“False Diagrams” you say? (City Conversation #53: Are our images wrong just because there are no others? You be the judge.) by Brian Palmquist

(City Conversation #53 was first published 17-May-2022)
(For a list of City Conversations by Brian Palmquist on CityHallWatch, please visit this page.)


May 15, 2022—This morning during a CBC radio interview, the Mayor referred to the work of myself and Stephen Bohus, BLA, as “false diagrams.”I have a few thoughts about false narratives. 

This is one of the “false diagrams” the Mayor refers to—but the city has none other so media use ours

When the Broadway Plan’s (the Plan) last-but-one draft was issued in March, it was the first substantive document capable of professional review. Until then, the reality of what the Plan meant was couched in survey language—the kind of online, directed “research” whose purpose was to support the Plan’s top down messaging that pretends to be a plan for all Vancouverites.

The March “draft” consisted of 54 “boards” that purported to explain the Plan. I was surprised that a plan of this complexity could be presented in such a concise fashion, dived in anyway. It quickly became apparent that the Plan could actually have been explained in far fewer boards but would benefit from many more diagrams—or perhaps just a single 3D model. Stephen Bohus had previously submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request for access to the city’s 3D model base, but this had been denied, so we determined we would have to build our own model. 

We developed a two-part approach to understanding the Plan. I would use Google Earth to identify how many towers of what height the plan would permit, and approximately where. That was the easier job, involving (the hard part) reading all the 50+ new zoning areas (compared to 24 existing zoning schedules, all now to be abandoned) and identifying how many towers of what height could go in each zoning area. This allowed me to electronically paste rectangles measuring 24-meters square onto those locations where the Plan indicated a tower might go. Each square had a number in its centre, representing the number of storeys the Plan advised might go there. I told you it was simple!

Airphoto (draped over 3D terrain) view of the Kitsilano portion of the Plan, showing contemplated tower locations and heights in storeys

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Opinion: The Need to Revisit the Proposed Broadway Plan (J Habart/energy efficiency expert & P Morris/sustainability expert): ‘There is not an urgent need to approve this plan’

Vancouver City Council for 2018 to 2022

CityHallWatch has obtained this opinion piece relating to the Council meeting May 18 where City Council is expected to make a decision on the proposed Broadway Plan. The authors are Jack Habart, BA, MBA (retired after 30 years of experience with energy efficiency programs) and Paul Morris, PhD (former Research Leader for Durability and Sustainability for FP Innovations)


The Need to Revisit the Proposed Broadway Plan

The current Broadway Plan runs contrary to the science around housing supply and demand, transit planning, affordability, environmental impact and livability. The plan would put 25% of the City’s projected growth into less than 7% of its area in the communities of Kitsilano, Fairview and Mount Pleasant.

The Plan is proposing an increased density of 50,000 people in a 500 block area over the next 30 years. The City envisions high-rises the length of Broadway, with towers up to 40 storeys around subway stations and up to 30 storeys between stations. In surrounding residential areas there would be gradual erosion of existing older 3 to 4 storey wood-frame affordable housing apartments to be replaced with 15 – 20 storey towers. The result will be the displacement of renters from their current affordable homes and that will have a devastating impact.

There has been some public dialogue about this plan but the City has not been transparent with many of the relevant issues that affect both residents and neighbourhoods.

For starters, how much housing do we really need? Over the past 20 years, Vancouver’s population has grown at a rate of 1%, or about 7,000 per year. Based on the average household size of 2.2 people, this means about 100,000 new homes over 30 years. Unfortunately, the City does not publish how many developments have already been proposed. However, local architect Brian Palmquists’ review of data on various City websites shows almost 130,000 units in the pipeline, without any additional housing proposed in the Broadway Plan.

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What the Broadway Plan means for Vancouver’s history (City Conversation #52: The Broadway Plan will eliminate 45 years of citizen planning work) by Brian Palmquist

(City Conversation #50 was first published 16-May-2022)
(For a list of City Conversations by Brian Palmquist on CityHallWatch, please visit this page.)


