Open House Riot
Eye on Norquay could not be present at the 13 September 2011 developer open house for 2298 Galt Street. Several separate reports show strong questioning of the rezoning proposal by a substantial number of aggrieved Norquay residents.
One major issue appears to be lack of disclosure on plans for this construction immediately adjacent to recently sold properties. Most directly affected are purchasers/residents of the 8 houses on Galt Street and the 85 dwelling units in the four-storey building at 2239 Kingsway. Those brand-new buildings occupy most of what was a two-acre site. All that remains of the original large parcel (previous home to the London Guard Motel) is this one lot on Galt Street, surrounded by single-family houses in both directions. It is reported that a petition with fifty signatures in opposition formed a part of the open house pushback.
Another prevalent concern, apparent to anyone who looks at either Galt Street or Kingsway, is severe competition for street parking. Galt Street has sprouted an extensive curbside underbrush of plastic pails, old paint buckets, and scavenged traffic cones that attempt to stake out parking space claims. One of the new retail businesses already reports customer access problems caused by unregulated parking on Kingsway. This bad situation will grow far worse whenever the remaining 9 of the 13 new retail units open for business.
The city planners who engaged in the Norquay process from 2006 to 2010 never respected resident input about traffic and parking. Except for the single lot at 2298 Galt Street, all of this current development has occurred under the provisions of existing zoning. Imagine the inundation of automobiles that will follow on completion of far larger developments at 2300 Kingsway, 2667-2703 Kingsway, and the Canadian Tire site at the SE corner of Kingsway and Gladstone. [Breaking new gossip: Canadian Tire employees are reported to have said that the Kingsway store will close in November 2012.] With respect to parking, the Renfrew-Collingwood Community Vision states:
Each proposal for a new housing type has been made conditional … on an assurance that parking
and traffic impacts would be addressed. (p. 30)
The parking spaces allocated to the 4 apartment units proposed for 2298 Galt Street consist of 4 single-car garage units built into the ground floors of the two four-storey buildings — with little to guarantee that these rooms will not be used only as storage facilities, or even as extra bedrooms.
The Norquay Plan (p. 20) dismissed repeatedly expressed concerns about parking with just a wink and a wave. The brouhaha at the 2298 Galt Street open house may be a ripple of discontent compared with the tsunami of neighborhood rage that could be swelling on the distant horizon.
Bill McCreery, an NPA candidate for Vancouver City Council, reports having been present from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm at the developer open house. He says he observed “many very unhappy residents.” During the event McCreery sent out two tweets (brief electronic messages available to all who follow his messaging). The first came after almost an hour of observation:
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Attndg.rezong@2239 Kingsway.Riot bttr descrbs n’hood rcptn.Hghlghts flawed n’hood planng process.Planners trying to justify.N’hood not buyg.
11-09-13 6:21 PM
Expanded version: Attending rezoning at 2239 Kingsway. Riot better describes neighborhood reception. Highlights flawed neighborhood planning process. Planners trying to justify. Neighborhood not buying.
[Note: 2239 Kingsway, the place where the open house was held, is a building backing onto the 2298 Galt Street site.]
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Planners not developer defending Norquay rezoning. Why? Highlights why n’hood planning process is flawed.
11-09-13 6:55 PM
Expanded version: Planners not developer defending Norquay rezoning. Why? Highlights why neighborhood planning process is flawed.
[Note: “Norquay rezoning” could refer to either or both of: The specific proposal for 2298 Galt Street and/or the general and widely unsupported plan to mass rezone about 1900 properties throughout Norquay.]
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