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 ]

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Written by eyeonnorquay

14 February 2011 at 11:11 am

Posted in Uncategorized

4410 Kaslo St TMH

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Comment on Development Application DP-2018-00024
4410 Kaslo Street – Temporary Modular Housing

 
http://development.vancouver.ca/4410kaslo/index.htm

 

 

 
13 February 2017

 
In general, we support the design of this project. We commend the larger units, the outdoor amenity space, and the commercial kitchen and common dining area. We also commend the small lounge area on the ground floor.

We recommend the following changes to the design:

1.  Reverse the positions of the entrance/vestibule/lobby area and the office/meeting room area on the ground floor near the front entrance. As drawn, the sight line from the front entrance is toward staff space rather than toward common space for the residents. As configured at present, residents would feel that they are being housed in an institution rather than in a home of their own. The placement of the front entrance (with the attached vestibule and lobby) should be shifted so that the sight line when entering the building is toward the common dining area and lounge.

2.  Separate the two dining areas by a half wall rather than a full wall to make the dining area seem like a single space and to allow more natural light. (This may already be the intention.) In addition we call attention to this discrepancy: the larger dining area is described as seating 36, but the drawing shows seating for only 32.

3.  Provide a small lounge area and laundry on each floor. A single ground-floor lounge that seats 8 people seems inadequate for a building with 52 residents. Although convenient to the dining area, that one common area is located far from the rooms of many residents. A small lounge on each floor would provide additional space and would foster social interaction. If a single unit on each of the second and third floors were converted to space for a small lounge and a laundry facility, the total unit count would return to the originally proposed 50 units.

 
Jeanette and Joseph Jones
 
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

15 February 2018 at 10:31 am

Station Area Planning History

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A History of Planning in the Nanaimo / 29th Avenue Station Areas

February 2018

 
In November 2017, Vancouver City Council approved Housing Vancouver Strategy (2018-2027) and 3-Year Action Plan (2018-2020). (Find multiple links to report, appendixes, staff presentation, video clip at http://council.vancouver.ca/20171128/regu20171128ag.htm )

According to this document, a major planning program for the Nanaimo and 29th Avenue station areas will begin in 2018. Land around these stations will be rezoned “to create more affordable housing and deliver large increases in rental, social, and ground-oriented market housing.” (p. 10) Appendix B page 7 lists as “Key Strategy 1-B” to “launch” these new station area plans immediately after Council approval of the policy document.

Eye on Norquay sees a need to provide background context for this imminent planning program. Past planning processes for the Nanaimo / 29th Station Areas are described below.


1.  Nanaimo / 29th Avenue Station Areas Plan (1987)

Summary document only online at:
http://guidelines.vancouver.ca/N003.pdf

 
In 1981 the Government of British Columbia announced the selection of the Advanced Light Rapid Transit (ALRT) system for Greater Vancouver. Soon after, the City of Vancouver began to plan for the lands immediately around the four SkyTrain stations proposed for East Vancouver: Broadway, Nanaimo, 29th Avenue, and Joyce. Separate plans were developed for the Broadway and Joyce Station Areas.

A single plan was proposed for the Nanaimo and 29th Avenue Station Areas. No reason is apparent in available city documents for the combining of planning for these two stations into a single program. The life expectancy of a plan is often set at 25—30 years. The provisions of this plan are no longer referenced in City of Vancouver planning documents.

Plan Summary

Properties between Victoria Drive and Rupert Street, and between Kingsway and roughly East 22nd Avenue, are included in this plan. The northern boundary zigzags because the ALRT line runs parallel to Kingsway, which cuts across the street grid.

 

 

Most of the Plan consists of a detailed analysis of 21 potential development sites. The sites were selected because they met at least one of these criteria:

         Vacant city-owned sites
         Sites severely impacted by ALRT
         Sites soned for uses other than residential
         Sites either under-utilized or containing derelict properties

Redevelopment opportunities were to be limited to these 21 sites. (See Appendix A for details of implementation.)

The 21 selected sites are identified by the letters on the map below. Sites that were City-owned in 1987 are Sites A, C (partial), D, E, G (partial), J, K, L, and N (partial), In cases where the City owns only a part of the identified site, no redevelopment is specified to occur until adjoining private land has been purchased and incorporated into the site.

 

 

The Plan recommends multi-family townhouses (described as “medium density”) as the form of development most viable and appropriate for the majority of the identified sites. Unit density is set at 25-40 units per acre and maximum FSR is set at 1.0. The proposed developments are to act as a noise and visual buffer between the SkyTrain alignment and the existing single-family residences to the north and south.

Commercial redevelopment is to be small-scale and serve local needs only. It is not to negatively impact Kingsway, which is to remain the primary commercial area.

Considerable analysis of ALRT impacts is included in the Plan. Unresolved impacts identified in 1987 are primarily related to noise, privacy loss and visual intrusion.

The amenity most desired by the community in 1987 was an indoor swimming pool. However, Council rejected this request on the advice of the Park Board. Staff believed that residents already had sufficient access to swimming pools in nearby neighbourhoods.

In 1987 Vancouver had no shortage of sites for development. The population was expected to grow slowly and the economy was recovering from a recession. Redevelopment of the Nanaimo / 29th Avenue Station Areas was expected to be gradual and low key.


2.  Renfrew-Collingwood Community Vision (2004)

http://former.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/cityplan/Visions/rc/vision.htm

 
CityPlan (1995) was the City’s policy framework to direct future Vancouver city planning, especially in residential neighbourhoods that had not previously experienced detailed planning initiatives. Nine neighbourhoods, including Renfrew-Collingwood, went through extensive visioning processes that were directed by City staff but included substantial community input.

