• 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.
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Resident Concerns Are Heard
On rare occasions in Vancouver, at a public hearing for a proposed new development, local area residents may discover that expressed concerns have been both heard and addressed. On 18 October 2016, the rezoning of 2395-2469 Kingsway met with such a happy outcome.
This site has been identified under the Norquay Plan as one of three locations along Kingsway — in very long blocks along the north side — where new development is supposed to provide pedestrian connection to the street that runs parallel. The rezoning application presented a 12-storey tower built on a two-part podium of 4 storeys, with a connecting bridge at an upper level.
In general, the form of development respected the Norquay Plan. But a letter to Council from residents detailed four concerns:
(1) That more brick be used on the exterior of the buildings.
(2) That the width of the pedestrian connection be increased from 20 feet to 40 feet.
(3) That conditions for landscaping and furniture and maintenance be explicitly specified.
(4) That the “bridge” overhanging the pedestrian connection be removed, with a second elevator provided for the smaller building.
Council members raised all of these concerns at the public hearing. Planning staff responded that the first three items had already been addressed or were in the process of being dealt with. And the applicant affirmed that the bridge would be removed and a second elevator installed in the smaller building.
This is an example of how the development and public hearing process is supposed to work.
The video recording of the public hearing can be seen at
Comment on 17 October 2016 Open House for 2153-2199 Kingsway
On the whole, the development proposed for 2153-2199 Kingsway, as presented at the open house on 17 October 2016, will enhance the local area and provide needed rental accomodation.
The corner at Kingsway and Gladstone is a place-making opportunity, and much of the potential has been realized. I favor the alignment of roofline with the side of the building. The orientation of the building toward the path of the sun means that shadow impact will be minimized in any case. Enhanced sidewalk width along Kingsway toward Gladstone is appreciated.
The orientation of the main residential street entrance toward Gladstone Street is a good choice. That feature will encourage passing social acquaintance of renters with other local area residents.
The location of underground parking entrance toward the western end of the building on the lane side is appropriate. That will somewhat mitigate traffic concerns by distributing activity toward both ends of the lane. At present, pedestrians and cyclists suffer considerable hazard from the blinded lane entry onto Gladstone.
The placement of an underground parking exhaust vent on Gladstone, right beside the residential entrance, is the single greatest failure of the proposal. That vent should be relocated to the lane side, perhaps at the intersection of the T lane running northward, to mitigate impact on sites north of the lane. Efficiency of exhaust suggests that a more midpoint location in the length of the building would better serve the physics of venting than would the far end of 231 feet. The mechanics of providing underground parking spaces must take second place to this concern.
Other public realm concerns toward the Gladstone end of the building include: assurance that Bus Stop and Litter Bin are retained on Kingsway; complete redevelopment of the Gladstone sidewalk to eliminate present extensive curb cuts; specification that all Gladstone curbside is designated for short-period loading/unloading only with absolutely no parking; no parking signage is needed for the 24 foot segment of east-side curb opposite the recently installed corner bulge at Gladstone and Kingsway; relocation of the large black electrical box recently dumped onto the corner.
Everything possible should be done to improve articulation along the 231 feet of the Kingway side of the building. There has been improvement from the pre-application open house. More seems achievable. A 231 foot long battleship should not eradicate a streetscape that presently offers the organic variety of five different faces sited on seven parcels. In the block to the east, the relatively recent C-2 development is only at four storeys and extends only for about 175 feet without interruption.
That 2339 Kingsway development has managed to achieve small-retail without consolidating those spaces or presenting a massive dead face to the street, as Royal Bank notoriously has done at 2300 Kingsway. To quote open house panel 1: this development is supposed to “contribute to an inviting and revitalized pedestrian realm on Kingsway through new retail storefronts.” There seems little excuse for this new development to fall short of achieving that goal.
For the most part, the proposed detailing seems acceptable. The extent of brick and its two colors are welcome. I question the orange that is proposed on two grounds. First is the current prevalence of that color, which promises to make it look dated very soon. Think avocado appliances. The second is how close the orange comes to the intrusive local corporate color of VanCity Credit Union. A shift toward reds would solve these problems and play better with the greens to come at 2220 Kingsway. The variegation of the shades among the panels is a good approach.