May 14, 2022—I almost missed the alert in CityHallWatch (CHW). I’ve been working to a professional deadline, barely had time to do more than lightly monitor the slow moving disaster that is the Broadway Plan and its potential approval at Vancouver City Council next Wednesday [May 18]. Thank you, CHW, for bringing to my attention city staff’s intention to wipe out 45 years of Vancouver planning history. I hope this is not a requiem for the best of our city—my five minutes of remarks to Council may change before the event on Wednesday [May 18].

These are the eight neighbourhood guidelines and policies that the Broadway Plan repeals—45 years of history declared redundant

In one sense, it was inevitable that the ascendancy of the Broadway Plan would require some tidy up. I understand that, but am gob smacked by what that tidy up really means— the desecration, the disrespect, the destruction of 45 years of Vancouver’s planning history—eight separate major plans and policy documents covering Kitsilano, Central Broadway, the Arbutus neighbourhood, Burrard slopes and Mount Pleasant. We should pause to think if we are truly ready for that. Staff say yes, let’s repeal the lot. I ask for clemency.

The innocuous staff recommendation that will erase 45 years of Vancouver’s history

Full disclosure—I had little to do with the creation of the eight key planning documents that are now set to be erased from our history. My excuses are the usual—too busy raising a family, establishing an architecture and planning career. My community involvement was pretty much limited to coaching my daughter and son in baseball and soccer—community involvement lite.

But I and thousands of other citizens could do community involvement lite because we knew there were more connected, more committed and compassionate folks who were doing the heavy lifting for us—they are the folks who attended thousands of meetings and work sessions, were thoughtful about their neighbourhoods and the wider city context, made the compromises that resulted in the eight or more significant plans, policy plans and guidelines that benefited all of us for decades yet will be cast aside for the Broadway Plan.

What have we lost and what have we gained?

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If approved, the Broadway Plan kills the Mount Pleasant Community Plan, plus other plans/policies for Fairview and Kitsilano (May 18 Council agenda)

The Broadway Plan, if adopted by Council, would revoke a host of community planning documents and policies. This would include revoking the Mount Pleasant Community Plan Implementation Plan that was passed by Council on October 23, 2013. The Broadway Plan goes to Council on May 18th, 2022 (speakers had until 8:30 am on Wednesday to sign up). Update: The Meeting will reconvene on May 25, 2022 at 3pm with speaker #67 out of 202 speakers. There’s still an option send correspondence to Council for consideration.

Staff recommendation G in the Staff Report to Council states the following:

G. THAT, subject to Council approval of the Broadway Plan, Council repeal the Kitsilano Neighbourhood Plan (1977); Fairview Slopes Policy Plan (1977); Central Area Plan: Goals and Land Use Policy C-3A – Central Broadway (1991); Arbutus Neighbourhood Policy Plan (1992); Broadway-Arbutus Policies (2004); Burrard Slopes I-C Districts Interim Rezoning Policies and Guidelines (2007); Mount Pleasant Community Plan (2010); Mount Pleasant Community Plan Implementation Plan (2013);

This final version of the Broadway Plan (released online only a few days ago) is the first mention of the staff’s intent to repeal of all of these plans. The crucial point was omitted from the Broadway Plan consultations. We are not aware of any public discussions or analysis of the intricacies/implications of revocation of all these plans.

In the next ninety hours or so before the Council meeting, anyone in these neighbourhoods concerned may wish to review the documents, see what’s involved, and communicate with council on the matter. Also, download and save a copy before it gets deleted from the City website. It would be a lot of work to look at what’s replacing the content of the revoked plans.