The resulting Renfrew-Collingwood Community Vision looked at locations for future low-rise housing forms (primarily townhouses and 4-storey apartment buldings). The relevant direction for the Nanaimo and 29th Avenue Station Areas reads:

        New housing types should be permitted in existing residential areas around the Nanaimo and
        29th Avenue SkyTrain stations, subject to detailed planning and impact mitigation. (p. 42)

This direction received more than 50% agreement in a community survey, but fell short of the support it needed to be classified as “approved.” It was classified as “uncertain,” which means that it will “remain on the table for future community discussion in subsequent planning processes.” (p. 6)


3.  The Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Draft Plan (2007) [rejected]

http://former.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/neighcentres/norquay/pdf/newsletter3english.pdf

 
The Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre planning process began in 2006. The area to be included was originally defined as the area near Kingsway between Nanaimo Street and Earles Street. Boundaries were extended during the planning process to include most of those areas that had been identified as “development opportunities” in the earlier Nanaimo and 29th Avenue Station Areas Plan (1987) as well as additional lands further from the SkyTrain alignment. Residents rejected the draft plan (map shown below) via a community survey in 2007. (That was the last formal community survey that City of Vancouver ever undertook.)

 

 


4.  The Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan (2010)

http://council.vancouver.ca/20101104/documents/penv2.pdf

 
A second phase of Norquay planning 2008-2009 failed to produce a plan. When a third planning phase was launched in November 2009, the areas near the SkyTrain alignment were removed from consideration. The map below shows the final boundaries of the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre as well as the areas near the SkyTrain that were excluded from the planning process at that time.

 

 

The two station areas were designated for a future station area planning process. The relevant board from a community open house on 30 January 2010 is reproduced below.

 

 

Slocan Park is located in the area that was removed from the planning process, but the park serves a large area of Norquay. A direction was included in the Plan to incorporate additional land into the park to provide an enhanced street presence. (p. 71)


5.  Norquay Village Public Benefits Strategy (2013) and
Norquay Village Public Realm Plan (April 2016)

http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/norquay-village-public-benefits-strategy.pdf
and
http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/norquay-village-public-realm-plan.pdf

 
These later documents reiterate the need to upgrade Slocan Park. The park is included in the listing of Norquay’s parks to be renewed “over time and as the surrounding population and park usage increase.” (Norquay Village Public Realm Plan, p. 8)


Appendix A: Redevelopment under the 1987 Nanaimo and 29th Station Areas Plan

 
The twenty-one sites identified in the 1987 Plan as potential sites for redevelopment were subsequently rezoned to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development).

Many of the sites identified as suitable for multi-family residential development have not yet been redeveloped as planned. No redevelopment has occurred on adjoining Sites B and C, a fairly large area that includes the Copley Community Orchard. A few parcels have been redeveloped with single-family houses within Sites F, N, and O. Within sites M, R and S, small-scale redevelopment has taken place in the form of duplexes or triplexes on a few individual lots.

In October 2015 a policy document titled “Parking Amendments to Various DC-1 By-laws for Sites Adjacent to SkyTrain was approved by City Council. This policy reduced parking requirements on identified sites that had not yet been completely redeveloped (i.e. sites B, C, F, G, M, N, O, Q and S). The reason given for reducing the parking requirement from 1-2 per unit to 0.65 per unit is the proximity of the sites to SkyTrain stations. City staff argued that excessive parking requirements were hindering redevelopment of these sites.

Sites that have been completely or partially redeveloped as multi-family housing include:

Site G:  The Nanaimo SkyTrain Station and bus loop covers the northern corner of this site. The Westridge (4170/4180 Nanaimo Street), a complex of two 4-storey affordable rental apartment buildings, has been built along the Nanaimo frontage. The 10 parcels with single-family houses along E. 26th Avenue have not been yet been incorporated into the site. The City-owned land east of the apartment building, where a steel foundry was located in the past, is likely contaminated and remains vacant.

Site H:  Chelsea Green (4120 Kamloops), a 29-unit “family townhouse” development with rents set at 30% of income, was built on this site in 1989.

Site N:  Until now the City-owned part of this site east of Kaslo Street has been in use as a community garden. A development application is in process to build a 52-unit Temporary Modular Housing development at this location. The community garden will be moved to Slocan Park.

Site P:  Heritage Gate (2960 East 29th Avenue), a 56-unit strata described on management’s web site as a “townhouse style apartment complex,” was built on this site in 1990.

Site Q:  A 3-unit traditional rowhouse development is currently under construction at 4521 Earles Street.

In advance of expected station area planning, two sites have been assembled recently:

Site F:  Has been assembled and sold.

Site O:  Has been partially assembled, but to our knowledge no land has yet been sold.

A few small sites have been developed for uses other than housing, as recommended by the Plan.

Site E:  Three of the four lots on the northwest corner of Brant Street and E. 25th Avenue have been incorporated into the Learning Tree Daycare Centre. One lot was considered surplus to their needs and has presumably been sold.

Site J:  This small site functions as a pocket park.

Sites K and L:  These sites are now a part of the B.C. Parkway system, to be maintained by the B.C. Parkway Society. Site K on the south side of the alignment is named the Penticton Children’s Park. However, all of the play equipment originally installed in the park has been removed and not replaced.

Sites A and D  were reserved by the Plan for future development opportunities. Site D is currently being used as a community garden.

Some redevelopment has taken place on unidentified sites adjacent to the SkyTrain alignment. These include:

The Beacon (4320 Slocan Street):  A 4-storey, 41 unit affordable rental building with ground-level retail was completed in 2017 under the Rental 100 policy.

Earles Court (4590 Earles Street):  A former B.C. Electric Substation was converted into 12 apartment condo units in 1990.

3560-3570 Hull Street & 2070-2090 East 20th Avenue:  A rezoning application is currently in process to rezone this site to CD-1 to permit a 3.5 storey development of 41 townhouses, a 28-unit apartment building, and a heritage house under the Affordable Housing Choices Interim Rezoning Policy.
 
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

10 February 2018 at 11:27 pm

Notorious Quotations

 
… from the Vision Vancouver Era (2008-2018)

 
In the interests of historical presentation and preservation, Eye on Norquay steps out of scope
to host this information resource. Suggestions of other period quotations are welcomed.

