Eye on Norquay

Looking Out for East Vancouver

      Monitors what is happening in the Norquay area of East Vancouver
      Provides a forum for residents to communicate
      Documents how city officials implement CityPlan in Vancouver’s second “neighbourhood centre”

The interests of speculators, a developer-funded City Council, and compromised city planners may go against what renters and homeowners want to see happen in their neighborhood. Bad planning can contribute to damage of organic social fabric, loss of affordable rental housing, needless manufacture of unoccupied investment condos, skyrocketing property taxes, artificially accelerated rates of development, more people crowded into the same unimproved public space, aggravation of problems with parking and vehicle traffic, loss of views, poor quality in design, and severe shadow impacts. What is happening to Norquay calls for continuing independent community-based review. Please keep coming back to Eye on Norquay to stay up to date on news and to share your perspective.

→   See Resources in right sidebar learn more about Norquay and city planning in Vancouver

[ Eye on Norquay complements the coverage of 2007-2008 provided by predecessor Norquay Neighbours ]

Written by eyeonnorquay

14 February 2011 at 11:11 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Norquay Plan Public Benefits

with 2 comments


     from:  Jeanette Jones
       to:  Bligh, Rebecca; Boyle, Christine; Carr, Adriane;
            De Genova, Melissa; Dominato, Lisa; Fry, Pete;
            Hardwick, Colleen; Kirby-Yung, Sarah; Stewart, Kennedy;
            Swanson, Jean; Wiebe, Michael
     date:  Wednesday, June 16, 2021 4:12 PM
  subject:  Comment on 2725-2751 Kingsway
            (Agenda Item #4, Public Hearing of June 17, 2021)

To: Mayor and Council

Below is a copy of my submission to Council. I will be speaking at the Public Hearing on June 17.

Jeanette Jones



My name is Jeanette Jones and I live in the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre in East Vancouver.

In general, the proposal for this project meets the specifications of the Norquay Plan. The one exception is that the height of the lower podium along Kingsway has been increased from 4 to 5 storeys. I would prefer the 4-storey podium along Kingsway specified in the Norquay Plan, but I believe that the trade-off is acceptable – a slightly higher podium in exchange for less massive and bulky towers.

I appreciate the extra-wide 30-35 foot sidewalk along Kingsway and the open space at the corner in this new development. Most inner-row trees of earlier Kingsway developments have not survived. But staff has assured me that with the increased soil and water that will be available, the inner row of the double row of street trees along Kingsway in front of this project should thrive.

I would like to focus most of my comment on the proposed CACs. This development is to produce a cash CAC of $2.6 M, directed to support delivery of the Norquay Village Public Benefits Strategy. Appendix F of the Referral Report gives metrics for the delivery of those benefits so far. The 2010 Norquay Plan is approximately 1/3 of the way through its anticipated life. In that time, the Norquay population has grown by more than 1/3. Yet the City’s own metrics show that very little public benefit has been delivered. [See details above from Appendix F of the Referral Report.]

The most successful category has been Transportation and Public Realm improvements, at 40% of planned benefits completed or in progress. These are making a real difference. Some work is being done on parks and child care, but achievement in those categories stands at only 15%. The categories of Housing and Culture have delivered even less – 8% and 5% respectively.

What really leaps off the page are the large empty spaces opposite the categories of Civic/Community and Social Facilities – 0% achieved. This lack of progress does not mean that Norquay already has adequate community and social facilities. We have no library, no community centre, no neighbourhood house, no swimming pool nor ice rink. Our only community spaces are two elementary schools and three neighbourhood parks. This is why residents during the Norquay planning process identified new community space as our Number 1 priority for new amenity.

The Norquay Public Benefits Strategy calls for 15,000 sf of new indoor community space and 20,000 sf of new outdoor community space as a “key priority.” (p. 72) This space is to be delivered as part of the development of the largest site in Norquay, the 3.5 acres on Kingsway now occupied by the 2400 Motel. New development at this location is also specified to include 100 units of permanent social housing. Who owns this site? The City of Vancouver. Who should develop this site? The City of Vancouver. Yet this piece of land – identified in the Plan as the “heart” of the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre – remains unchanged as continuing new development makes the rest of Kingsway unrecognizable.

When the large site at 2220 Kingsway was rezoned in 2013 for Kensington Gardens, CACs worth $3 M were allocated for “future development of community facilities and/or affordable housing.” So far as we know, that money remains sequestered and its value is shrinking over time. Will that happen to the $2.6 M of CACs from this project? Norquay CACs should be helping to deliver the affordable housing that the City wants and the promised community space that our neighbourhood desperately needs. But that can only happen when the City of Vancouver respects its planning commitments and steps up to develop the large site it owns at 2400 Kingsway.

