Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Report on TMH Sessions

with 2 comments

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 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


     Details from Temporary Modular Housing Contract Approval  (4 Oct 2017)

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

Allison Dunnett
Senior Planner, Housing Policy and Projects

Ethel Whitty
Director, Homelessness Services

Luke Harrison
Director/Chief Executive Officer, Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA)

David Williams
Project Director, Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency (VAHA)

Brenda Prosken
Regional Director, BC Housing

Janice Abbott
Chief Executive Officer, Atira Women’s Resource Society

Jennifer Gray-Grant
Executive Director, Collingwood Neighbourhood House

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

Temporary Modular Housing

with 2 comments

4410 Kaslo Street Across from 29th Avenue SkyTrain Station

On Friday 1 December 2017 news came out that City of Vancouver looks to place “temporary modular housing” on the site of a community garden that lies just to the north of the Norquay area of East Vancouver. The three-storey structure(s) would contain “approximately 50 single-occupancy homes” and “be in place for up to five years, with the possibility to extend another five years” (notification sheet image below).

        Community Information Sessions
        4 pm to 7 pm  •  Wednesday 13 December 2017
        4 pm to 7 pm  •  Thursday 14 December 2017
        First Hungarian Presbyterian Church, 2791 East 27th Avenue


     Vancouver Courier/Dan Toulgoet Photo of 4410 Kaslo Street

Norquay and Then Not Norquay

This Kaslo Street site fell within the boundaries of Norquay for the first 3½ years of planning — from the outset in March 2006 until an abrupt cut-off, announced by then Director of Planning Brent Toderian to Norquay Working Group on 2 November 2009. City planners informed Norquay in writing on 30 Jan 2010:

        Input received through the Norquay Village planning process
        will be included in the [future] station area planning phase.

        (Open House Panel 3 — Station Area Planning in Norquay)

The Housing Vancouver Strategy adopted by City Council on 29 November 2017 sets the highest priority on launching “station area planning” early in 2018 for both the 29th Avenue and Nanaimo SkyTrain stations.

In July 2017 Cheryl Chan reported that City of Vancouver had hopes of seeing 600 modular units “scattered across the city at up to 15 under-used or vacant sites pending development.” As of early December 2017, the City of Vancouver web site identifies 7 locations: 220 Terminal Avenue, 650 West 57th Avenue, 1115 Franklin Street, 1131 Franklin Street, 1141 Franklin Street, 501 Powell Street, 4410 Kaslo Street. A mapping of those locations shows a dramatic skew in geographic distribution so far:


     Seven Vancouver Temporary Modular Housing Sites as of 3 Dec 2017

Poor Doors Escalate to Poor Areas

With 7 of perhaps 15 sites now designated for temporary modular housing, the process may have reached a half-way mark for the current round. The current “scatter” of temporary modular housing shows a distinct socioeconomic pattern. This particular new City of Vancouver “planning” effort apparently seeks to go citywide with the poor-door philosophy of shunning social mix. Planners have planned for, and Council or staff have approved, that same poor-door philosophy in controversial condo development projects like these:

•  Strathcona Village at 955 East Hastings — 18 September 2012 Public Hearing

•  The Jervis at 1171 Jervis Street — 4 May 2015 Development Permit Board

•  1068-1080 Burnaby Street and 1318 Thurlow Street — 22 November 2017 Open House

In other words, just as certain condo residents are expected to enter through a lower-class doorway, certain Vancouver residents are expected to find their housing in a lower-class neighbourhood. If this is how the city wants things to be, then specific property surtax should be levied on local areas that fail to shoulder their load in helping to house the homeless.

In September 2017 Jean Swanson, by-election candidate for City Council, and first runner-up in the election voting, said this to Global News:

        Six hundred units a year, for three years, that’s only 1,800.
        We already have 2,138 homeless people, so it’s not enough.



     Notification Sheet from City of Vancouver


On 18 December 2017 Eye on Norquay moved this set of links to a separate posting as TMH Information Resources.

Written by eyeonnorquay

9 December 2017 at 11:53 am

Safeway at Broadway/Commercial

Pre-Application Open House

Tuesday, 27 June 2017
Croatian Cultural Centre, 3250 Commercial Drive

Doors: 5:30 pm
Presentation: 6:00 pm
Open House: 6:15 pm to 8:30 pm

The Broadway/Commercial Safeway (as well as the Safeway at 3410 Kingsway) are where many residents of Norquay go for their food shopping. The Norquay Plan has already seen developer Westbank plunder the plaza that was supposed to serve local residents on the 2220 Kingsway former Canadian Tire site Instead, we got a podium fortress with a parklet designed to serve underground air exhaust vents. Now Westbank seeks to eliminate a another plaza, a key element of the 2016 Grandview-Woodland Plan on the Safeway site at 1780 East Broadway. Come out to the June 27 event and tell Westbank’s consultants what you think.

The Broadway/Commercial Safeway site falls within the boundaries of Cedar Cottage, the Vancouver neighbourhood already heavily impacted by the two “neighbourhood centres” of Kingsway & Knight and Norquay Village. Though extreme for extent and multiplicity, the planning for Cedar Cottage has been anything but comprehensive. Flagrant abuse of the geographic center has been followed by grab-bag snatches at the perimeter: Norquay, 3365 Commercial, and now the Safeway site.