 


         Date:  8 December 2008
       Person:  Gregor Robertson
    Quotation:  I decided to run for the office of mayor to end street homelessness
                in Vancouver. [See also: "End street homelessness by 2015" —
                caption in Vision Vancouver written platform]
      Setting:  Inaugural address
        Topic:  Homelessness in Vancouver
       Source:  Allen Garr. Street homeless numbers decline. Vancouver Courier
                (27 May 2011) 8
        Added:  January 2018


         Date:  10 December 2008
       Person:  Gregor Robertson
    Quotation:  We have a great opportunity right now with the big shift in the
                political winds to do things differently at City Hall
      Setting:  Vancouver neighborhoods event at Heritage Hall
        Topic:  New era
       Source:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdpOAPgGHmQ
        Added:  January 2018


         Date:  16 January 2009
       Person:  Raymond Louie
    Quotation:  The only thing you can attach myself to is the ultimate vote
                because I voted against the completion guarantee. I was against
                the completion guarantee, remembering that even if you move a
                motion, you can vote against the motion.
      Setting:  Newspaper interview
        Topic:  Secret completion guarantee for Fortress loan to Olympic
                Village developer Millennium
       Source:  Jeff Lee. Louie on the loan. Vancouver Sun (16 Jan 2009) A1
        Added:  January 2018


         Date:  16 June 2009
       Person:  Geoff Meggs
    Quotation:  The consultation was the election and this is the delivery
      Setting:  City Council
        Topic:  Establishment of Short Term Incentives for Rental program
       Source:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKP-WbTMEac
                Joseph Jones. The ugly story of Short Term Incentives for Rental.
                Vancouver Media Co-op (26 Aug 2010)
        Added:  January 2018


         Date:  31 October 2009
       Person:  Andrea Reimer
    Quotation:  Thinking about introducing a motion requiring police to pick up
                Minister Coleman next time he's in Vancouver and drop him off
                at Jenny Craig
      Setting:  Personal tweet
        Topic:  Rich Coleman's Assistance to Shelter Act
       Source:  CBC British Columbia
        Added:  January 2018


         Date:  25 January 2010
       Person:  Bob Rennie
    Quotation:  Nobody wants to admit it, but Vancouver has become a resort
                city where rich foreigners live a few months per year …
                It's a $6-billion ad buy. There's never been anything like it.
                It will change Vancouver, forever.
      Setting:  Newspaper interview
        Topic:  2010 Winter Olympics
       Source:  Miro Cernetig. The views from on high are nice, but not
                many can afford them. Vancouver Sun (25 Jan 2010) A1
        Added:  January 2018


         Date:  20 May 2010
       Person:  Bob Rennie
    Quotation:  And then there is also mainland China the wealth of this
                demographic is unprecedented and I do not think that any of
                us really understand it
      Setting:  Annual speech to Urban Development Institute
        Topic:  Vancouver real estate
       Source:  Speaking notes
                http://forms.rennie.com/articles/2010_UDI_SPEECH.pdf
        Added:  January 2018


         Date:  8 July 2010
       Person:  Gregor Robertson
    Quotation:  Who are all these fuckin' … who are these hacks man?
                Are they, they NPA hacks?
      Setting:  City Council
        Topic:  Formation of Mayor's West End Advisory Committee
       Source:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IDcmUQa0WM
        Added:  January 2018


         Date:  8 July 2010
       Person:  Heather Deal
    Quotation:  Democracy cubed
      Setting:  City Council
        Topic:  Formation of Mayor's West End Advisory Committee
       Source:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IDcmUQa0WM
        Added:  January 2018


         Date:  13 September 2010
       Person:  Gregor Robertson
    Quotation:  You can be critical of lots of regimes around the world and
                you can question how worthwhile democracy is in a lot of countries
                right now … That's where you see the Chinese government
                taking radical, dramatic action in investing in turning the ship
                around and you don't see that in Western governments right now,
                democratically elected, because they're afraid.
      Setting:  Interview from Shanghai, broadcast on CBC Monday [13 Sept 2010]
        Topic:  Effective government in China
       Source:  Frances Bula. For Vancouver mayor, China makes a green leap forward.
                Globe and Mail (14 Sept 2010) S1
        Added:  January 2018


         Date:  25 May 2011
       Person:  Bob Rennie
    Quotation:  You're not curing anything, except you are being racist. /
                Yet we're all paying attention to these girls, they're holding up
                banners, and wanting affordability to be a party game.
      Setting:  Interview
        Topic:  Restricting large external capital influx into #vanre /
                The #donthave1million hashtag campaign for affordable housing
       Source:  Ian Young. Is Vancouver's condo king calling the shots on the city's
                affordability strategy? Really? The Hongcouver
                South China Morning Post (28 May 2015)
        Added:  January 2018


         Date:  15 June 2011
       Person:  Heather Deal
    Quotation:  Contingency plans upon contingency plans upon contingency plans
      Setting:  Radio interview
        Topic:  City of Vancouver preparedness for Stanley Cup playoff
       Source:  Jessica Werb. Hours before the Vancouver riot, councillor Heather Deal
                was touting city's preparedness Georgia Straight (17 June 2011)
        Added:  January 2018


         Date:  16 June 2011
       Person:  Jim Chu (Chief Constable)
    Quotation:  But even with those assets in place, our city was still
                vulnerable to a number of young men and women disguised
                as Canuck fans who were actually criminals and anarchists.
      Setting:  Media statement
        Topic:  Stanley Cup playoff hockey riot
       Source:  Written statement from Vancouver Police Department
        Added:  January 2018


         Date:  22 June 2013
       Person:  Heather Deal
    Quotation:  The carnage after a wonderful dinner hosted by the
                City of Halifax
      Setting:  Personal tweet
        Topic:  Photo of lobster feast aftermath
       Source:  Peter O'Neil. B.C. civic leaders can't compete with Quebec's
                when it comes to their bad-boy political image.
                Vancouver Sun (22 June 2013) A6
        Added:  January 2018


