Unpublished letter to Province Editor

[CityHallWatch received this March 21 letter from a citizen to the editor of The Province newspaper the day after an open house the day before by a developer proposing a tower under the controversial Short Term Incentives for Rental Housing program. The paper did not publish the letter, so we share it with readers here as it seems to echo the sentiment we are hearing from many Mount Pleasant residents.]

To the Province Editor:

I found your coverage of the Mount Pleasant rezoning application workshop Sunday March 20 not a thorough picture of what transpired during the 5 hour session. Your interview with Rize VP Christopher Vollan was also telling on a number of fronts. Mr. Vollan stated that the Rize proposal did a “good job of maintaining the character of the neighbourhood” and this would be an “Iconic Landmark Building”. Neither statement could be farther from the truth unless of coarse your definition of Iconic is a giant stake through the heart of a vibrant and eclectic neighbourhood. This may be Rize’s “Vision” but it certainly wasn’t that of those who attended the meeting. I sat through the five hour session along with many other concerned area residents who all voiced their disagreement with the size of the proposed development as well as its lack of character and fit for the neighbourhood. It was stated many times Mount Pleasant is not Yaletown and does not want to become another Yaletown. The proposed 26 story glass and steel structure will stand, in what was referred to many times as the heart of Mount Pleasant, as a giant stake placed through the neighbourhoods heart changing it’s character and charm forever.

I also found it very interesting that Mr. Vollan stated “people are somewhat resistant to change” and “the forum was not about changing minds but getting feedback”.  From these points I can only conclude that 1) Rize has no intention of making changes to their plans, 2) they don’t care about the people’s feedback to their proposal and 3) this is already a done deal with city council’s backing and they are just going through the motions with these meetings to appear that they are listening but apparently not prepared to hear.

It’s time we had a true city plan for the whole of Vancouver rather the continuing spot planning initiatives that are opposed by local residents yet approved time and again by council with little or no attention to the long term consequences and impact on infrastructure and liveability. Isn’t it time to ask the citizens what kind of City we want?

Don Gardner, 21 March 2011

I found your coverage of the Mount Pleasant rezoning application workshop Sunday March 20 not a thorough picture of what transpired during the 5 hour session. Your interview with Rize VP Christopher Vollan was also telling on a number of fronts. Mr. Vollan stated that the Rize proposal did a “good job of maintaining the character of the neighbourhood” and this would be an “Iconic Landmark Building”. Neither statement could be farther from the truth unless of coarse your definition of Iconic is a giant stake through the heart of a vibrant and eclectic neighbourhood. This may be Rize’s “Vision” but it certainly wasn’t that of those who attended the meeting. I sat through the five hour session along with many other concerned area residents who all voiced their disagreement with the size of the proposed development as well as its lack of character and fit for the neighbourhood. It was stated many times Mount Pleasant is not Yaletown and does not want to become another Yaletown. The proposed 26 story glass and steel structure will stand, in what was referred to many times as the heart of Mount Pleasant, as a giant stake placed through the neighbourhoods heart changing it’s character and charm forever.

I also found it very interesting that Mr. Vollan stated “people are somewhat resistant to change” and “the forum was not about changing minds but getting feedback”.  From these points I can only conclude that 1) Rize has no intention of making changes to their plans, 2) they don’t care about the people’s feedback to their proposal and 3) this is already a done deal with city council’s backing and they are just going through the motions with these meetings to appear that they are listening but apparently not prepared to hear.

It’s time we had a true city plan for the whole of Vancouver rather the continuing spot planning initiatives that are opposed by local residents yet approved time and again by council with little or no attention to the long term consequences and impact on infrastructure and liveability. Isn’t it time to ask the citizens what kind of City we want?

Don Gardner

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