Just taking one example among all of these, the Mount Pleasant Community Plan (MPCP) was promised to be a 30-year plan and it was co-created with a team of dedicated volunteers who formed the Community Liaison Group (CLG). The Mount Pleasant Implementation Committee (MPIC) worked with city planners; after much work, the resulting MPCP Implementation Plan was approved at Council on October 23, 2013. Planner Matt Shillito, who is part of the Broadway Plan process, was involved with the MPIC over the years. Mr. Shillito is listed as the contact person on the Mount Pleasant Community Plan Implementation report to Council (October 16, 2013). Clearly, planning staff who are on the Broadway Plan team know the history of currently-active community plans. Certainly Mr. Shillito remembers the promises that he and his team made to volunteers and to the community at large (about the 30-year time frame for the plan, about certainty in planning and so on). Why would planners break their word?

There once was a time in Vancouver’s history where planning was done with the community. In contrast, the Broadway Plan is a top-down process driven by planning staff and it seeks to nullify all of the hard work put in by the community. We’re now told that the Broadway Plan is a 30-year plan. For this Broadway Plan, there was no community liaison group, and there wasn’t even an external consultant involved to check the work done by staff. In contrast, there was an external consultant for the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan (2016), which is perhaps the last plan that had direct community input (via a Citizens’ Assembly).

The current Council should get clearly it in writing in Council decisions, on record, that the full documents (not just summaries) of any previous plans, policies, zoning schedules, etc. that are ever revoked and/or replaced must be permanently and easily accessible and findable on the City of Vancouver website. If you are writing to Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Council, you may also consider requesting that the full plans proposed for repeal be immediately made accessible from the agenda web page as well as the report that Council is considering. They should be accessible to the public now and permanently.

We see a consistent pattern at City Hall of staff attempting to erase whatever institutional memory exists. The public, and our elected officials, should not permit that to happen. In addition, specifically for the current issue, the Broadway Plan documents should provide active links to the full documentation of the policies and plans. staff are recommending be revoked.

Mount Pleasant Community Plan Implementation meeting, November 18, 2012 (additional photos of the volunteer committee that was active in 2012 and 2013 are in the slideshow at the beginning of this post)


MPIC Staff report by Matt Shillito, October 16, 2013: https://council.vancouver.ca/20131023/documents/cfsc7report.pdf (see Appendix A, page 16 for community feedback)

Broadway Plan Council Committee Meeting May 18th: https://council.vancouver.ca/20220518/pspc20220518ag.htm



Kitsilano Neighbourhood Plan (1977); https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/kitsilano-neighbourhood-plan.pdf

Fairview Slopes Policy Plan (1977); https://guidelines.vancouver.ca/guidelines-fm-1-fairview-slopes.pdf

Central Area Plan: Goals and Land Use Policy C-3A – Central Broadway (1991); https://guidelines.vancouver.ca/C011.pdf

Arbutus Neighbourhood Policy Plan (1992); https://guidelines.vancouver.ca/policy-plan-arbutus-neighbourhood.pdf

Broadway-Arbutus Policies (2004); https://guidelines.vancouver.ca/policy-rezoning-broadway-arbutus.pdf

Burrard Slopes I-C Districts Interim Rezoning Policies and Guidelines (2007); https://guidelines.vancouver.ca/policy-rezoning-burrard-slopes-ic.pdf

Mount Pleasant Community Plan (2010); https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/MP-community-plan.pdf

Mount Pleasant Community Plan Implementation Plan (2013) https://vancouver.ca/files/cov/mount-pleasant-community-plan-implementation-package.pdf

Video compilation of ‘Stop the Broadway Plan’ rally at City Hall (May 7) and a call to action (documentary maker Elvira Lount)

Above: A scene from the May 7 rally demanding more respect from City Hall for neighbourhoods and opposing the Broadway Plan (imminent Council decision May 18) and other major plans in progress.

Below we are sharing an e-mail and links from local documentary maker Elvira Lount, of Utopia Pictures.


For those of you who missed the Stop the Broadway Plan May 7 Rally here is my video. For those who were there, it’s worth watching again, plus I’ve added a few touches!

Please share far and wide, and either sign up to speak at the City Council meeting on May 18, 2022, or send a comment via the City website by the end of May 17. You can do both here.