         Date:  19 August 2013
       Person:  Kerry Jang
    Quotation:  Well, you know, affordable housing is something that
                somebody can afford
      Setting:  Radio interview
        Topic:  Housing affordability
       Source:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSVymChuoVw
        Added:  January 2018


         Date:  21 August 2013
       Person:  Daniel Fontaine (Chief of Staff for Mayor Sam Sullivan)
    Quotation:  The reality is that if you remove from the political picture the
                civic party that created EcoDensity and the one that is currently
                putting that program on steroids, voters have few political options
                to halt the current pace of development.
      Setting:  Opinion column
        Topic:  EcoDensity
       Source:  Daniel Fontaine. EcoDensity on steroids triggers neighborhood
                opposition. 24 Hours Vancouver (21 Aug 2013)
        Added:  January 2018


         Date:  10 November 2014
       Person:  Scot Hein
    Quotation:  We absolutely did not support towers outside the focused "Safeway
                Precinct". We were instructed to put this plan (in our view based
                on thoughtful urban design best practice) in the drawer never to
                see the light of day. We were then "told" by senior management to
                prepare a maximum tower scheme which we produced under protest as
                we declared we did not support such an uninformed approach for the
                GW neighbourhood. Our next plan yielded 20 towers which was advanced
                to the decision makers (I cannot confirm who saw this plan).
      Setting:  Comment on blog entry
        Topic:  Tower planning for Broadway & Commercial site
       Source:  Vision: The end of the residential highrise?
        Added:  February 2018


         Date:  12 November 2014
       Person:  Gregor Robertson
    Quotation:  I want to start with a message to voters directly and that's that I
                have heard you. While we have done a lot of good things very well in
                the past six years, there's also some things we haven't done
                particularly well. And for those, in particular, when I haven't met
                your expectations, I am sorry. And I know that if I'm re-elected again
                … that I can do better.
      Setting:  CBC debate
        Topic:  Three days ahead of 2014 Vancouver municipal election
       Source:  Mike Howell. Robertson pleads with COPE voters. Vancouver Courier 
                (14 Nov 2014) A4
        Added:  January 2018


         Date:  2 November 2015
       Person:  1: Gregor Robertson 
       Person:  2: Bob Ransford
    Quotation:  1: This can't be about race, it can't be about dividing people
    Quotation:  2: The danger is intolerance, racism, singling out certain groups
                    of people — saying that they are to blame for this
      Setting:  News report
        Topic:  Andy Yan research on foreign ownership and house prices
       Source:  Vancouver foreign ownership research prompts cries of racism in hot
                housing market CBC News (2 Nov 2015)
        Added:  February 2018


         Date:  2 August 2016
       Person:  Gregor Robertson
    Quotation:  We commit to 100% welfare/pension rate community-controlled
                social housing at 58 W Hastings, working with the community
                to develop a rezoning application to proceed to Council
                by the end of June 2017
      Setting:  After Carnegie Centre meeting
        Topic:  58 West Hastings development site
       Source:  Stefania Seccia. Homelessness: a state of emergency.
                Megaphone Magazine (17 Apr 2017)
        Added:  January 2018


         Date:  28 November 2017
       Person:  Gregor Robertson
    Quotation:  But it's hit us like a ton of bricks
      Setting:  Newspaper interview
        Topic:  Impact of offshore money in local real estate
       Source:  Dan Fumano. Global money hit Vancouver real estate 'like a ton
                of bricks,' Robertson says. Vancouver Sun (28 Nov 2017)
        Added:  January 2018


         Date:  28 January 2018
       Person:  Raymond Louie
    Quotation:  That's what we've always said. Vision is the party that had
                stretched across party lines and that's the reason it was
                formed to begin with.
      Setting:  Newspaper interview
        Topic:  Vision Vancouver electoral strategy for 2018
       Source:  Dan Fumano. With big changes coming to city hall, candidates
                talk collaboration. Vancouver Sun (28 Jan 2018)
        Added:  January 2018


 
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

26 January 2018 at 12:00 am

2711 Ward Street

leave a comment »

 

Comment on Development Application DP-2017-01152
under RM-7 Zoning

 
http://development.vancouver.ca/pc2711ward/index.htm
 

 

 

15 January 2018
 

 
Form of Development

1.  The use of different materials on the outside of the building to differentiate the units within is interesting.

2.  The proposed two-bedrooms are appropriate for units of this size. Trying to squeeze three bedrooms into units of less than 1100 sq. ft. usually results in some bedrooms that are far too small.

3.  This is the first application in the RM-7 zone to propose a flat roof on a project located mid-block on a residential street. Norquay contains very few flat-roofed single family houses. Duplexes in Norquay are required to have sloped roofs. The 16-unit RM-7 project under construction at 2719 Ward Street also features sloped roofs.

Because this proposal for Norquay’s first large roof deck is adjacent to a 16-unit stacked townhouse project, we are not objecting to the roof style in this case. But in general, flat-roofed RM-7 projects should continue to be located either on arterial streets or very close (across the street or adjacent) to the 4-storey apartment RM-9 zone. This has been the practice since the RM-7 zoning regulations were approved in 2013. The result is that new projects in the RM-7 zone fit in better with existing neighbourhood context and character than they would if flat roofs were to be approved indiscriminately.

 
Landscaping

We approve of the use of ornamental plantings and ground covers rather than small areas of grass, which are difficult to maintain. We make the following minor suggestions:

1.  The side yard on the west side of the building is marked as an inaccessible area of gravel. At least limited access will be necessary if that side of the structure work requires work in the future.

2.  English ivy is proposed between a part of the 4-ft. wide east walkway and the fence. Our experience of English ivy is that it will need to be trained to the metal string lattice in front of the fence. Once established, English ivy is a rampant grower that will need frequent pruning to keep it manageable in such a narrow space. As an invasive species, it is generally undesirable. Many new homeowners in Norquay are not gardeners. We suggest eliminating the English ivy along the east fence. There should, however, be plantings to screen the garbage/recycling area from the back patio.

Overall the design of this project shows imagination and care.