Written by eyeonnorquay

18 June 2021 at 11:20 am

2725-2751 Kingsway

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Letter To Norquay Residents –

After a long pause, an application is coming forward for a new major project on the Norquay section of Kingsway. The rezoning application for a new development at 2725-2751 Kingsway – the former site of the Harvey’s store at the corner of Earles Street – is scheduled to go to public hearing on Thursday 17 June 2021.



Details of the proposal can be seen on the City of Vancouver web site:


The proposal is for a building of 10, 5 and 4 storeys at the northwest corner of Kingsway at Earles Street. The project would contain 219 strata units and ground-floor commercial space.

Overall, the proposed height and density are consistent with the specifications of the Norquay Plan. The lower podium section along Kingsway has been increased to 5 storeys (the Norquay Plan calls for 4 storeys) to avoid making the towers even more bulky. This podium height matches those at Kensington Gardens (2220 Kingsway) and at The Windsor (2395 Kingsway, currently nearing completion), as well as that of the new single-lot building at 2547 Kingsway. While we would prefer a 4-storey podium along Kingsway, we believe that the trade-off – a slightly higher podium in exchange for less bulky towers – is acceptable. The 4-storey section facing Duke Street respects its RM-9A zoning.

We appreciate the width of the 30-35 foot sidewalk proposed along Kingsway for this new development. Open space near the corner is to feature a small public plaza. Staff has assured us that better planting methods should enable the inner row of street trees to survive. (Most of the trees in the inner row along Kingsway in front of both Skyway Towers / 2689 Kingsway and at Kensington Gardens / 2220 Kingsway are dead or dying.)

This is your chance to let Council hear your opinion about this proposed development. You can send your comments or register to speak by telephone to Council at the public hearing:


There will be one more opportunity to comment in writing on the design details of this application when the development permit is considered. We’ll let you know when that happens.

Thank you for continuing to be interested in what’s happening in our neighbourhood.

Jeanette and Joseph Jones

Written by eyeonnorquay

11 June 2021 at 11:38 am

Posted in 2725 Kingsway, News

2400 Motel Site

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Considered Unsuitable to House the Homeless

Last fall Council passed a motion “to pursue using the City-owned 2400 Motel and the Jericho Hostel for housing unhoused people as soon as possible.” (Minutes of Council Meeting of 8 October 2020, Item 2, Final Motion as Approved, p. 11)

Following is the full text of a statement that Eye on Norquay received from City of Vancouver staff:

As you are aware, last October Council directed City staff to explore the possibility of using the 2400 Motel to support the City’s emergency response to homelessness. In recent months, staff from the City and BC Housing have been discussing the possibility of using the 2400 Motel in this way but, after careful consideration, it has been determined the site is not appropriate to house people currently experiencing homelessness in Vancouver.

This decision was not taken lightly and was based on several factors. The physical layout of the 2400 Motel means that it is not a suitable site for supportive housing and to operate it successfully would be challenging. Given the physical space and how the buildings are spread out with multiple entrances for each unit, substantial staffing costs would be incurred to effectively manage the site and there are better, safer options that BC Housing is pursuing.

While we will not be using 2400 Motel as a space to house people experiencing homelessness at this time, BC Housing is confident it can support more people in other facilities that are better suited to priority populations, particularly people who are sleeping overnight in Strathcona Park.

The City remains committed to working with the Province to activate other locations across Vancouver that will provide warm, safe spaces for people who are experiencing homelessness, including two new shelters at 875 Terminal and 15-27 West Hastings, as well as creating new private, supportive units in properties such as 2075 Kingsway.

Please note, the 2400 Motel will continue to operate as a commercial hotel.

The Jericho Hostel has also been determined to be unsuitable for housing the homeless because of its isolated location and its inaccessibility to people with mobility issues.

Further information on 2075 Kingsway site of the former Days Inn:


Other reporting:

Joseph Jones. 2400 Motel and Jericho Hostel: a case of Vancouver ADD (Avoidance, Desperation, Disappearance). Vancouver Media Coop (18 Dec 2020)

Kenneth Chan. City of Vancouver abandons idea to use 2400 Motel to
house the homeless. Daily Hive (29 March 2021)

Kenneth Chan. BC Housing acquiring Ramada Vancouver Downtown hotel
to house the homeless. Daily Hive (22 March 2021)

Written by eyeonnorquay

5 April 2021 at 9:14 am

Perpetuating Inequity

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by Further Abusing the Poor Area of Vancouver

A consortium of consultants has produced a report for Metro Vancouver Regional District titled Social Equity & Regional Growth Study (25 January 2021). The bulk of the report can be found as pdf pages 182-284 of MVRD agenda for 26 March 2021 at


City Hall Watch recently called attention to an inequity map contained in this report.



