Archive for the ‘Maps’ Category

The Duplex Set-Up

leave a comment »

Who Benefits?

Does this photo of Gregor Robertson look woolly? It was grabbed from defective City Council video on the evening of 18 Sept 2018 during a public hearing on duplex housing in “most RS zones.” What wool is being pulled over whose eyes, and to conceal what?



First of all, a declaration. Residents of Norquay have little skin in the game when it comes to duplexing the sixty-some thousands of RS (single-family) zoned properties that remain across Vancouver. Norquay and next-door cousin Kingsway-Knight were mass-rezoned out of RS in 2010 and 2004 respectively. The number of those parcels totaled around 3400. This was one-twentieth of the RS that has remained until now. Two working-class immigrant neighbourhoods were conscripted for experimentation. The two adjacent areas constitute the geographic heart of East Vancouver, and sit at the eye of Vancouver’s gentrification hurricane.

That said, it is true that an expanded playing field of sixty-some thousand additional properties might diffuse the speculation frenzy that a series of “new community plans” has fomented over the past decade. Perhaps the storm of noise and traffic and dirt might slacken by finally doing a “Go West” that reduces the concentration effect? Alas, the apparent Duplex Set-Up stratagem suggests otherwise.

East and West

News reporting on the approval of duplex in RS has raised a point that merits elaboration. The general point is stated by urban planner Andy Yan in a Vancouver Sun article of 21 September 2018 [1]:



More than five years ago Eye on Norquay quantified east-west population disparity in Vancouver [2]:



This new RS-to-duplex maneuver promises to widen that east-west population gap even further.

Supplyist Enthusiasms

A recent networking of supplyists has made a thing out of hit-squadding on public hearings. These activists profess a two-fold belief:

        Any form of denser new housing anywhere is a priori good.
        The economics and the social consequences do not matter, since housing is in crisis.

Supplyists front-loaded this public hearing, and may now revel in imagining that they have romped over the enemy in a major skirmish. Perhaps they have, assuming their creed is the only metric.

A bit further into the first evening, one supplyist (with academic background in study of airbnb) offered up a profusive hardshell trickledown credo, and lavished onto the duplex initiative a personal testimony of faith, love, and especially hope. The core of the expressed hope: anyone who buys a new duplex for around $1.5 million will free up other more affordable housing further down the cost ladder. But never mind about what is demolished to build the new. Systematic thinking would recognize that this fervor encompasses the general economics of neoliberal trickledown. But no question about that was put to the speaker.

A Few Devilish Details

In a nutshell. The application of duplex potential to existing RS zoning, as presently formulated, seems fated to languish with little uptake. What canny developer would rush to replace RS with duplex at FSR 0.7 [3] when they can instead pillage so much present (and near-term-future) RT zoning for

        7% MORE FSR?

That is 0.75 instead of 0.7. This differential looks like a sneaky way to appease pressures for increased density on paper, yet to maintain west-side privilege on the ground. Meanwhile naive supplyists subside into reveries of recent conquest.

Nailing down the specifics of the zoning details is mind-numbing and time-consuming work. First note that the RT zoning currently set at FSR 0.75 encompasses RT-5, RT-8, RT-9, and RT-11 [4]. Item 6 of the 18 September 2018 public hearing [5] — deferred into the indefinite future during the public hearing on the
RS-to-duplex Item 5 — would have upped to 0.75 the FSR in Kitsilano’s RT-7 and Cedar Cottage’s RT-10.

Heaping Density onto Existing Density

The net effect of the RS-to-duplex public hearing is to incentivize builders who operate under the new duplex zoning to zero in on the already denser RT zones.

On the 21 July 2016 zoning map displayed above (the seriously out-of-date version currently provided by City of Vancouver), RT zoning is the yellow sectors that collar the downtown core, stretch along Kingsway, and jump off into Marpole. Vancouver’s last decade of “new community planning” has consistently dumped new density onto existing density, in targeted local areas that already suffer disadvantage. The disparity trend continues under the guise of a specious universality.

Equity and “Next Steps”

A true concern for equity would suggest the simple solution of setting FSR at 0.75 for the RS-to-duplex, rather than the 0.7 that was proposed and approved. The problem with that approach is that the 7% increase would generate land lift — a result unwanted by the City — for some sixty thousand properties across Vancouver. That lift would go on top of the land price increase that already seems likely. A priori, how could adding two-for-one opportunity into existing zonings not result in some land value increase?

What is the bottom line of today’s apparent agenda? How to pretend to upzone widely, while preserving traditional east-west disparity. See? That little mass rezoning hardly made any difference at all. You silly fearful people. Now, what’ll we do next?