 
Jeanette and Joseph Jones
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

15 January 2018 at 11:11 am

Posted in RM-7 Comment

White Elephant

leave a comment »

 
What Is a Kensington Gardens Condo Really Worth?

 
Eye on Norquay has been monitoring 2220 Kingsway ever since news trickled out in September 2011 that Westbank paid $34,088,000 for the 2.3 acre site.

Westbank chose to ride roughshod over the Norquay Plan by plopping a podium over the entire site. Their approach disrespected the clear intent for a public plaza at the heart of the site. City of Vancouver staff lined up with Westbank wishes, since their political masters had been prepurchased with massive donations.

 

 
    White Elephant?   Retro Soviet Block?
 

Note: The Urban Design Panel chose to ignore a planner question about how adequate the proposed tower separation would be. Eye on Norquay witnessed in person the meeting where this neglect occurred.

As the project approaches completion, a few other points deserve scrutiny.

 
Focus on Flip Marketing Brings Unusual Legal Threat

On 23 October 2017 thinkpol.ca posted a documented story about Westbank preselling to flippers almost one quarter of the condos at 2220 Kingsway / Kensington Gardens.

Amy Chen. Westbank pre-sold nearly 1 in 4 Kensington Garden condos — heavily marketed
overseas — to flippers

https://thinkpol.ca/2017/10/23/westbank-pre-sold-nearly-1-in-4-kensington-garden-condos-heavily-marketed-overseas-to-flippers/

The report relied on “industry insider” provision of 55 Multiple Listing Service entries and a further “38 listings of units that are currently on sale on assignments.” A chart provides a “complete list of pre-sale purchasers [93] gleaned from MLS data.”

A few weeks later, on 15 November 2017, thinkpol.ca reported that a lawyer acting for the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) had threatened their news outlet with legal action because of the reporting on Westbank’s Kensington Gardens project at 2220 Kingsway.

Vancouver real estate board threatens ThinkPol with lawsuit to protect foreign buyer privacy
https://thinkpol.ca/2017/11/15/vancouver-real-estate-board-threatens-thinkpol-with-lawsuit-to-protect-foreign-buyer-privacy/

In June 2017 realtor Steve Saretsky had already called attention to the flood of assignments rising at 2220 Kingsway. Saretsky’s account reproduced a 3 February 2015 Westbank Facebook advertisement for a “Hong Kong Exhibition” that stated:

        As one of Vancouver’s premier landmark residential developments, buyers at Kensington Gardens
        benefit from an 8% rental return. Making Kensington Gardens the best real estate investment
        in North America.

As far as Westbank is concerned, the value in this “premier landmark” condo cluster seems to be some vague opportunity for 8% return as a rental unit. In other words, their marketing fail on Kensington Gardens seems to have condemned the whole project to open as a higher-end tenement, with renters predominating among first inhabitants. Owner-occupiers seem likely to prefer a different address.

As of late December 2017, the lawyer’s intimidation bluster seems to have failed, serving only to direct even more attention to the nasty situation at Kensington Gardens.

 
Look at This Documented Marketing Timeline

February 2014  —  Eye on Norquay describes a strange marketing strategy for Kensington Gardens condos.

In Between  —  The most desirable West Tower never shows up in marketing to Vancouver locals.

October 2014  —  Ten months later, a reading between the lines shows the project still only half-sold.

October 2014  —  The East Tower shows up as final tower release event.

February 2015  —  A “Hong Kong Exhibition” tries to unload units offshore as rental properties.

May 2015  —  Still unsold units get postcard marketing to locals as “Vancouver View Estates.”

Ongoing  —  High level of attempts to sell assigned units.

 
What Is Going On Here?

Further to the introductory point — that Westbank and REBGV seem extraordinarily unhappy about the recent thinkpol.ca exposé of their marketing strategy — consider these additional points:

One  —  Only a relatively ignorant buyer would fail to understand what a poor match the faux-fancy fortress of Kensington Gardens is for the area that surrounds it. Norquay is nowheresville in the heart of East Vancouver, sliced through the middle by the six-lane truck route of Kingsway. The cornerstone for this new development was laid when city planners back in 2010 forced their mass rezoning onto a large swath of an amenity-deficient East Vancouver neighborhood filled with lower-income, immigrant, working-class people — an area selected because they regarded it as a de facto “brownfield.”

Two  —  In the fall of 2017 Westbank went on a branding spree, waving a hot pink banner about “Fight for Beauty.” Guess what? Nowhere does Kensington Gardens feature among the projects that the developer boosts as a signature development. Kensington Gardens compares with a knockoff Rolex watch.

Three  —  Throughout 2017, advertised pre-completion prices for 2220 Kingsway condos jumped all over the speculative map, ranging from $747 per sq ft for unit 527 to $1400 per sq ft for unit NE PH 1. See table at the end, and especially notice the startling upward trajectory of unit 529 — from $385,000 in April, to $425,000 in June, to $468,000 in August. And never forget: in September 2011 land cost was reported as $107 per buildable sq ft.

Four  —  How many speculators or purchasers understand that just to the north of Kensington Gardens, right smack dab between their site and the north shore mountains, will soon be arising a six-storey building along a 231-foot Kingsway frontage, to provide 101 rental units? This new no-ownership building at 2153-2199 Kingsway was approved by Council at Public Hearing on 16 May 2017. Some upper floors of Kensington Gardens may still manage to peek over this adjacent battleship … but never the other two towers of Kensington Gardens itself. All of the new residents (if there are any) will get to enjoy years of the same truck traffic, dirt, and noise that their own building has already inflicted on existing residents of the neighborhood.