Also see Alternative Location Proposed for New Commercial Drive Public Plaza.






Written by eyeonnorquay

21 June 2017 at 11:14 am

Posted in Events, News

2751 Kingsway / Harvey’s

with 2 comments

Pre-Application Open House on 21 June 2017



A pre-application open house to present a development proposal for 2751 Kingsway (the Harvey’s site) will be held 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm on 21 June 2017 at Cunningham School (2330 East 37th Avenue). A building of 10 storeys on Kingsway and 4 storeys on Duke Street is proposed. This is consistent with the Norquay plan.

The pre-application open house is the first step in community consultation for a rezoning proposal. Although only residents living very near the site receive official notification, the even is open to all.

Suggestions for changes to development proposals have greatest effect at this first public stage of the process. Come to the open house and submit written comments.


Written by eyeonnorquay

15 June 2017 at 9:48 am

Posted in Events, News


leave a comment »

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,004


Written by eyeonnorquay

25 October 2016 at 3:19 pm


leave a comment »

An appeal to write a letter in support of the No Tower Coalition and its long struggle against the Kettle/Boffo collaboration led to the compilation of the following list of blockbustings. For over a decade now, what calls itself “planning” in Vancouver has turned into a mishmash of naked spot rezonings and new local area plans. Sometimes the two are so entangled that it becomes difficult to determine exactly how an addled egg has managed to emerge from a chicken cooped up in an open house. Consider only the tortuous histories of King Edward Village, Rize Alliance, and Joyce Station Precinct.

Amidst the muddle, one thing remains clear. Developers always push for the tallest possible towers. And planners collude to set precedents that can prejudice future area planning to the greatest extent possible.

Concrete proposals for Kettle/Boffo development will be a salient matter on 27 July 2016 as speakers line up to address the new Grandview-Woodland local area plan.


Council Date        Storeys     Description

2003 July 24        17          King Edward Village for Kingsway & Knight

2006 Jan  24        22          2300 Kingsway for Norquay

2011 Apr  21        16          8495 Granville (Safeway) for Marpole 

2011 July 19        35          8440 Cambie (Marine Gateway) for Marpole

2011 Nov  01        30          Wall Centre Central Park for Renfrew-Collingwood

2012 June 11        22          1401 Comox for West End

2012 Feb  27        21          Rize Alliance for Mt Pleasant

2012 Oct  16        12          955 East Hastings for Downtown Eastside

2016 June 28        30          5050-5080 Joyce (Westbank at Joyce Station)

2016 July 19        12          155 East 37th (Little Mountain) for RPSC

2016 July 27        12          Kettle/Boffo for Grandview Woodland



Written by eyeonnorquay

24 July 2016 at 11:21 am

Posted in Events

Big Hit from Rental 100

leave a comment »

A consolidation of 5 parcels with a frontage of 231 feet has occurred on the northwest corner of Kingsway at Gladstone Street, cater-corner from the massive full-block development now underway at 2220 Kingsway.

The letter reproduced below has been received by local area residents, announcing a developer’s pre-application open house:

        Gladstone Secondary School
        4105 Gladstone Street
        Thursday  —  19 May 2016  —  5 pm to 8 pm

The developer seeks to build approximately 100 units of so-called affordable rental housing in a building of six storeys at an FSR of 3.3. The City of Vancouver “Rental 100” program offers developers massive no-fee gifts (with no honest rental-rate accountability) simply to build rental housing units.

Primary concerns at this point relate to three aspects:

Kingsway and Gladstone sidewalk setbacks. Gladstone Street marks the western boundary for the Norquay Plan. For a development of this scale, the Norquay Plan requires a setback of 25 feet. Does it make sense for the block right beside Norquay to suffer a downgraded “transition” status because that next block has not been “planned”? The stretch of Kingsway between Victoria Drive and Gladstone Street is already more attractive than any comparable segment of Kingsway that falls within the one-mile boundaries of “Norquay.”

Articulation along a 230 foot streetwall. Without good design, the existing building variety could be lost to a deadscape that deactivates current street life. This development needs to look like at least five different buildings.

Amenity delivery failure for Norquay so far. A new massive no-payback development will exacerbate the population pressures already concentrating at the western edge of Norquay. After enduring a great deal of construction activity, and seeing a CAC of $3 million immediately sequestered, Norquay residents have enjoyed none of the major public realm improvements specified by the Norquay Plan. So far that brand-new “neighbourhood centre” to the east — where the City of Vancouver owns three acres of land at 2400 Kingsway — remains a truck-route wasteland despite all the planning. Meanwhile, developers exploit the edge.

•   •   •   •   •   •   •

Developer’s Letter



2153-2199 Kingsway as Shown on VanMap


The Five Existing Parcels on Kingsway

     2153 Kingsway

     2163 Kingsway

     2169 Kingsway

     2185 Kingsway

     2199 Kingsway


Two Big Wins from Any Redevelopment


     Elimination of Pattison’s Lighted, Noisy Non-Conforming Billboard

     Disappearance of the City of Vancouver Sponsored DUMP

However ugly we get treated in the heart of East Vancouver, sometimes there’s unintended upside!
Call it collateral repair?


Written by eyeonnorquay

13 May 2016 at 5:33 pm