Sneak preview [3]:

        Floor area allowances combined with parking relaxations could be increased to incentivize
        duplex /triplex/fourplex development while floor area reduced to discourage new single-family
        homes (especially houses built without secondary suites)

•   •   •   •   •   •   •

Joanne Lee-Young. Developers, candidates and planners argue over Vancouver’s move to allow duplexes. Vancouver Sun (21 Sept 2018)

East Van Gentrification: Norquay at the Eye of the Hurricane

Page 6 of Amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law for Most RS Zones to Allow Two-Family Dwellings (Duplexes) to Increase Housing Choice

Zoning schedules (relevant section is 4.7.) are viewable at:

Pages 7-8 and 10-11 of:
Amendments to the Zoning and Development By-law for RT-7 and RT-8 Zones (Kitsilano) and RT-10 and RT-10N Zones (Kensington-Cedar Cottage) to Increase Housing Choice


Written by eyeonnorquay

23 September 2018 at 4:20 pm

Posted in East & West, Events, Maps, News

Gladstone Secondary

with 2 comments

The following letter about the possible closure of Gladstone Secondary was sent to the Vancouver School Board on 19 September 2016. For things you can do see the appended letter sent out by MLA Adrian Dix.

To: Mike Lombardi (VSB Chair)
Joy Alexander, Patti Bacchus, Fraser Ballantyne, Janet Fraser, Penny Noble, Christopher Richardson, Stacy Robertson, Allan Wong, Timme Zhao (VSB Trustees)

As residents of the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre, we are concerned about the impact that the closure of Gladstone Secondary School would have on Norquay. An extensive recent City of Vancouver planning process has defined this area as an integrated new community.

The basic vision for the Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre is for a complete community: a place where people have housing choices that meet their needs, where there are local shops and services that provide the goods of daily life, where there are public spaces and places for people to meet and engage in community life, and where people can move easily and without a car to access places to work, play, and shop. (Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre Plan, Section 2.2, p. 14. Approved by Council November 2010.)

Norquay has not traditionally included the concentration of amenities and services that many neighbourhood shopping areas can boast. We have no library, no community centre or neighbourhood house, no swimming pool or ice rink.

But Gladstone Secondary School is located only 1 block north of the Norquay boundary. Most of Norquay lies within the Gladstone catchment area, where 71% of Gladstone students live.


The school acts as an important cohesive force in the Norquay community in several ways.

1.  Teens connect with other teens in their neighbourhood when they attend school classes and extra-curricular activities.

2.  Most Norquay students in the Gladstone catchment area live close enough to walk to school. They become more familiar with their neighbourhood en route.

3.  Families of students connect with other families in their neighbourhood through their involvement in school activities.

4.  Community space is available for meetings and other activities. Together with Norquay’s elementary schools (Norquay and Cunningham), Gladstone provides the only community space in the neighbourhood.

The Norquay Plan strongly encourages new housing types for families. Five thousand new residents are expected to move into the neighbourhood during its 30-year lifespan, a population increase of 50%. By rough estimate, more than 2000 of these expected new residents will be living in Norquay by 2020.

If Gladstone is closed, most Norquay secondary students will live in the extreme southwest corner of the new Windermere catchment area, too far away to walk to school. The Renfrew Ravine and the SkyTrain are barriers that limit access routes to Windermere from Norquay, and make the school feel even farther away than it appears to be on a map. Windermere can never be an effective focal point for Norquay.

We believe that Norquay needs the presence of Gladstone Secondary School to function as a “complete community.” We ask that you remove Gladstone from the list of schools to be considered for closure.

Jeanette and Joseph Jones

Letter from Vancouver-Kingsway MLA Adrian Dix

19 September 2016

Dear Gladstone, Bruce and Carleton Supporter,

This is a crucial week for the future of Gladstone Secondary, Graham Bruce Elementary and Carleton Elementary. Next Monday September 26th at 7pm, the Vancouver Board of Education will be voting on whether to move our schools and others on the list onto the next stage of the school closure process. It is our first chance to remove Gladstone, Bruce and Carleton from the list and it is very important that we have a huge turnout.

What can you do?

1.  Attend the VSB meeting on Sept 26th! Bring signs and make your voices heard. Location: Charles Tupper Secondary (419 East 24th Ave), starting at 7 pm.

2.  Write a letter to trustees (by email). Their emails can be found here. There are many arguments that can be made for all the schools, please read the following three op-eds for more information on Gladstone, Bruce and Carleton.)