Five  —  The Westbank tradition in East Vancouver continues with “The Joyce,” whose marketing has attracted similar unfavorable reporting:

Jen St. Denis. $725,000 for one-bedroom condo at Joyce Station raises red flags (22 June 2017)
http://www.metronews.ca/news/vancouver/2017/06/22/725000-for-one-bedroom-condo-at-humble-joyce-station.html

At this Joyce SkyTrain station project, unwary and naive purchasers are signing up for headaches that include

  Location on a two-lane truck route heavily used to avoid the Boundary Road hill
  Regular loud SkyTrain system noise that gets worse with aging
  New zoning that specifies two view-blocking high-rise towers across Joyce to the west
 



 
 
87 Distinct Address Listings for 2220 Kingsway
as Observed in Vancouver Local Real Estate Sources in 2017

 
         The listing below aggregates data from four previous separate listings from Eye on Norquay
           which are tagged as Price Data.
         An asterisk (*) marks an entry where Sq Ft data has been revised on the sole basis of inconsistency.
         In a few instances, for the same Unit number, where Ask Price and Sq Ft diverge widely, entries
           have been separated.
         Units with Month specified as “Other” have been noted as on the market without further data capture.


Unit           Ask Price      Sq Ft       Month 


102             $899,000       1023       April
102             $899,000       1023       June
102             $899,000       1023       August
102             $899,000       1023       November

103             $988,000       1018       November

310             $683,000        777 *     April
310             $738,000        777       June
310             $738,000        777       August
310             $738,000        777       November

315                                       Other

317             $425,000        512       April

320                                       Other

322             $430,000        534       April

501                                       Other

503                                       Other

508             $384,900        504       June

511             $768,000        894       August
511             $768,000        894       November

517             $510,000        512       August

518             $430,860        529       April
518             $430,860        529       June
518             $495,000        529       August
518             $495,000        529       November

519             $360,000        441       April
519             $360,000        441       June

520                                       Other

527             $435,000        582       April
527             $435,000        582       June

528             $488,888        503       November

529             $385,000        447       April
529             $425,000        447       June
529             $468,000        447       August

530                                       Other

531                                       Other

602             $699,000        890       April

603             $380,000        463       April
603             $395,000        463       June

605             $399,000        506       April
605             $480,000        506       August

606             $399,000        506       April
606             $399,000        506       June

608                                       Other

609             $790,000        894       June
609             $790,000        894       August
609             $790,000        894       November

610                                       Other

617                                       Other

701             $693,900        849       April

708                                       Other

803                                       Other

808             $660,000        790       June

810             $628,800        717       June

903                                       Other

905                                       Other

906             $525,000        506       June

906             $954,000       1072       August
906             $954,000       1072       November

908                                       Other

1002            $748,000        738 *     June
1002            $748,000        738 *     November

1102            $748,000        738       August
1102            $768,000        738 *     November

1106            $535,000        506       August
1106            $535,000        506 *     November

1010                                      Other

1012            $798,000        812       April
1012            $798,000        812       June
1012            $768,000        812       August
1012            $768,000        812       November

1102                                      Other

1105                                      Other

1106                                      Other

1108                                      Other

1110                                      Other

1201                                      Other

1203            $438,000        484       April
1203            $438,000        484       June

1206          $1,068,888       1060       April
1206          $1,068,888       1060       June
1206          $1,068,888       1060       August
1206          $1,068,888       1060       November

1209            $748,000        879       June
1209            $748,000        879       August

1211            $788,000        717       November

1502                                      Other

1503                                      Other

1507            $468,800        516       April

1508                                      Other

1510            $699,000        777       June

1605          $1,088,800        980       August
1605          $1,088,800        980       November

1606          $1,068,888       1060       April
1606          $1,088,888       1060       June
1606          $1,088,888       1060       August

1610            $719,900        879       April

1701                                      Other

1702                                      Other

1703            $968,888       1020       April

1703            $515,000        496       November

1706          $1,118,000       1060       June
1706          $1,118,900       1060       August
[1706]?       $1,089,000       1060       November

1708            $788,000        720       August
1708            $788,000        720       November

1805 PH 5       $949,999        784       August
1805 PH 5       $949,999        784       November

NE 315          $738,900        790       November

NE 626          $419,800        441       November

NE 702                                    Other

NE 811          $726,000        812       November

NE 1103         $478,000        496       August
NE 1103         $478,000        496       November

NE 1502         $830,000        896       November

NE 1611         $708,000        717       November

NE PH 1       $1,150,000        821       June
NE PH 1       $1,150,000        821       August
NE PH 1       $1,098,000        821       August
NE PH 1       $1,098,000        821       November

NE PH 6         $884,900        807       November

P 307           $489,800        476       November

S 1008          $948,000        992       November

S 1103          $433,000        484       April

S 1202          $698,000        738       April
S 1202          $698,000        738       June

S 1501          $786,000        849       April
S 1501          $745,000        849       June
S 1501          $745,800        849       August

W 305                                     Other

W 605           $469,800        510       November

W 1505          $999,000        980       November

W 1510          $739,900        777       April
W 1510          $725,000        777       June
W 1510          $699,000        777       August
W 1510          $699,000        777       November

W PH 1          $828,000        755 *     August
W PH 1          $828,000        755       November

 
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

1 January 2018 at 10:23 am

Formal Comment on TMH

with one comment

 
The following formal comment from Jeanette Jones and Joseph Jones was submitted to housing@vancouver.ca by email at 9:02 am on 18 December 2017.

 
Comment on Temporary Housing Proposal for 4410 Kaslo Street —
Community Information Sessions on 13 and 14 December 2017

18 December 2017

 
We support the concept of building temporary modular housing (TMH) as one way to help house the homeless population of Vancouver. We have particular concerns related to this proposed TMH site.

 
Location of the site

The site at 4410 Kaslo Street is well situated in relation to transit and to Slocan Park. However, it is not within easy walking distance of most other amenities. The closest area with shops and services is on Kingsway, seven blocks to the south. But much of the streetscape there currently consists of empty buildings awaiting redevelopment under the Norquay Plan. The nearest grocery store is Banana Grove at Slocan and East 22nd Avenue, eight blocks away. The Renfrew Community Centre and the Renfrew Library are equally distant. The shopping area and services around the Joyce SkyTrain Station lie 15 blocks away.

Eight blocks can be a pleasant walk in good weather for healthy people. However, in cold or rainy weather it is a long way to go to supply even minor needs. The difficulty increases for tenants with mobility challenges, or for mothers with infants. Shops and services need to be accessible if tenants are to learn to live independently.