You can also email Council CLRbligh@vancouver.caCLRboyle@vancouver.caCLRcarr@vancouver.caCLRdegenova@vancouver.caCLRdominato@vancouver.caCLRfry@vancouver.caCLRhardwick@vancouver.caCLRkirby-yung@vancouver.caCLRswanson@vancouver.caCLRwiebe@vancouver.cakennedy.stewart@vancouver.ca

My photos from the Rally are here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/105758274@N02/albums/72177720298751456

The focus of the Broadway Plan on towers and demovicting low income residents in low rise apartments in Mount Pleasant, Fairview and East Kitsilano, will have a massive impact on the liveability, sustainability and affordability of these neighbourhoods in the Broadway Corridor. Furthermore, there are no new schools, community centres and very little new park space in the plan. This is a VERY important issue to turn your attention to. The Broadway Plan envisions turning the Broadway Corridor into a 2nd downtown.

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Opinion: The Future of Our Vancouver. Let’s Use Change to *Nurture* Neighbourhoods (regarding upcoming Broadway Plan, Vancouver Plan, Jericho Lands, etc.)

Above: A rendering of the “massing” being proposed at the Jericho Lands development.

(Below is an opinion piece submitted to CityHallWatch.)

The Future of Our Vancouver. Let’s Use Change to Nurture Neighbourhoods
by John Geddes

I care deeply about our city. I believe we can do better than the current Vancouver Plan, the Broadway Plan, and the Jericho Development Proposal by predicating the evolution of our city with a focus on people and their connections to one another.

Let’s build people-centred housing rather than replicating Metrotown. The distinctive character of our neighbourhoods is an asset too valuable to throw away.

This is my response to the recent opinion piece by Brent Toderian (Vancouver Sun): “New Broadway plan badly needed to tackle climate and housing crises”.

I agree with Mr. Toderian that we must do things differently. I also agree that a good plan must “skate to where the puck is going to be“ instead (in his words) of being excessively fixated on the interests, controversies and fears of today.

But it is clear that he and I have very different view of “where the puck is going to be”.

In his world and world of planners like himself, especially those in Vancouver, he believes that this must be determined by:
– the climate crisis,
– the housing/affordability crisis,
– the infrastructure and service cost crisis (aka the urban financial crisis),
– the social equity/racism/classism crisis,
– and the public health crisis.   . . . all nice buzz-words*.

(* “Buzz-words – often an item of jargon, that is fashionable at a particular time or in a particular context”. I am not saying that these issues are not important; rather that they are being used with loaded assumptions in the context planning here in Vancouver.)

In my world, we need to be focused on building neighbourhoods. The weakening of community is tearing at our social fabric, and on many fronts, threatens to get worse. Our planning should be moving toward supporting neighbourhoods and building community. Toderian can claim expertise in urban planning but I don’t believe I need a degree in planning to see that Metrotown-like forests of towers are not the way to nurture neighbourhoods. Let’s compare the Arbutus Walk neighbourhood with Coal Harbour. Which has the greater feeling of community?

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Mature rental buildings versus the Broadway Plan. 324 West 10th Avenue sold for $16 million in March 2022. Are demovictions to follow if Council approves the Plan May 18?

Above: 324 West 10th Avenue (Villa Florencia) sold for $16.23 million on March 24, 2022.

How could mature rental apartment buildings be impacted by the proposed Broadway Plan? Tens of thousands of renters currently live in such buildings, at relatively affordable rents. They have established communities and relations with their neighbours. Here we’ll look at example where “the rubber hits the road” with the Broadway Plan covering nearly 500 city blocks from Clark to Vine and 1st to 16th Avenues, the final draft of which was just released on May 10th.

In this case study, we’ll examine a mature rental building at 324 West 10th Avenue. This site could potentially be redeveloped into a 20-storey tower with a Floor Space Ratio of 6.5, if the Broadway Plan were to be adopted by Vancouver City Council at a standing committee meeting on May 18th, 2022.