3.  Sign the Petition. Close to 13,000 people have signed so far!

4.  Take a lawn sign.

In response to the VSB’s staff report, we will be working with parents and students to write a detailed report and release it to the trustees and public by Thurs, Sept 22. Our report will address detailed issues of enrolment (current and future), catchments, development, programs, the vulnerability of school populations, traffic, child care and importance of these schools in the community. We will also be working to meet with trustees face-to-face to make our case.

Here is the schedule of other action items this week:

Tuesday September 20th, 2016 afternoon at Vancouver City Hall: The City Council will be voting on a motion opposing school closures.

Tuesday September 20th, 7 pm: A major rezoning and increase in density as part of the Joyce-Collingwood Precinct Plan will be voted on by Vancouver City Council. This has significant implications for the Graham Bruce, Grenfell and Carleton catchments.

Wednesday September 21st, Gladstone students/parents organizing meeting at Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood House, at 3:30pm. It’s immediately followed by a student-only “presentation skills” session led by Mimi Nguyen of Cedar Cottage.

Thursday September 22nd, Door-to-door petition and letter-writing drive to Save Gladstone. Starting at 4 pm from Nanaimo Skytrain Station.

Thursday/Friday September 22nd-23rd – Presentation of detailed responses, petition and letters to Trustees.

Sunday September 25th – Petition drive and preparation for meeting on Monday September 26th. Location to be determined.

Monday September 26th – VSB School Closure Meeting, Charles Tupper Secondary, 7 pm (419 East 24th Ave).

There are also many other petitioning and organizing meetings all week. Please stay tuned. And we need all of you at Charles Tupper on Monday!


Adrian Dix, MLA Vancouver-Kingsway
5022 Joyce St, Vancouver, BC V5R 4G6 | Phone: 604-660-0314 | Fax: 604-660-1131

Written by eyeonnorquay

20 September 2016 at 9:00 am

Toddlers and Infants

leave a comment »

The mapping below of 2010/2011 data on toddler-and-infant (ages 4 and under) distribution in Vancouver raises a big question for Norquay (outlined in purple).


Why did City of Vancouver planners repeatedly put this mantra question to Norquay residents:

        Don’t you want YOUR neighborhood to be affordable for young families?

Our never-answered question back was:

        Why us? Aren’t there other areas with less demographic and social mix
        and density that need this mass rezoning way more than we do?

This map makes it clear that Norquay already occupied the heart of family-friendly Vancouver territory.

Deliberate acceleration of the rate of redevelopment in one of Vancouver’s most affordable areas was a tactic (1) to make money for developers (2) to hasten elimination of the existing older affordable housing that makes it possible for young families to remain in Vancouver.

File this posting under: What Planners Like to Tell You

Note: Mapping of 2010/2011 Statistics Canada by Jens von Bergmann on 18 September 2015.
Original version at

Written by eyeonnorquay

14 December 2015 at 4:17 pm

Posted in Maps


leave a comment »

… as Partial Answer to “Why Norquay?”

A never-answered question for Norquay residents:

        How and why did planners select this particular half of a square mile to become
        Vancouver’s second mass-rezoned “neighbourhood centre” under CityPlan?

In the earlier days, probably in 2007, then Director of Planning Brent Toderian blustered something like this as a response: “Why, neighborhoods are lining up for this opportunity!” Subtext: You should consider yourselves fortunate. Fact content: Zero. Reality: Norquay clearly and consistently did the exact opposite of line up.

At the RM-9A open house on 23 September 2015, this same question was overheard being put to a planner by a very unhappy Norquay resident. “Why us?” Still no good answer.

Back in mid-2011, Joseph Jones attempted a Freedom of Information request for


The City of Vancouver offered to accept $540 “to conduct this search” (estimate only!). What sucker would pay that amount for the likelihood of hearing back some combination of (a) the little already found without assistance, or (b) nothing, or (c) shreds of documents redacted into meaningless unreadability? This is one specific example of how City of Vancouver walls off from public scrutiny what it does in the back rooms.

On 17 November 2015, Jens von Bergmann provided a mapping of 2011 Canadian census data that “shows the percentage of the population that are immigrants” — excluding non-permanent residents. The overlay of a Norquay outline onto a screen grab of Vancouver mapping quickly conveys a lot about our area’s immigrant component and our Vancouver context.


If a bomber pilot were assigned the task of trying to take out as much of immigrant Vancouver as possible with one hit, that pilot could hardly do better than to unload on Norquay and hope for wide radius effect.

An immigrant population offers up to the hierarchy of politicians and developers and planners an especially vulnerable target: inexperience with new culture, uncertainty with foreign language, desire to avoid interaction with government, immersion in attempting to establish a new economic life, etc.

A graphic personal story has already been told at Eye on Norquay as Unheard Voices.