To help mitigate the effects of the distance to shops and services:

       •  Every tenant should be issued a monthly one-zone transit pass
       •  A van and driver should be available to residents on a frequent and regular basis
       •  Both individual units and communal kitchen space should be designed with more than
           standard storage, especially refrigerator space

       •  If tenants lack the skills to plan meals in advance and to shop for groceries
           in an organized way, teaching these skills should be a priority for the service provider

At a more general level,

Easy accessibility of shops and services should be added to the TMH site selection criteria.

 
Tenant mix

We support designating 4410 Kaslo as a coed residence. The selected operator (Atira) has keen interest and extensive experience in providing housing for women. Therefore,

A majority of the tenants should be women, to take full advantage of the operator’s interest and experience.

 
Transitioning residents to permanent housing

As the lives of tenants become more stable, many would need to transition to more independent, permanent housing. Favorable outcomes are most likely to be achieved if these tenants have an option to move from TMH into non-market housing while remaining in the same neighbourhood.

The nearby 2400 Motel site at Slocan Street and Kingsway has been identified in the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan as the heart of the Norquay Village area. Future development of this site is already specified to deliver 500 housing units, with 100 of those non-market. Much needed indoor and outdoor community space as well as additional shops (including a grocery store) and services would also be provided. Seven years into the Norquay Plan, Kingsway is experiencing major redevelopment. Yet the 2400 Motel site has shown no sign of delivering on the major amenity promise to Norquay residents, even though the City of Vancouver (CoV) already owns the land.

The City of Vancouver needs to begin developing the 2400 Motel site according to specifications outlined in the 2010 Norquay Plan and the Norquay Public Benefits Strategy.

 
Distribution of TMH sites

Like every other Vancouver neighbourhood, Norquay / Renfrew-Collingwood needs to do its share to house Vancouver’s homeless population. We look forward to additional TMH proposals that will distribute this housing more equitably across the entire city.

Neighbourhoods that do not help the homeless by hosting a TMH site should pay a surtax designated toward provision of new non-market housing.

 
Process

The December 13 and 14 meetings were advertised as “Community Information Sessions.” But very little concrete information was available.

The community’s most pressing question — Who is going to be living in this particular TMH facility? — remains largely unanswered. The closest approximation to an answer that we were able to ascertain could be summarized as: “Tenants will be male and female homeless people already living in the neighbourhood. We don’t know who they are, how many of them there are, or where they are. But everything will work out fine — just trust us.” This response does not reassure current community residents. Instead, it leaves us feeling frustrated at best (if we believe that CoV and its partners honestly don’t have the information) or cynical and angry at worst (if we believe that CoV and its partners have the information but won’t share it with us).

Community consultation at this early stage does make it more possible for community residents to have real input on some issues. But until we have a better idea of who the tenants of the building will be, it is difficult to make meaningful comment on other topics.

The CoV desire to get TMH built as quickly as possible is understandable. However, a complex network of city, provincial and non-profit agencies is involved in making this happen. Proceeding too quickly creates stress, confusion and communication problems. Not all staff at the information session was on the same page.

Information is not always presented in a timely and forthright manner. Several community residents attending the sessions were looking for a distribution map of identified TMH sites and a list of criteria for choosing these sites. CoV has this information and it should have been provided on boards at the session. Community residents unable to attend either of the information sessions need to have timely web access to the posted boards if we are to submit comment by the December 22 deadline. As of this morning (Monday, December 18) the boards from the information sessions have not yet been made available on CoV’s TMH web site.

The next community information session needs to be scheduled as soon as CoV and its partners have a more accurate picture of who will be living in this building. This should not be a matter of simply presenting a proposed development project. Community residents would like to be informed of the approximate tenant mix in terms of service level, current area of residence, male vs. female, and single vs. family (if applicable).

The City of Vancouver has not built a relationship of trust with this particular area of Renfrew-Collingwood. The area around the 29th Avenue SkyTrain Station was abruptly cut off from Norquay in 2009 after 3½ years of the planning process for the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre. Specific promises made in connection with the future development of Ravine Way (a linear park/pedestrian connection between Slocan Park and Norquay Park) have been retracted. Much better attention needs to be paid to process if CoV intends to introduce a SkyTrain Station Area Planning initiative here in early 2018.

 
Jeanette and Joseph Jones
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

18 December 2017 at 9:42 am

Report on TMH Sessions

leave a comment »

 
Temporary Modular Housing Community Information Sessions
Held on 13 and 14 December 2017 for 4410 Kaslo Street Site

 
Our own specific formal comment to the City of Vancouver on the siting of Temporary Modular Housing at 4410 Kaslo Street is provided as a yet-to-come separate posting to Eye on Norquay. The purpose of the account that follows is to document with comment the two evenings of interaction between Norquay and area residents and the various officials.

 
Overall Impression

On 13 and 14 December 2017 Eye on Norquay observed and participated in the full three hours of both of the two “Community Information Sessions” about the new Temporary Modular Housing (TMH) proposed for 4410 Kaslo Street across from the 29th Avenue SkyTrain Station.

What became most apparent was that five bureaucratic entities are converging to try to deliver on multiple present and upcoming TMH projects, and themselves are in the early stages of ironing out their relationships. The consequence is that these sessions for the community offered very little solid and specific information.

 

 
     Panel 5 — Addressing the Immediate Needs of Homeless People
 

Perhaps the most extensive news reporting on the event came from CTV News Vancouver on 14 December 2017. That coverage highlighted the policing of the meeting. On the first evening Eye on Norquay noticed three security guards who tightly controlled entrance and exit, and two VPD, one in uniform and one undercover.

Some of this atmosphere carried over from officialdom’s serious miscalculation in its earlier approach to bringing TMH to Marpole. The short version of that failure is that five agencies paid no attention to the history of the particular recently mass-rezoned local area minefield that they were dashing into. They were too busy focusing on themselves and their joint rapid move on Marpole, apparently unaware that Marpole was already a remarkably self-organized local community.

