Myth Pushing

with 2 comments

Comment posted in response to Ann McAfee on CBC Early Edition mythologizing a happy past for Kingsway & Knight “neighbourhood centre” planning … under her direction. The episode aired after the large 24 September 2013 Tuesday evening demonstration in front of City Hall, and before the 25 September 2013 late Wednesday beginning on the Council agenda item for Community Plans: Next Steps ]

Vancouver’s first-ever mass rezoning may have, at best, proved a little less immediately unhappy than the escalating wars that have occurred since:  Norquay, Mount Pleasant, Downtown Eastside, West End, Grandview-Woodland, Marpole.

On 25 September 2013 General Manager of Planning and Development Brian Jackson used his presentation [1] on the state of four new community plans to sail off into supposed “myth busting.” It seems far clearer that one of his predecessors, Ann McAfee, had just been engaging in outrageous “myth pushing” about the history of mass rezoning in Vancouver (aided and abetted by CBC Radio).

An earlier posting has already scrutinized in detail the consequences of the pretend piece of planning done for Kingsway & Knight.

This comment sets out to rebut (with specifics drawn from relevant City of Vancouver minutes) a number of facile and distorted claims made by the former senior City of Vancouver planner.

Let this commentary be read as an earlier case study in how the City of Vancouver spins, misinforms, rewrites history, and … lies — all in the service of forcing its unwanted planning onto ever more savvy and resistant local communities.

When it comes to rezonings, local communities can expect all take, no give from the City of Vancouver — followed up by trash talk about what was “given” to the community.

*   *   *   *   *   *


Density Discontent  —  25 Sept 2013

Rick Cluff interviews Ann McAfee (Co-Director of Planning 1994-2006 for City of Vancouver)

Early Edition  —  CBC British Columbia

Transcript of segment:  3:28 to 4:42

Can you give us an example of a neighborhood that was actually happy with development?

Well, interestingly, about ten years ago, Knight and Kingsway, which is now King Edward Village — and if you drive past there, there’s this massive development — it’s about 400 units, high-rise, plus, what you can’t see, about a thousand units of properties around, were all rezoned for townhouses, rowhouses, infill — plus that big development. And, when it came to public hearing in 2004, the community came out and supported. They were cheering council when they approved the rezoning. Now, why did they cheer council? I think partly they had worked through some of the where am I going to live in the future where are my children going to live — but they also got some benefits. The big development, if you go and look at it, has the whole ground floor as a combination of a grocery store which they didn’t have at the time, and the new library. So the community could see that they were getting something out of the tradeoff between density and types of housing in the neighborhood.

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One —  … about a thousand units of properties around … 

Fact:  1577 properties were taken out of RS-1 zoning. That is about 60% more than described and looks like dishonest minimization.

Two —  … when it came to public hearing in 2004, the community came out and supported. They were cheering …

Fact:  There was no public hearing in 2004. See Appendix.

Fact:  Minutes record considerable opposition expressed at the 2003 public hearing for the rezoning of King Edward Village (a one-off blockbusting of the “neighbourhood centre” that came prior to the area planning — which was never completed). Even speakers reported as “in favor” commented on late public notification.

Three —  The big development, if you go and look at it, has the whole ground floor as a combination of a grocery store which they didn’t have at the time, and the new library.

Fact:  The whole ground floor is ridiculous exaggeration of a single-building library and grocery store footprint that amounts to perhaps one-quarter to one-third of the total ground floor commercial space created.

Fact:  A grocery store is not a public amenity; it is a self-interested commercial enterprise. When a grocery store that was promised [2] at the 2006 rezoning of the two-acre Eldorado Motel property failed to materialize, then Director of Planning Brent Toderian (at the Development Permit Board approval) asserted that allocation of retail space was not anything that planners could make happen. Yet earlier (24 January 2006) the inclusion of a grocery store was presented as a significant condition of the rezoning.

Fact:  The new library  (a) was not new — it was a relocation of the existing library that was on the opposite side of Knight Street  (b) did not create permanent space owned by City of Vancouver — it was nothing more than a ten-year-only no-payment-for-lease-of-space sweetheart deal with the developer  (c) did even not include the finishing and furnishing of the space, a cost that the City of Vancouver paid to the developer.

Four —  … the community could see that they were getting something out of the tradeoff …

Fact:  The City of Vancouver snookered a naive and trusting community that today is able to look back and see what a pack of lies it was fed.

[1]  Community Plans: Next Steps — Downtown Eastside, West End, Marpole, Grandview-Woodland  (September 25, 2013)

[2] “The commercial uses would be focussed towards Kingsway and include: a 2 622 m² (28,224 sq. ft.) grocery store” (p. 4)

4. REZONING: 2330 Kingsway [CD-1 Rezoning — 2330-2372 Kingsway and 2319 East 30th Avenue]

•   •   •   •   •   •


The official record from City of Vancouver minutes includes:

2003 —  The premature piece of Vancouver’s first “neighbourhood centre” that was approved at the 24 July 2003 public hearing on CD-1 rezoning for King Edward Village:

2. Rezoning – 1402-1436 Kingsway and 4050 Knight Street

Correspondence:  9 letters of support; 5 letters of opposition; 1 petition with approximately 190 signatures in opposition
Speakers:  18 in support; 7 in opposition / expressing concerns

2004 —  The report that set in motion the Kingsway & Knight mass rezoning that was approved at a 8 July 2004 meeting:

3. Kingsway and Knight Neighbourhood Centre: Housing Area Plan (File 8011)

Speakers:  2 in favor, 1 with concerns

2005 —  The two new zoning schedules to implement the mass rezoning of 1577 single-family properties that were approved at a 6 October 2005 public hearing:

4. AREA REZONING: Kingsway and Knight Housing Plan (RT-10/RT-10N and RM-1/RM-1N)

Correspondence:  1 letter of support
Speakers:  2 support, 1 concerned about potential property tax increase

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Written by eyeonnorquay

5 October 2013 at 1:05 am

2 Responses

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  1. I have to say I’m happy with the King Ed development. I live nearby and it was a shady flea market before. I’d say it improved our area.


    19 October 2013 at 2:42 pm

  2. [ Sorry, jo, your comment got eaten in a spam delete, so I had to recreate it. Original time stamp for your posting was 2013/10/05 at 8:13 am. ]

    It seems to be a standard developer/CoV ploy (1) to allow rundown and nuisance like the Kingsway & Knight flea market to get worse over time (2) to want and cause people to forget the useful Safeway grocery store that existed there before the flea market (3) to hoodwink fools into becoming enamored of the notion of getting a grocery store as an “amenity” — when they already had one before!

    The same strategy can be observed in the redevelopment of the Eldorado Motel as 2300 Kingsway. Get people living nearby to believe than anything that may get rid of the noise, drunkenness, and sex-trade magnet has to be better. Such an ugly scamster way to motivate acceptance of inapppropriate development.


    19 October 2013 at 3:07 pm

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