The map aggregates 49 social equity indicators. The color scale runs from dark-blue rich to dark-red poor. Outlined in a green circle is a superimposed Norquay.

In 2010 the City of Vancouver overrode the community to mass-rezone 350 acres into “Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre.” Ten years later on, the City and its developers have extracted a great deal of wealth by deliberately accelerating new development in the heart of East Vancouver.

The resulting speculation and land assembly have displaced working-class and immigrant families while eliminating affordable rentals. The residents who have remained have been subjected to perpetual dirt, noise, heavy-equipment traffic, and downside impacts on street traffic and parking.

The City of Vancouver proposed a “public benefits strategy” to mitigate the concentration of new development into a particular small area. At this point, that professed “strategy” looks like little more than misdirection preparatory to hit-and-run profit-grabbing.

Absolutely nothing significant that was promised has been delivered. “Planning” work may (or may not … the ever-convenient covid excuse) begin under the current capital plan — to study possible delivery of what is by far the smallest of the specified amenities, an upgrade to Brock Park.

Hope for that one grudging token comes only after ten years of persistent campaigning to put the item onto the Park Board agenda. The City of Vancouver gives nothing back and looks for any excuse to duck out or cheap out. No sane neighborhood would ever want to be “developed” under these conditions. Meanwhile, a $3,000,000 cash CAC from 2220 Kingway has been sequestered into the black hole of City of Vancouver finances.

In the 2007-2010 heyday of Norquay planning, we asked then-director of planning Brent Toderian how and why “Norquay” became selected. His reply? “Oh, all sorts of neighborhoods were lining up to get this new planning.” Behind that blather, the real answer becomes ever more apparent.

The City of Vancouver went straight for the area that seemed poorest and most defenseless, the easiest target. Norquay got a quick stripmining. Then City and developers raced off hand-in-hand to pursue new exploitation opportunities in Downtown Eastside, Grandview-Woodland, Marpole, Mount Pleasant, West End.

We live in Inequi-City. The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.

Written by eyeonnorquay

28 March 2021 at 10:42 pm

4412 Nanaimo Street

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Stacked Townhouse Landscape Delivery Fail


     from:  Jeanette Jones
       to:  Bligh, Rebecca; Boyle, Christine; Carr, Adriane;
            De Genova, Melissa; Dominato, Lisa; Fry, Pete;
            Hardwick, Colleen; Kirby-Yung, Sarah; Stewart, Kennedy;
            Swanson, Jean; Wiebe, Michael
       cc:  Joseph Jones; Mario Smaldino; Katherine Isaac; Theresa O'Donnell
     date:  Mar 24, 2021, 9:18 PM
  subject:  Landscape delivery fail at 4412 Nanaimo Street stacked townhouse

To:  Mayor and Council

To: Mayor and Council
cc: Mario Smaldino, District Inspector, Building Inspections Branch
      Katherine Isaac, Manager of Landscape Review/Living Systems Policy
      Theresa O’Donnell, Acting General Manager of Planning, Urban Design, and Sustainability

Re:  Landscape delivery fail at 4412 Nanaimo Street stacked townhouse

This complaint is being made simultaneously through parallel channels – including report to 311 on 24 March 2021 and posting to Eye on Norquay as an open letter – because timeliness may prove essential in achieving a desirable outcome. On multiple occasions, our past experience has been this: too late, final inspection, fait accompli. And mistake noted (City of Vancouver plans and policies and specifications and conditions notwithstanding). This happens far too often.

The now almost completed stacked townhouse development at 4412 Nanaimo Street shows clear disregard of landscaping plan and conditions of approval. This is the worst example so far of how City of Vancouver is allowing developers to ignore specifications in a routine fashion.

Before final approval is granted to 4412 Nanaimo Street, this glaring landscaping deficiency must be remedied.

The two original houses on this corner of Nanaimo Street and East 28th Avenue were surrounded by mature landscaping.



More dense development results in less space for gardens. However, this project includes a larger amount of open space than is usually found in the RM-7 (rowhouse/stacked townhouse) zone. In addition to the standard 20 ft front setback from the property line, a 21 ft rear yard occupies the space between the back of the building and the open parking spaces. Along East 28th Avenue, a large boulevard allowance is continuous with the standard 4 ft side setback, creating an open space approximately 12 ft wide between the side of the building and the sidewalk.