 
Haste and Disregard

The most obvious word to describe the “process” for the Kaslo site would be haste. On 1 December 2017 the City of Vancouver unveiled the 4410 Kaslo Street site TMH proposal via a news release. At about the same time a notification sheet was distributed to houses adjacent to the site. This timing of no more than seven working days prior to the first session fell considerably short of the usual minimum of ten days. Add to that the setting of meeting dates for less than two weeks before Christmas.

An email sent to housing@vancouver.ca on the evening of 14 December 2017 asked for a posting of the presented materials to the TMH web site. Twenty-four hours later there had been no response — neither an email reply, nor a fulfillment of the request.

On this basis and in this circumstance, local area residents are expected to provide their “input” between 13 and 22 December 2017. This kind of treatment can only confirm the cynicism of many residents who expect that the City of Vancouver intends to race ahead and will show little respect for anything they may have to say.

 
The Materials

In written form, the sessions provided two written documents —

Temporary Modular Housing Factsheet  (2 p.)   [tailored to the 4410 Kaslo Street site]

Draft Operations Management Plan, 4410 Kaslo Street, Vancouver, Rapid Response to Homelessness, Temporary Modular Housing  /  Atira Women’s Resource Society  (6 p.)

— and 17 display panels.

Since Atira learned of its selection as operator only a few days prior to the information sessions, it seems plausible that its six-page “draft plan” consists of nothing more than a rapidly tweaked version of their initial boilerplate “expression of interest” to the City of Vancouver about becoming a TMH operator. The specifics of the agreement between the two parties have yet to be negotiated. This means that the “information” that could be presented to local area residents amounted to generic aspirations only. This would explain the unwillingness and/or inability of officials to provide any useful answer to the number one question: Who would be living in the 50 TMH units proposed for 4410 Kaslo Street?

Beyond this, the panels disappointingly failed to provide information that did exist, could have been presented, and was being asked for by residents. Three prime examples:

 

 
     Map of Sites Already Announced
 

 

 
     Criteria for Site Selection
     http://council.vancouver.ca/20171004/documents/pspc2.pdf
 

 

 
     Details from Temporary Modular Housing Contract Approval  (4 Oct 2017)
     http://council.vancouver.ca/20171004/documents/pspc2.pdf
 

Eye on Norquay observed the person named in the above external documentation (tweet of 14 December 2017) aggressively deflecting and stonewalling on this particular frequently asked question. The City Council administrative report of 4 October 2017 constitutes relevant information that was actively withheld from the “Community Information Sessions.” Such an approach does not inspire trust.

 
The Timeline and Who “Decides”

Apart from panel 5 above, the panel image that follows is the only material that Eye on Norquay finds useful enough to reproduce here. The “next step” for the local community appears to consist of a single opportunity to react to an already-applied-for development permit.

 

 
     Panel 15 — Development Permit Process for Input
 

It is difficult to make sense of what this panel title could mean. Residents were told that General Manager of Planning Gil Kelley will make “a decision” following the second meeting. Few believe that this decision could be anything other than a yes.

Eye on Norquay has suggested to staff that the honest approach would be to say that Council has made the decision already, and that staff must act as the agent of Council. To displace that “decision” away from Council only fosters undeserved scorn for staff. No City Councillor made even a brief appearance at the contentious scene. For Councillors to avoid the difficult situations created by their decisions has become standard practice.

The disconnect between what TMH project leaders say and what can plainly be seen to be happening should embarrass all who speak to the issues. The official narrative maintains that what residents say matters, is taken very seriously, and might possibly even result in a decision to not locate TMH at 4410 Kaslo Street. The reality encompasses

        The politics of a growing homeless population that must be seen to be dealt with
        Few City of Vancouver sites that can satisfy the present criteria for TMH locations
        An initial $66 million that must be spent on TMH as quickly as possible
        Multiple agencies that by definition will prioritize behind-the-scenes “negotiating”
          of their own competing bureaucratic interests

 
Who Was in the Room?

The persons and departments/agencies at the sessions included:

Abi Bond
Director of Affordable Housing, Community Services
abigail.bond@vancouver.ca

Allison Dunnett
Senior Planner, Housing Policy and Projects
allison.dunnet@vancouver.ca

Ethel Whitty
Director, Homelessness Services
ethel.whitty@vancouver.ca

Luke Harrison
Director/Chief Executive Officer, Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA)
luke.harrison@vaha.ca

David Williams
Project Director, Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA)
david.williams@vaha.ca

Brenda Prosken
Regional Director, BC Housing
???

Janice Abbott
Chief Executive Officer, Atira Women’s Resource Society
janice_abbott@atira.bc.ca

Jennifer Gray-Grant
Executive Director, Collingwood Neighbourhood House
jgray-grant@cnh.bc.ca

Unspecified Person(s)
Vancouver Coastal Health

 
The Unspeakable Good News

The serious shortcomings outlined above add to the City of Vancouver’s ignominious reputation for mistreating its residents. At least a token acknowledgment of the recent planning context established for Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre would have been appropriate.

At the level of mere logic, the City would not serve its own interests well by flubbing any aspect of delivering TMH at this location. Mishaps would only further poison the well that the City must drink from extensively in 2018, with the start of the “station area planning” that is designated as a top priority of the Housing Vancouver Strategy approved in late November 2017.

Eye on Norquay senses that the implementation of TMH at 4410 Kaslo Street will significantly and specifically deal with fears that we heard expressed at the community information sessions. Perhaps the foremost fear is for the safety of children.

Our assessment is based on six to ten hours of two experienced persons listening carefully to what high-level staff (see listing above) had to say — and then putting all of that together and reading between the lines. There seems to be a reassuring background that the staff can barely hint at.

In a very unusual move, we judge it best in this particular case to avoid elaborating on the positives that we perceive. For the sake of the neighborhood, let’s all hope that our optimistic intuitions match up with the TMH realization.
 

Written by eyeonnorquay

16 December 2017 at 8:51 pm