Alma Blackwell Presentation & Petition

Entre Nous Femmes Housing Society (ENFHS) is redeveloping Alma Blackwell (AB) (1656 Adanac Street) – destroying a building that is iconic in East Vancouver, a visible legacy of feminism and the struggle for decent, low rise rental housing, pioneered by single mothers – without considering repair of the building and is sending people who need affordable housing into the street to build affordable housing for other people.

GWAC hosted a meeting of the tenants of the Alma Blackwell Society recently.

View the presentation here–>https://tinyurl.com/jjy6up7v

View their movie here—>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a18gfooZhxM

Please take a moment to sign their petition here—>https://tinyurl.com/364zxara

The Killing of Alma Blackwell

Written by Jak King. Link to the Full article here–>https://jaksview3.wordpress.com/2021/09/14/the-killing-of-alma-blackwell/

In the early 1980s, a small group of women decided they needed a safe affordable place to live and to develop a community for women and their children. To achieve their ends, they established a Housing Society called “Entre Nous Femmes” which eventually built and developed the 46-unit Alma Blackwell housing project at 1656 Adanac Street, named after the grandmother of one of the group’s founders.

Alma Blackwell rapidly became the community the founders hoped for. Many women in need and their children lived in the housing project, often for decades. It has continued to thrive as a community and its success created the ability for the Housing Society to build more and more similar projects until today, ENF has eleven buildings in Vancouver.

Although not legally structured as a co-op, the ENF project operated within that milieu: the residents helped build and maintain the buildings, and controlled the Society. However, as the years passed, the governance became more and more removed from the residents, more distant, until today the residents are not only not allowed to be directors of the society, and are routinely refused access to the Society’s minutes, they even find it difficult to find out who is a director of their Society.

That change in governance has been matched by the recent unwillingness of the Society to maintain the property in a fit and livable manner. Moreover, a number of vacancies have occurred over the last couple of years which the Society has seen fit not to fill — even while the City suffers its worst ever housing crisis. This led to suspicions that something big was afoot — but the Society would not explain to the residents except to suggest that the Society did not have the funds needed to keep the building in good repair. When asked for details of the repair costs, the Society refused to respond to residents’ requests.

In April this year, Vancouver City Council approved a motion that doubled the height of buildings allowed in certain zones, including the RM-3A zone in which Alma Bakewell sits. Almost immediately thereafter, plans to demolish Alma Bakewell and replace it with a much larger building were bruited and the residents were given, by a consultant hired by the Society, an unofficial official eviction notice.

Since that time, the Society has essentially refused to speak with the residents except to pressure several of them to accept relocation to other facilities. The Society has no formal Tenant Relocation Plan, is not offering any compensation, and in at least one case offered a resident a mere 24 hours to decide whether she and her child would move from the their decades-long home and move to another building, the details of which were not disclosed.

This story, and plenty of others, were movingly told by Alma Bakewell residents at last night’s Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC) meeting. All the talk was about how great a community had been fostered at Alma Bakewell; people have lived there long enough to have children and grandchildren. They are a close-knit family-like community with good and close ties to the rest of the neighbourhood. Many of the residents are teachers at Britannia.

It seemed a unanimous opinion of the large gathering at the meeting that it is simply ridiculous to destroy a perfectly good low-income community just to build a larger facility that will have to start from scratch once again after a gap of who-knows-how-many years. It is pointless from a neighbourhood point of view, and it is highly destructive to the current residents, families who have spent years developing and nurturing that community.

Councillor Jean Swanson attended the meeting and will be asking a number of questions of staff. However, she was pessimistic about the chances of reversing the course of this development, given the current majority on Council and the previously-approved zoning adjustment. No matter. The wider Grandview community needs to speak up about this, and I hope we can speak so loudly that we cannot be ignored.

The Future of Alma Blackwell

Join the Grandview Woodland Area Council for

A Discussion about the Future of Alma Blackwell
This Monday, September 13th at 7:00PM
 

Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/82239470035Meeting ID: 822 3947 0035Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kehXdP7te4  

The topic of this month’s meeting is the renovictions and demovictions of apartment buildings in Grandview as a direct result of changes in zoning.

Steve Bohus will provide us with a bit of the background and an overview of what’s been happening in Grandview since the Grandview-Woodland Community Plan was approved by Council, including the changes that were introduced only last April. These have had a profound impact on potential redevelopment of perfectly good mature housing stock. 


After Steve’s summary, we’ll hear first-hand from the people who live at the 1970s Alma Blackwell development on Adanac Street, who are in danger of losing their current secure housing. Rather than repairing and maintaining the development and keeping their tight-knit community together, the society that manages their project, Entre Nous Femmes Housing Society, intends to demolish it and build new — taller buildings with smaller units. 

HELP REQUESTED FOR DRY TREES!

Joe McLeod, city arborist and supervisor of urban forestry for Vancouver, is asking residents to water dry trees on Vancouver Boulevards twice a week, for up to a 10-minute period.

It’s best to water the trees under the entire canopy of the trees, between the stem and the farthest branch.

Watering should be done early in the morning or in the evening to avoid water losses from evaporation.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vancouver-trees-dry-out-1.6091094?fbclid=IwAR3ClWeiCwARCdJ7jRarUVpixe-CCFUxiC5lXwLLK2o8jjw833FvMEZHiJs

GWAC July Meeting – Monday, July 5th. A Discussion about Rats, Other “Urban Wildlife” and Tips for How to Live with Them

Join the Grandview Woodland Area Council for

Understanding Vancouver Rats
A Discussion about Rats, Other “Urban Wildlife”
and Tips for How to Live with Them
This Monday, July 5th at 7:00PM

Dr. Kaylee Byers will speak about the Vancouver Rat Project, Canada’s first interdisciplinary program of research which studies urban rats, the risks they pose to human health, and how we can better manage and live with them. Bring your questions.