According to the Goodman Report, the 35-unit, 3-storey rental building at 324 West 10th Avenue sold for $16,230,000 on March 24, 2022. Goodman’s summary page lists the “development potential” to be “15-25 storeys based on Broadway Corridor Plan” on a lot measuring 150′ x 125′ (18,750 square feet). The site currently includes 30 parking stalls. There are 32 one-bedroom units with an average size of 600 square feet and an average rent of $1,397. There are 3 two-bedroom units with an average size of 750 square feet with an average rent of $1,875. The assessment for this property in 2021 was $10,660,000; thus, the sale represents a whopping 52% increase. In 2021, the land was valued at $7,476,000 while the building was worth $3,186,000. The detailed summary from the Goodman Report can be found here.

The final draft Broadway Plan provides the following description for the Mount Pleasant South Apartment Area zone that includes 324 West 10th Avenue:

One of the scenarios shown in the table is a rental tower with height of 20-storeys and a Floor Space Ratio of 6.5 FSR if 20% of the residential floor area is secured at “below market rents” — albeit by the City’s definition. A minimum frontage of 45.7m (150 ft) would be required, so this site fits the bill. This frontage requirement essentially marks large mature rental lots as easy sites for redevelopment.

What might a tower look like here? The storeys are un-dimensioned and no maximum height has yet been listed in the Broadway Plan by the City planners. For the sake of this analysis, we’ll assume a floor-to-floor height of 2.75m (9.02 ft) from the second floor up. For the tower size, we’ll assume a 24.0 m (78.74 ft) square floorplate (at 576 sq m or 6,200 sq ft it’s, a size just below the typical floorplate for a Vancouver highrise). This form for a 20-storey tower on the site would easily fit under a FSR of 6.5 (for the 18,750 SF site and still leave some area left over for a podium or another small building; note that FSR calculations contain exclusions). The site is currently zoned as RM-4. We’ve included a number of renderings of a tower on the site in the slideshow below.

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A few of the renderings in the slideshow show the current height view cone 3.1 from Queen Elizabeth Park; the Broadway Plan looks to weaken view cone protections and it seeks to move the QE view cone over Central Broadway higher up. At the current level, a 20-storey tower at this location would pierce this view cone. In addition to the mature rental units, this part of Mount Pleasant also has a number of high value heritage properties, both with protected sites and unprotected sites (an obvious concern as the Broadway Plan would create an incentive for lot assembly).

Here are a few open questions that we encourage the public to ask our elected officials to consider and take responsibility for in their votes to support or non support the Broadway Plan: How many rental properties have similarly changed hands recently? How many more mature rentals will be sold off if the Broadway Plan does come to pass? While Mayor Stewart has promised the “strongest renter protections in Canada” (Vancouver Sun, Dan  Fumano), what has the City’s track record been so far in actually protecting renters? Would the Broadway Plan actually open up the floodgates for waves of demovictions and redevelopment? We know that one prominent real estate firm already is billing itself as the go-to-place, the experts, on real estate potential in the Broadway Plan area. Stay tuned.

324 West 10th Avenue (Villa Florencia) is located in the Broadway Plan ‘Policy Area: Mt. Pleasant South Apartment Areas [MSAA]’

The Mt. Pleasant South Apartment Area could also include other sites with rentals. This is a rendering of 10th Avenue looking west with 100 block in the foreground (part of the ‘heritage row’) and includes two additional hypothetical towers. The 324 W10th Avenue site is to the left in the background.

A few maps of the Mount Pleasant Apartment Zones are reproduced below: Continue reading

Feint by Numbers — 5, not 20 (City Conversation #51: Simple math + urban design support a 5 storey Broadway Plan) by Brian Palmquist

(City Conversation #50 was first published 9-May-2022)
(For a list of City Conversations by Brian Palmquist on CityHallWatch, please visit this page.)