Consider this November 2005 justification for selecting Norquay:

        It also ranks first in terms of need for public realm and pedestrian safety improvements,
        based on a review of data from Neighbourhood Centres across all Vision areas.  (p. 2)

        Planning for Norquay Village Neighbourhood Centre

Ten years onward, the City of Vancouver itself has done almost nothing to enhance the Norquay area. Meanwhile, rapid redevelopment slaps us in the face every day with the value extraction (construction nuisance, profits, fees, sequestered levies, increased property taxes) that mass rezoning has triggered.

Written by eyeonnorquay

21 November 2015 at 10:55 am

Posted in Context, History, Maps

Galt Street Sidewalks

leave a comment »

Absence of sidewalks in the general area of the Rental 100 development proposed for 2312-2328 Galt Street subjects all pedestrians to unsafe conditions and puts children at special risk. Streets are lined in red below where there are no sidewalks.


The site is one block west of Nanaimo Street and one block north of Kingsway. This location is subject to Norquay’s Apartment Transition Area Rezoning Policy. The proposed 28 units are all 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom, appropriate spaces to accommodate families. Units range in size from 630 sq. ft. to 1090 sq. ft.

Key walking distances for the location include one block to General Brock Park, about three blocks to the Terry Taylor Daycare Centre, 800 meters to Norquay Elementary School, and 700 meters to Gladstone Secondary School. The routes for buses 19, 25, and 33 are nearby, and the Nanaimo Skytrain Station lies 700 meters to the north.

Does this sound like a good location for family housing? It is. But lack of sidewalks presents a major problem. Residents of this building would not be able to reach any destination without walking in the street. The only sidewalk in the immediate area fronts nine contiguous recently developed properties just to the west, along the south side of Galt Street. But this small section of recent developer-provided sidewalk connects to nothing — appended Photo 1 of 5.

To permit this development in this location would clearly contravene longstanding City of Vancouver policy:

Families with children should have reasonable and effective access to essential community services and recreational amenities. … Effective access means a walking route which is both safe … and secure (having an environment suitable for elementary school children).
High Density Housing for Families With Children Guidelines  (Section 2.1)

If this development proposal is approved, a condition of that approval must see the City of Vancouver commit to extending existing partial sidewalk eastward along the south side of Galt Street to make connection to Nanaimo Street. The steep grade and the semi-blind corner make this portion of the street an especially hazardous place to be walking. Even now, 100% use of available Galt Street curb parking is common — appended Photo 2 of 5. The reduced on-site underground parking requirement of Rental 100 can only exacerbate this already untenable situation. The great number of routinely parked curbside vehicles reduces available road space, increases traffic in the area, and impairs visibility for both drivers and pedestrians as they access roadway for sidewalk use.

Furthermore, a new connecting sidewalk must be provided along one side of Baldwin Street, for the entire block, to provide safe access to General Brock Park. The curve on Baldwin Street means a driver cannot see from one end of the block to the other — appended Photos 3 of 5 and 4 of 5.

The underground parking that serves the 94 residential units of 2239 Kingsway has already greatly increased traffic flow along Galt Street and Baldwin Street — appended Photo 5 of 5.

The City of Vancouver’s Transportation 2040 planning document states:

        Pedestrians will continue to be the City’s top transportation priority.  (p. 19)

The City of Vancouver must respect its own stated priority for pedestrians.

Photo Appendix

     Photo 1 of 5 — Eastern End of Galt Street Sidewalk Section

     Photo 2 of 5 — Curb Parking Unavailable along Galt Street (Morning of 11 April 2015)

     Photo 3 of 5 — View to North along Baldwin Street (from Proposed Galt Street Site)

     Photo 4 of 5 — View to South along Baldwin Street (from Brock Park)

     Photo 5 of 5 — Lane Connecting 2239 Kingsway Underground Parking to Galt Street

Written by eyeonnorquay

12 April 2015 at 11:48 pm

To Top It Off

leave a comment »

For a long time, the final item on the extensive Norquay timeline has read:

        Uncertain:  Planning for the SkyTrain area of Norquay that planners excluded on 2 Nov 2009

Background:  Norquay planning officially “kicked off” in March 2006. After years of engagement, the Director of Planning sailed into a 2 November 2009 meeting to declare that the northern section of Norquay would no longer exist. That carve-out disrespected quite a few Norquay Working Group participants. In one instant, Vancouver city planning trashed their months of investment in working on a plan and threw their future into limbo. This is what Vancouver calls planning. Norquay residents call it abuse.