Joseph Jones • 19 October 2016
Comment on Rezoning Application at Public Hearing of 18 October 2016
In general, we support this application. We believe that it is consistent with the policy set out in the Norquay Plan for the Kingsway Rezoning Area. We strongly support these added conditions:
• Condition (b)1 (Urban Design) requiring design development to widen the proposed mid-block pedestrian mews and to include integrated permanent seating.
• Condition (b)4 (Urban Design) requiring design development to use more brick masonry.
We encourage staff to continue to address potential road congestion around the site.
We have the following concerns:
1. Public Benefits. The target CAC for the Kingsway Rezoning Area is currently set at $11.08 per sq.ft. of additional density, by far the lowest rate in the five areas of the City of Vancouver that have target CACs. According to the Norquay Public Benefits Strategy, 50% of CACs generated in Norquay are to be allocated to affordable housing. That has been done in this case.
The other two categories that are eligible to receive CAC funding are “Childcare” and “Other Community Facilities.” For this application, staff has allocated the remaining 50% of CACs to a combined category labeled “Childcare and Other Community Facilities.” These are two separate categories in the Public Benefits Policy, and they should receive separate allocations. To date, none of the CACs generated by the three applications in the Kingsway Rezoning Area has been specifically allocated to “Other Community Facilities.” (See CAC Allocations Under the Norquay Plan below.)
The “Other Community Facility” designated by the Norquay Plan is the 15,000 sq.ft. of new community indoor space and the 20,000 sq.ft. of community outdoor space that will be included in the redevelopment of the 2400 Motel site. The City of Vancouver is the owner of this property. We call on the City to move forward as quickly as possible to develop the 2400 Motel site so that Norquay can begin to enjoy the community facility that residents have rated as their most desired amenity.
2. Landscaping. Failure to maintain landscaping is presenting one of the greatest problems in the implementation of the Norquay Plan. Conditions need to be included for this application to specify that:
(a) An irrigation system for the landscaping will be provided.
(b) The development is responsible for maintenance of the landscaping, including the mid-block pedestrian mews and the part of the Kingsway sidewalk on private land.
3. Building Design. We object to the use of a “bridge” to connect the two buildings. The bridge impinges on the pedestrian mews and looms over and shadows what is supposed to be public open space. This concern should outweigh the desire of the applicant to avoid the expense of providing a second elevator for the development.
Jeanette and Joseph Jones
15 October 2016
CAC Allocations under the Norquay Plan 2300 Kingsway * 0 Affordable Housing $2.4 M Childcare 0 Other Community Facilities 0 Other 0 Unallocated 2689 Kingsway 0 Affordable Housing $105,846 Childcare 0 Other Community Facilities 0 Other 0 Unallocated 2220 Kingsway 0 Affordable Housing 0 Childcare $1,011,720 Other Community Facilities ** 0 Other $3 M Unallocated 2395 Kingsway $439,765 Affordable Housing $439,765 Childcare *** 0 Other Community Facilities 0 Other 0 Unallocated * This development was approved as a site specific rezoning in 2006. Construction was completed after the adoption of the Norquay Plan in 2010. It is included here because it is contemporaneous with the Norquay Plan, and because it is a large development generating a significant amount of CACs. ** This amount was allocated to Transportation Infrastructure and to an on-site pocket park. (These categories do not relate to the Public Benefits Strategy.) *** For both Childcare and Other Community Facilities.
The following letter about the possible closure of Gladstone Secondary was sent to the Vancouver School Board on 19 September 2016. For things you can do see the appended letter sent out by MLA Adrian Dix.
To: Mike Lombardi (VSB Chair)
Joy Alexander, Patti Bacchus, Fraser Ballantyne, Janet Fraser, Penny Noble, Christopher Richardson, Stacy Robertson, Allan Wong, Timme Zhao (VSB Trustees)
As residents of the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre, we are concerned about the impact that the closure of Gladstone Secondary School would have on Norquay. An extensive recent City of Vancouver planning process has defined this area as an integrated new community.
The basic vision for the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre is for a complete community: a place where people have housing choices that meet their needs, where there are local shops and services that provide the goods of daily life, where there are public spaces and places for people to meet and engage in community life, and where people can move easily and without a car to access places to work, play, and shop. (Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan, Section 2.2, p. 14. Approved by Council November 2010.)
Norquay has not traditionally included the concentration of amenities and services that many neighbourhood shopping areas can boast. We have no library, no community centre or neighbourhood house, no swimming pool or ice rink.