May 9, 2022—My remarks and those of others at Saturday’s City Hall rally elicited the usual responses—the 20-storey towers are incorrect! Build lots of high-rise and our problems will be over! We can’t all move to the suburbs.

This caused me to do a “back of the napkin” urban design comparison between high-rise and low-mid-rise options for the Broadway Plan. The results may surprise.

The possible build out of the Broadway Plan contemplated by its own words. What happens if we consider only low and mid-rise?—image by Stephen Bohus, BLA

“Dad, your speech at City Hall caused some pretty strong reaction!” offered my son, who was there among the 350 or so who gathered in opposition to the Broadway Plan (the Plan). Six of us spoke about our different visions and experiences in reaction to the Plan. He continued, “I see on Twitter and Facebook you’ve been pretty much demonized by those who favour a high-rise solution to our future. What have you got in response?”

I smiled. “I’ve just been working on an alternative. But before the big reveal, let’s remember, our horrific model is just what the BP says: more than 300 towers across 485 blocks of the city, room for 140,000 new residents, mostly living in high-rises, not the 50,000 folks the planners see in their “vision.” We weren’t exaggerating in our model—we simply said here’s what you get if you read your plan and build it.” He nodded his understanding of my basic concern, that the Plan plays fast and loose with a huge swath of the city, ignoring neighbourhoods, destroying views, neglecting the amenities that make up a community.

“The feedback around high-rise was so venomous by its supporters that I asked myself the question, what can we do if we just go lower? The results surprised even me,” I continued with a smile. He gave me his keep going look, so I did.

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Broadway Plan public engagement process looks fraudulent, based on FOI results on 1477 West Broadway (city staff secretly decided tower heights and densities long ago)

Above: Recent scene of construction site at 1477 West Broadway. It was originally rezoned for five stories. Construction began, albeit inexplicably with a foundation for a much taller building. Discarded architect drawings were for a tall tower were discovered in a dumpster. Lo and behold, on April 26, 2022 Council approved 39 storeys.

This is all very timely, as the overarching Broadway Plan for dramatic changes to nearly 500 city blocks from Vine to Clark and 1st to 16th Avenues and affordable housing for tens of thousands of current renters, goes to Vancouver City Council on May 18, 2022.

Concerned citizens sent the following e-mail to Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Council on May 9. It details what appears to be a track record of unacceptable and inappropriate behavior by Vancouver’s planning department. It even seems to have elements of fraudulence on the City side, at least when it comes to public engagement, and maybe even in material presented to elected officials over the years. This particular case traces back ten years and up to today, relating to a rezoning just approved for a 39-storey tower, on April 26, 2022. CityHallWatch obtained a copy of written correspondence to Council and provide it here for our readers. As of May 15, Mayor Stewart had not responded or even acknowledged receipt of the correspondence (only one Councillor — Clr Colleen Hardwick did).

Here are some key observations regarding revelations from the Freedom of Information inquiry results:

  • In PCI’s first application in 2012, the City’s planning department staff told the developer to seek 300 feet height at this site, which was far above the zoned height at the time, and far more than PCI initially sought.
  • Staff knew that PCI wanted 400 feet in at least Dec 2018…and probably earlier, based on wording used in the rezoning enquiry, and MIRHPP applications reviewed by citizen researchers.
  • Based on the graphics and renderings, the developer appeared to have insight concerning the height of other buildings on the same block. Between this and staff’s advice to go to 300 feet in 2012, it appears that staff had made decisions on height before any public engagement had even begun.

For CityHallWatch, the material discovered by this inquiry is serious. It appears that staff in the planning department concealed crucial information from our elected officials and the public in this specific case of 1477 West Broadway, and it appears they were in collusion with a private firm over a long period of time. Is such behaviour systemic and entrenched in the department? We sincerely hope not. Was this an isolated case? We hope so (despite evidence from other cases to the contrary). We hope that, led by Mayor Stewart, City Council will investigate the behavior of the planning department in this case, and beyond, and if it is found to be systemic, to take actions to rectify the situation. Ultimately, staff are accountable to our elected officials, and our elected officials are accountable to the public. We wonder not only about the ethics of the behaviour in the planning department, but also about the legality.


