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

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:

https://eyeonnorquay.wordpress.com/2021/03/11/2075-kingsway/

 
Other reporting:

Joseph Jones. 2400 Motel and Jericho Hostel: a case of Vancouver ADD (Avoidance, Desperation, Disappearance). Vancouver Media Coop (18 Dec 2020)
https://vancouver.mediacoop.ca/story/2400-motel-and-jericho-hostel/37050

Kenneth Chan. City of Vancouver abandons idea to use 2400 Motel to
house the homeless. Daily Hive (29 March 2021)
https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/2400-motel-kingsway-vancouver-supportive-housing-homeless

Kenneth Chan. BC Housing acquiring Ramada Vancouver Downtown hotel
to house the homeless. Daily Hive (22 March 2021)
https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/ramada-limited-vancouver-downtown-hotel-435-west-pender-street-bc-housing
 
 

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

        http://www.metrovancouver.org/boards/GVRD/RD_2021-Mar-26_AGE.pdf

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
https://eyeonnorquay.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/landscape.pdf

 
4412 Nanaimo St – Prior-to Letter of 9 February 2017
Landscape Review conditions – sections 1.14-1.23 (p. 4-6)
https://eyeonnorquay.files.wordpress.com/2021/03/4412-nanaimo-st-prior-to-letter.pdf
 
 
 

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)
https://www.vancouverisawesome.com/vancouver-news/vancouver-to-receive-51-million-to-fight-homelessness-2827410

Kenneth Chan. Plans to use Jericho Hostel in West Point Grey as a homeless shelter now cancelled.
Daily Hive (24 Feb 2021)
https://dailyhive.com/vancouver/jericho-hostel-homeless-shelter-plans-cancelled

Mike Howell. Vancouver buys hotel to move in 65 people from shelters, SROs.
Vancouver Is Awesome (1 Mar 2021)
https://www.vancouverisawesome.com/vancouver-news/vancouver-buys-hotel-to-move-in-65-people-from-shelters-sros-3467889
 
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

11 March 2021 at 11:02 pm

Posted in Homeless, News

Threat to Filipino Community

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The Filipino community is organizing to call attention to the impending elimination of vital neighborhood cultural resources at 5163-5187 Joyce Street. The Westbank gentrification bomb at 5050 Joyce — reported on five years ago by Eye on Norquay — is threatening to overwhelm with ripple effects.

 

 

 
Meanwhile, the City of Vancouver puts up fancy web sites with talk talk talk about commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

 

 

Now is the time to tell both politicians and planners that prioritizing development dollars does not mesh well with vacuous aspirations. It is time for City of Vancouver to take specific measures to require new developments to recognize and to accommodate the cultural contexts that their concrete-and-glass silos land in the midst of. Towers are designed to exclude in so many dimensions. Countermeasures must be implemented.

Here is a gateway to the actions that the Filipino community would like for you to take in support:


https://slicedmangocollective.ca/sliceofsupport/

 

 

 

 
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

9 March 2021 at 11:11 am

Posted in Joyce Precinct, News

5163-5187 Joyce Street

with one comment


5163-5187 Joyce Street Rezoning Application

A message from Collingwood Neighbourhood House
and Renfrew-Collingwood Food Justice

[ Eye on Norquay is sharing this item as requested ]

 

 

Deadline for Questions and Comments is March 28

 
On Joyce Street, just beside St. Mary’s Parish, there are a number of restaurants and small food stores. You may have popped in one of the restaurants for a delicious Filipino or Chinese meal or picked up some food at one of the convenience shops. Now there’s a developer proposal to build a 32-storey condominium tower on the site.

The proposal includes the tower, with 293 condominiums, 228 car and 588 bicycle parking spaces, retail on the ground level, and a new library on the second floor.

What do you think of this proposal? Please share this message with your participants, your colleagues, volunteers, your neighbours, family members and collaborative partners to let the City know (up until March 28) what you think by visiting the Shape Your City page where you can make comments on the proposal and ask questions at

5163-5187 Joyce Street Rezoning Application | Shape Your City Vancouver:

This link to the rezoning application includes, on the right-hand side, under the map, a list of application documents with more information about the proposal.
 



 
What do you think about the possible loss of one Chinese and three Filipino restaurants, two small grocery stores (one sells Southeast Asian and many specialty Filipino foods) from our neighbourhood? For more information on protecting cultural food assets, please check out Renfrew-Collingwood Food Justice Team’s work.

What do you think about the addition of a 10,000-square-foot library to Joyce Street? (This came out of neighbourhood discussions when the City was creating the plan for the Joyce-Collingwood Station Precinct Plan)

What do you think about having a 32-storey condominium tower on Joyce Street?

What do you think about the amount of parking planned for the site?

Any other thoughts or suggestions?
 



 
 
Usually, the City of Vancouver would hold an in-person open house, but they’re requesting responses online, for safety reasons, during the pandemic.

For further information please contact the City of Vancouver Rezoning Planner Kent MacDougall, 604-829-9579 or kent.macdougall@vancouver.ca.

It is incredibly important for the City to hear from our neighbourhood. I hope you will make every effort to comment to the City and encourage others to comment. Please share this message broadly with your staff, colleagues and local networks. Remember, the deadline for your comments and questions is March 28.
 
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

6 March 2021 at 10:30 am