But Gladstone Secondary School is located only 1 block north of the Norquay boundary. Most of Norquay lies within the Gladstone catchment area, where 71% of Gladstone students live.
The school acts as an important cohesive force in the Norquay community in several ways.
1. Teens connect with other teens in their neighbourhood when they attend school classes and extra-curricular activities.
2. Most Norquay students in the Gladstone catchment area live close enough to walk to school. They become more familiar with their neighbourhood en route.
3. Families of students connect with other families in their neighbourhood through their involvement in school activities.
4. Community space is available for meetings and other activities. Together with Norquay’s elementary schools (Norquay and Cunningham), Gladstone provides the only community space in the neighbourhood.
The Norquay Plan strongly encourages new housing types for families. Five thousand new residents are expected to move into the neighbourhood during its 30-year lifespan, a population increase of 50%. By rough estimate, more than 2000 of these expected new residents will be living in Norquay by 2020.
If Gladstone is closed, most Norquay secondary students will live in the extreme southwest corner of the new Windermere catchment area, too far away to walk to school. The Renfrew Ravine and the SkyTrain are barriers that limit access routes to Windermere from Norquay, and make the school feel even farther away than it appears to be on a map. Windermere can never be an effective focal point for Norquay.
We believe that Norquay needs the presence of Gladstone Secondary School to function as a “complete community.” We ask that you remove Gladstone from the list of schools to be considered for closure.
Jeanette and Joseph Jones
Letter from Vancouver-Kingsway MLA Adrian Dix
19 September 2016
Dear Gladstone, Bruce and Carleton Supporter,
This is a crucial week for the future of Gladstone Secondary, Graham Bruce Elementary and Carleton Elementary. Next Monday September 26th at 7pm, the Vancouver Board of Education will be voting on whether to move our schools and others on the list onto the next stage of the school closure process. It is our first chance to remove Gladstone, Bruce and Carleton from the list and it is very important that we have a huge turnout.
What can you do?
1. Attend the VSB meeting on Sept 26th! Bring signs and make your voices heard. Location: Charles Tupper Secondary (419 East 24th Ave), starting at 7 pm.
2. Write a letter to trustees (by email). Their emails can be found here. There are many arguments that can be made for all the schools, please read the following three op-eds for more information on Gladstone, Bruce and Carleton.)
3. Sign the Petition. Close to 13,000 people have signed so far!
4. Take a lawn sign.
In response to the VSB’s staff report, we will be working with parents and students to write a detailed report and release it to the trustees and public by Thurs, Sept 22. Our report will address detailed issues of enrolment (current and future), catchments, development, programs, the vulnerability of school populations, traffic, child care and importance of these schools in the community. We will also be working to meet with trustees face-to-face to make our case.
Here is the schedule of other action items this week:
Tuesday September 20th, 2016 afternoon at Vancouver City Hall: The City Council will be voting on a motion opposing school closures.
Tuesday September 20th, 7 pm: A major rezoning and increase in density as part of the Joyce-Collingwood Precinct Plan will be voted on by Vancouver City Council. This has significant implications for the Graham Bruce, Grenfell and Carleton catchments.
Wednesday September 21st, Gladstone students/parents organizing meeting at Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House, at 3:30pm. It’s immediately followed by a student-only “presentation skills” session led by Mimi Nguyen of Cedar Cottage.
Thursday September 22nd, Door-to-door petition and letter-writing drive to Save Gladstone. Starting at 4 pm from Nanaimo Skytrain Station.
Thursday/Friday September 22nd-23rd – Presentation of detailed responses, petition and letters to Trustees.
Sunday September 25th – Petition drive and preparation for meeting on Monday September 26th. Location to be determined.
Monday September 26th – VSB School Closure Meeting, Charles Tupper Secondary, 7 pm (419 East 24th Ave).
There are also many other petitioning and organizing meetings all week. Please stay tuned. And we need all of you at Charles Tupper on Monday!
Adrian Dix, MLA Vancouver-Kingsway
5022 Joyce St, Vancouver, BC V5R 4G6 | Phone: 604-660-0314 | Fax: 604-660-1131
Comment on Development Application DE420250
under RM-9A Zoning
16 September 2016
In general, we support this application. We appreciate especially the extent of brick on the exterior of the building, and the variety of layouts for the suites.
Our concerns are:
1. Trees should be planted along the flanking lane to shade the south side of the building. This is being done for the building across the street at 4888 Slocan Street.
