June 5 Avalon OH
It may not be too late for you to direct your own emailed comment to the contact person mentioned
in the announcement for the second Avalon open house: Jasmine Kafka at 604-801-5008 or email@example.com
Reporting from digitalmonk on CityHallWatch has included reproduction of 16 panels from the 5 June 2012 Avalon open house, a follow-up to the one held on 2 April 2012. Thanks to this coverage, Eye on Norquay is able to make the following comments on the second Avalon open house, despite having been unable to attend in person.
The Single Open House Problem
If developers and planners were serious about public engagement, they would provide at least the information that CityHallWatch has made available in this instance.
The reality is that such “consultation” seems to hope
• To fly under the radar as much as possible
• To remain difficult to access
• To generate phony evidence to support desired results
Typical of this approach is to schedule single events on relatively short notice, timed to very busy seasons — both of these facets evident in this case.
Paying a visit to the Hywel Jones web site is about like taking a look at a stone wall. A word search conducted there on Avalon produces nothing useful. Any attempt to locate materials on the City of Vancouver web site seems useless, since this is the phase where planners just hang around while the developer puts on the show.
The Opportunity for Input
According to CityHallWatch
The feedback forms for the public were to gauge whether there was a preference for a Pavilion or Rowhouse form of development in a contemporary or tradition style (see panels 9 & 10).
The simplicity of this data gathering is commendable. Any commenter can see the choices clearly and not be mistaken as saying white instead of black. The clarity of binary is good.
A reproduction of the actual comment form by CityHallWatch would have been helpful.
Specific Comments (note three preferences highlighted below)
The open house panels alone make it difficult to conclude a great deal about pavilion style versus rowhome style. Site coverages and heights do not seem to differ between the two. “Pavilion” may be one more way of saying “stacked townhouse”? If that is the case, Eye on Norquay would prefer rowhomes.
The choice between contemporary and traditional seems readily apparent. “Contemporary” seems, more than anything else, to mean flat roof only. Eye on Norquay has already covered the flat roof issue at length in a recent posting. A preference for traditional style seems likely to be expressed as well by the surrounding community (if not by design geeks who would like to treat East Vancouver as a tabula rasa playground) because it integrates with the existing neighborhood. The technical dysfunctionalities of flat roof offer strong additional reason to not want this form injected into this setting.
Additional to the opportunity for comment outlined by CityHallWatch, Avalon open house panel 11 appears to present one additional binary choice: option 1, vehicular greenway access; option 2, pedestrian access only. Eye on Norquay sees nothing green in giving that space over to motor vehicles, and therefore strongly prefers option 2.
After all, the adjacent Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan was supposed to be all about promotion of pedestrian options — even if that blockbusting plan-warping 2300 Kingsway tower was allowed to squeeze the sidewalk down to a minimum and to throw a brand new wide curb cut right across the Kingsway sidewalk!