     The November 2009 Norquay Exclusion Outlined in Red

Note:  A mapping of the original core Norquay “neighbourhood centre” plus its various accretions can be found at ]

Until now, the only inkling we’ve had of this murky future has been these few highlighted words in the closing sentence of Community Plans: Next Steps, a report that went to Council on 25 September 2013 [1]:

Staff also note that significantly extending more than one planning process would impact the Planning and Development Services Department’s ability to deliver on other Council priorities for area planning, including Cambie Corridor Phase 3, Broadway Corridor, the Eastern Core, South East False Creek, North East False Creek and other Station Areas (such as Nanaimo and 29th Avenue).  (p. 15)

Thanks to a CityHallWatch video record [2], Eye on Norquay is able to provide the following easy-access transcript of a second inkling. On 30 July 2014 Brian Jackson (General Manager, Planning and Development Services, City of Vancouver) spoke to Vancouver City Planning Commission [3] for sixteen minutes [0:00 to 15:58]. His overview of recent and upcoming City of Vancouver planning activities included two segments specific to Norquay.

     Brian Jackson  (credit: CityHallWatch)

Brian Jackson   0:44 to 1:22

But in addition to the three large areas that we’ve approved — or that Council has approved [as?] we recommended, we can’t forget we also did the implementation strategy for Norquay — we finished that, we finished the Mount Pleasant implementation strategy, we did a new policy statement for Pearson Dogwood, we did a new policy statement slash structure plan for Great Northern Way. So it’s been an incredible year as far as policy is concerned. All of this is taking place in 2014, which is going to prove to be our busiest year ever in terms of development applications.

Comment —  The implementation strategy for Norquay was created by planning staff with no resident involvement, other than a one-time opportunity to react to what staff cooked up. Norquay Working Group was terminated on 3 February 2011, and promised new groups for public benefits strategy and for public realm planning were never allowed to form. Meanwhile, the parallel implementation strategy for Mount Pleasant crammed a planning staff agenda down the throats of a very unhappy implementation committee. These were probably the last such resident “involvements” that Vancouver city planning will ever allow. (Also notice Jackson’s rhetoric: the backtrack from saying that planning did the approving, and the language surrounding mention of Norquay — “we can’t forget” and the redundancy of “we finished that.”)

Brian Jackson   14:04 to 14:40

And then, to top it off, our other proposal is for doing some station area planning around two of the Millennium Line stations at 29th and Nanaimo which have development opportunities, and the community itself is very interested in taking a look at what could happen around the immediate station area. So, I’m mentioning that last, because we’ve got a lot on our plate, and it may take us a while to get to those last things, so those things are looking like they’re mid to late 2015.

Comment —  Far closer to the truth:  the “community itself” dreads a second all-take-no-give planning incursion — except perhaps for developers who have assembled land or profiteers who expect to cash out and escape. “What could happen”? Surely not tall towers! But right now the “plate” is filled with seeing just how tall a tower can be forced onto the Safeway site in northern Cedar Cottage as part of the technically adjacent Grandview Woodland plan.

•   •   •   •   •   •   

[1]  Community Plans: Next Steps  (25 Sept 2013)

[2]  Brian Jackson’s status report to Vancouver City Planning Commission

[3]  Vancouver City Planning Commission — Agenda, 30 July 2014

See also:

Brian Jackson charts future path at Vancouver City Planning Commission meeting
CityHallWatch posting of 6 August 2014

Written by eyeonnorquay

8 August 2014 at 8:29 pm

Starbucks Desert

leave a comment »

Some time ago, Eye on Norquay attempted to do a freedom of information request, to retrieve the planning criteria that led to Norquay being fixed in City of Vancouver crosshairs for the second “neighbourhood centre.”

All that came back was an offer to charge about $500 to make the attempt (and likely return three sheets of paper with everything blacked out).

Chad Skelton’s recent visualization of the Starbuckification of Vancouver promised to offer insight into this ongoing Norquay mystery. And all for free — excluding the labor of dropping a Norquay outline onto the mapping.

The effort confirmed the intuition. Norquay is a pinkish-to-red Starbucks desert. See?


Conclusion:  Planners decided that any area of Vancouver that was so Starbucks-starved must need fixing. Like a wary cat, whether it wanted fixing or not. Thus did Norquay get mass rezoned for a “neighbourhood centre” against its will.

Guess what? Four years onward, there still isn’t a Starbucks. Here’s betting that particular incursion will be a long time coming. And that’s OK, since Starbuckification is a synonym for gentrification.

By the way, it’s looking more and more like Westbank miscalculated by trying to plop its product at 2220 Kingsway. Surprise, surprise.

Written by eyeonnorquay

5 July 2014 at 11:13 pm

Posted in Humor, Maps