2. An irrigation system is necessary for the landscaping.
3. More amenity space needs to be provided for a building of this size. The plans show no indoor amenity space, and only a small outdoor amenity space on the rooftop.
Jeanette Jones and Joseph Jones
Upon reading the following brief account of the ghost word dord, it immediately struck me that we in Vancouver have the misfortune to live in the City of Dord. As a particular delight, the story includes the fear-inducing word planned. Further expatiation will follow presentation of this bright nugget, latched onto only as a discerning crow might treasure a piece of tinfoil.
The most famous ghost of the twentieth century appeared in Webster's Second New International, published in 1934. Webster's included many abbreviations in its wordlist, and the compilers planned to include the abbreviation for density, usually D, though sometimes a lowercase d is used. In July 1931, one lexicographer — Austin M. Patterson, special editor for chemistry — typed a 3 × 5 card explaining the abbreviation: he headed it "D or d" and provided the explanation "density." But when it came time to transcribe the card, someone misread it and ran theletters together without spaces, producing "Dord, density." It took five years for aMerriam editor to notice the strange entry, supported by neither etymology nor pronunciation. After investigating — no one could find any evidence for a word dord — he realized it was a mistake. He made an annotation: "plate change / imperative / urgent," and the printer removed dord from the next reprint, filling the otherwise empty line by adding a few letters to the entry for doré furnace. Pages 152-153 from "Of Ghosts and Mountweazels," Chapter 10½ in: Jack Lynch. You Could Look It Up: The Reference Shelf from Ancient Babylon to Wikipedia. New York : Bloomsbury Press, c2016
The suggestivity of this passage could prove as boundless as the heights to which a Babylonic tower might aspire.
To start with, notice the astounding textual homology: a foolish mistake ran the letters together without spaces. Think of thin streets. Think of plazas plundered, both before (Westbank at 2220 Kingsway) and after (Cadillac Fairview at Pacific Centre) those plazas ever see the light of day.
Next, appreciate how the dictionary publisher could fix the density mistake after a mere five years with a plate change. The beset residents of Vancouver promise to become far more beset when a tectonic plate change restructures the City of Dord.
Finally, revel in thinking about the conjunction of “ghost” with “density.” The incongruity of the two notions emblematizes the future that Bob Rennie has infamously promised to Vancouver. An overall proportion of ever more dwellings for ever fewer residents, as global wealth runs amok. From another angle, ponder how the wraithlike nonsubstance of ghosts has no truck with concentration of matter.
Here is a conundrum for the apostles of density:
How many ghosts can float around in one microsuite in the City of Dord?
Comment on Rezoning Application for
3868-3898 Rupert Street & 3304-3308 East 22nd Avenue
1. The FSR of this building is too high. In a neighbourhood of mostly single family houses, an FSR of
2.0-2.5 would be more appropriate.
2. The height and massing of the proposed building needs to be reduced. Aside from the school across the street, which is set well back from East 22nd Avenue, most residential and commercial development is one or two storeys.
The Rupert Street frontage of the site includes a full city block between East 22nd and East 23rd Avenues, a total of 270 feet. The building takes up 258 feet of this frontage. The development should be broken into two buildings, varied in size and height (i.e. 6 storeys and 4 storeys , along this frontage. There should be a courtyard at least 25 feet wide between the buildings to add some ground level open green space. These changes would make the development fit better with the neighbouring single family houses. A 2-building typology would also increase the number of corner units with more than one exposure, giving them more natural light and ventilation.
3. There should be more family-sized 3-bedroom units. The location is ideal for family housing. It is across the street from Renfrew Elementary School and a couple of blocks from Windermere High School. Renfrew Community Centre, Renfrew Park and Renfrew Library are all within easy walking distance. There will be a grocery store and other shops and services in the development. Yet the proposal is for 70 one-bedroom units and only 4 three- bedroom units. There should be at least 10 3-bedroom units in addition to the currently proposed 30 two-bedroom units.
4. The location of the lobby and elevators needs to be changed. The currently proposed location means that residents in the northeast corner of the building need to walk almost a city block to reach their units from the elevator. Ideally, there should be an entrance at both the north and the south ends of the development, with an elevator at each location. This is an additional reason to build two buildings. If this is not done and only a single entrance is built, the lobby and elevators should be located on Rupert Street near the centre of the building.
9 July 2016 / rev 2 August 2016