Sent: Monday, May 9, 2022 1:38 PM
To: Mayor Kennedy Stewart, and Councillors Rebecca Bligh, Christine Boyle, Adriane Carr, Melissa De Genova, Lisa Dominato, Pete Fry, Colleen Hardwick, Sarah Kirby-Yung, Jean Swanson, Michael Wiebe

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Hundreds rallied on May 7 to speak out against Broadway Plan and demand more respect from City Hall for people, local businesses and neighbourhoods

Above: About 350 people showed up for the rally at City Hall on Saturday, May 7, 2022, to express many concerns and hear from others.

(Update – here is a link to a video compilation of the event plus related links by documentary maker Elvira Lount – https://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2022/05/12/video-stop-broadway-plan-rally-elvira-lount/)

By Carol Volkart

Vancouver residents and their neighbourhoods will pay the price of densification plans that will spread towers through much of the city, a lively, sign-wielding crowd that filled the north plaza of City Hall was told Saturday, May 7, 2022.

While the rally focused mainly on the Broadway Plan, which goes to City Council on May 18, the even more comprehensive Vancouver Plan will follow shortly afterwards. A proposed large scale development on the Jericho Lands was also on the minds of estimated 350 people at the rally of every age, from toddlers to seniors.

Above: 3D massing model of a buildout scenario of high-rises as described under the Broadway Plan may look east from Vine Street (foreground) in Kitsilano to Fairview then Mount Pleasant in the horizon.  S. Bohus, BLA

Above: Vancouver Plan proposes high-rises in every neighbourhood in all shades of purple. Low to mid-rise and multiplexes pretty well everywhere else that’s coloured

Key to the controversial plans is the large number of high-rises, some as tall as 40 storeys, they will introduce to various areas of the city. Along Broadway, they’ll create “concrete canyons” and lead to the demolition of affordable housing, emcee Bill Tieleman told the rally. “We are at a literal crossroads,” he said, noting that other great cities of the world like Paris don’t have 40-storey towers at every metro station. New people can be added with livable low-rise housing that has the approval of neighbourhoods and neighbourhoods, he said. He questioned how democratically the City arrived at the current version of the Broadway Plan, and urged audience members to write and speak out to City Council against it. 

Above: Bill Tieleman, Emcee of the rally and spokesperson for the Jericho Coalition. Photo: John Denniston.

Critics say high-rises are more expensive to build, environmentally detrimental, alienating to civic life, and encourage the destruction of existing affordable housing. They say population growth can be accommodated instead by widespread construction of low- and mid-rise buildings.

Above: Rally scenes

Signs displayed by the rally participants reflected the concerns about high-rises. “No towers at Jericho,” “No to Megatowers at Safeway,” “Stop Mega tower sprawl,” “No Concrete High-rises,” “Yes to Low Density, No to Towers,” and “Towers destroy Park Land,” were among the most frequent placards.

High-rises are worse for the environment and cost more to build than low- and mid-rise buildings, architect Brian Palmquist told the crowd (text of speech here). Noting that more than 300 such buildings are contemplated in the Broadway Plan, he said they “will condemn generations of Vancouverites to a non-sustainable, expensive and unaffordable future.”

Above: Brian Palmquist, architect and civic commentator. Photo: John Denniston.

The livability of the densification plans also came under fire. Palmquist noted that the Broadway Plan contemplates almost 300 new residents in each of the plan’s 485 blocks, but zero additional school space and community facility space, almost zero additional park space, and “probably zero” additional policing, ambulance and medical services.

“Those who cannot find a school place for their child, those who must take a bus to find a park space for children to play in, those unable to swim at Kits Pool or the Aquatic Centre, will understand what zero additional capacity means for up to 140,000 future neighbours,” Palmquist said.

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