2017): http://vancouversun.com/opinion/op-ed/opinion-historic-chinatown-becoming-yaletown-north or https://elizabethmurphyblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/historic-chinatown-or-yaletown-north/
- Vancouver Sun: Daphne Bramham: Preserving Chinatown should be a local and national priority
- Metro Vancouver: Chinatown advocates hold festival against condo project as Vancouver East MP speaks out
- News1130: Controversial Chinatown condo development goes back before council Tuesday night
- Metro Vancouver: Chinatown residents rally to oppose condo beside memorial
- Georgia Straight: Vancouver city council to hold public hearing on contentious Chinatown condo project
- UrbanYVR: Chinatown community organizers vow to stop 105 Keefer Street condos
- Vancouver Courier: Only in Vancouver is $1,650 a month affordable rent
- Vancouver Sun: Opinion: How Vancouver city hall exacerbates the affordability crisis
- Georgia Straight: Controversial Chinatown condo project draws opposing views from two Vancouver civic advisory bodies
- News1130: Chinatown advocate says Vancouver could “lose its soul”
- Metro Vancouver: Even with changes, condo not welcome on important Chinatown site, says group
- CKNW: Locals oppose condo development in Chinatown
- Georgia Straight: Condo tower proposed on culturally sensitive site in Vancouver’s Chinatown