Eight trees are specified in the approved landscape plan for this project – 4 in the front yard and 4 in the back yard. According to the final Prior-To letter of approval, 2 of these trees are to be cedar trees that would replace conifers removed to facilitate this development. None of the specified trees has been planted.

The front and the back yards contain stairs, walkways, and patios for the ground-floor units. The remainder of the front and back yards shows on the landscape plan as complex plantings with a variety of 12 different shrubs and ground covers, as well as the trees noted above. Instead, most of the area has been laid with grass sod. Four rhododendrons have been planted in the front yard. The back yard contains only a few rows of low plants – heather, juniper, rhododendrons and grasses. Strips of heather or box along the walkways completes the landscaping. Neither front nor back patios have plantings that serve as privacy screenings.



The space between the sidewalk and the curb on East 28th Avenue is too narrow to accommodate street trees, and none have been planted on the south side of the street in this block. But the Prior-To letter for this project calls for small trees to be planted in a tiered garden, to be constructed in the wide space between the sidewalk and the north side of the building. This garden has not been constructed and no trees have been planted in this space. Instead, this area has been laid with grass sod, with a single row of small shrubs beside the building and along the walkways.

Boulevards are shown on the landscape plan as ground cover plantings. Instead, grass sod has been laid.

No irrigation system has been installed.

In single family house, duplex, or rowhouse development, most open space is allotted to individual units. Residents can change their landscaping if they are unhappy with what the developer has planted. But in stacked townhouse developments, most ground-level open space is shared. Major changes to the landscaping are more difficult, and what the developer plants is likely to be permanent. What many developers plant is what is cheapest and easiest.

The City of Vancouver’s landscape specialists spend considerable time and effort to try to ensure that landscaping is well designed. Why are approved landscape plans not being respected?

Jeanette and Joseph Jones
City of Vancouver Reference Documents

Landscape Plan for 4412 Nanaimo Street

4412 Nanaimo St – Prior-to Letter of 9 February 2017
Landscape Review conditions – sections 1.14-1.23 (p. 4-6)

Written by eyeonnorquay

24 March 2021 at 10:32 pm

2075 Kingsway

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The City of Vancouver recently announced purchase of the Days Inn motel at 2075 Kingsway, just east of Victoria Drive and one block beyond Norquay’s western boundary. The building will be turned into 65 housing units for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.



The money to purchase the property comes from a new federal $51.5 Rapid Housing Initiative targeted to Vancouver (about 5% of the $1 billion total). Funded spaces must be in use before the end of 2021. This building will require some renovations, and is expected to open in November 2021. The location has good transit connections and good access to the programs and services that residents may need.

Defined as a supportive housing project, the site will be managed by an experienced operator. Trained support workers will partner with each resident to develop individual plans to meet their personal and housing goals. Tenants will have a tenancy agreement and pay rent.

The City will also be setting up a community advisory committee that will include project partners and neighbourhood representatives. The purpose of the committee is to build and maintain positive relationships with the community and project partners, to share information and encourage dialogue, and to identify and resolve any issues or opportunities related to the building.

Last fall the City of Vancouver announced that the 2400 Motel and the Jericho Beach Hostel, both City-owned properties, would be used to temporarily house the homeless. The Jericho Beach Hostel has since been declared unsuitable for this purpose because of transit location, lack of nearby services, and accessibity problems for people with mobility issues.

No final decision has been made on the 2400 Motel, located four blocks east of the Days Inn at the centre of Norquay. This property, owned by the City of Vancouver, operates as a motel. It was used as an emergency shelter to house Syrian refugees. Redevelopment of the site under the Norquay Plan is specified to include a combination of market and social housing, as well as community space for neighbourhood services.

Despite the City of Vancouver’s professed commitment to equity and diversity, Vancouver’s west side, especially west of Oak Street, continues to show great aptitude in motivating the City of Vancouver to house the homeless in some other neighbourhood.

Further Reading

Mike Howell. Vancouver to receive $51.5 million to fight homelessness.
Vancouver is Awesome (27 Oct 2020)

Kenneth Chan. Plans to use Jericho Hostel in West Point Grey as a homeless shelter now cancelled.
Daily Hive (24 Feb 2021)

Mike Howell. Vancouver buys hotel to move in 65 people from shelters, SROs.
Vancouver Is Awesome (1 Mar 2021)

Written by eyeonnorquay

11 March 2021 at 11:02 pm

Posted in Homeless, News