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88924939957?pwd=QzJwV1hadjZLeDJ5R0pVZ24rSFRPUT09
Meeting ID: 889 2493 9957, Passcode: 105840

Just a reminder that there will be no August meeting during our usual summer break. See you all in September.


Community Updates:

No Megatowers at Safeway
The No Megatowers citizens’ group has lawn signs available for supporters. If you’d like a sign, get in touch at: fightthefortress@gmail.com.
More information at: nosafewaymegatowers.ca.

Join the conversation on non-market housing on Britannia Community Centre campus

For reference, we’ve reproduced the following details about meetings related to the topic of non-market housing on the Britannia Community Centre Campus:

JOIN THE CONVERSATION ON NON-MARKET HOUSING The Britannia Renewal Master Plan identifies opportunities to locate non-market housing at the renewed Britannia site. Help us understand opportunities and concerns relating to this by sharing your thoughts at one of our online events: WHAT? Community Conversations: Non-Market Housing 

WHERE? On Zoom by link Or call 7789072071 

WHEN? Saturday, June 19, 10 am – noon https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83652487283?pwd=ZytPaU94VDFFV3h4aTJ1ZGN4SEREdz09 [us02web.zoom.us]
Meeting ID: 836 5248 7283
Passcode: 435320

Tuesday, June 22, 2 – 4 pm Join Zoom Meetinghttps://us02web.zoom.us/j/84428374784?pwd=VXdBZndHNW9SWUxQcVR4Nk0vWnREdz09 [us02web.zoom.us]Meeting ID: 844 2837 4784Passcode: 282588

Thursday, June 24, 6:30 – 8:30 pm https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82391816558?pwd=QTJBMDYvdm5xcDVMN2R4WUhpdEFQQT09 [us02web.zoom.us]Meeting ID: 823 9181 6558Passcode: 560897

COMING SOON: In fall 2021, partners will be facilitating more Non-Market Community Conversations that will include initial discussions on height, density and the potential number of units of non-market housing. https://shapeyourcity.ca/britannia-renewal
Contact the Britannia Society website http://britanniarenewal.org/, the Information Centre at 604-718-5800 (ext. 1) or info@britanniacentre.org for more details. 

A Discussion about Temporary Modular Housing

1580 Vernon Drive

Join the Grandview Woodland Area Council for A Discussion about Temporary Modular Housing
on Monday, June 7th at 7:00PM

Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89426499490?pwd=S1ZrZE5HaGwzcUFzZGFSVndIWGNWUT09
Meeting ID: 894 2649 9490, Passcode: 118142 
Find out more about the Temporary Modular Housing (TMH) units that are nearing completion at 1st and Clark.

BC Housing in partnership with the City of Vancouver announced plans to provide 98 units of housing for people experiencing homelessness last September.

We’ve invited the operator, Community Builders Group, to speak about the upcoming opening of the TMH at 1580 Vernon. The new housing is expected to have occupancy in mid-July.

Learn more about the Temporary Modular Housing and how it fits in with initiatives to help people who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness.

Continue reading “A Discussion about Temporary Modular Housing”

1885 E Pender St Rezoning Application

We would like your feedback on a rezoning application at 1885 E Pender St. The proposal is to allow for the development of a 6-storey social housing building for the Aaron Webster Housing Cooperative. The zoning would change from RM-4 (Residential) to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District. This proposal includes:

  • 64 social housing units as defined by the City of Vancouver’s Zoning and Development Bylaw
  • A floor space ratio (FSR) of 2.92
  • A floor area of 4,805 sq. m (51,718 sq. ft.)
  • A building height of 19.5 m (64 ft.)
  • 29 vehicle parking spaces and 144 bicycle parking spaces

More info or Feedback here: https://shapeyourcity.ca/1885-e-pender-st
Public Hearing: May 18th, 2021

An Interactive Consultation on the Proposal to Add Housing to a Renewed Britannia Community Centre

Susanne Dahlin, Chair of the Britannia Planning and Development Committee, will provide some context for our discussion of the proposal from the City of Vancouver to include up to 300 units of residential housing on the Britannia Community Centre site, as part of the Renewal process.
Following Ms. Dahlin’s introduction, GWAC will lead a series of discussions to better understand the preferences of the participants regarding housing on the community centre site.

Each discussion will be followed by a web poll in which participants can privately declare their preferences. The results of the polls will be shared with the participants and forwarded to Britannia for consideration.
Monday, April 12th at 7:00PM
Zoom LInk: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88413712267?pwd=QjdwdzBHRUxOUXhialJPR2loYWFBZz09

Three Unique Grandview – Woodland community groups to consider Joining for 2021

Grandview Heritage Group
https://grandviewheritagegroup.ca
We meet to talk about the history of the Grandview neighbourhood of Vancouver, BC, including the heritage buildings, commercial history, and the evolution of our dynamic high street, Commercial Drive.
Join us! We meet most months on the third Thursday at 7:00 pm, currently via Zoom. To get in touch with us, email grandviewheritage@gmail.com

Grandview Garden Club
https://grandviewgardenclub.blogspot.com
We have a speaker every month on a topic of relevance to Vancouver gardeners. Yearly membership is $20 and we meet via Zoom on the second Thursday of the month at 7:00 p.m. A Zoom meeting link is sent to members a few days before each meeting. (When we return to face-to-face meetings, we’ll invite occasional drop-ins again.) Our past two meeting topics were “How to use shrubs as small trees in your urban garden” and “Ferns”. The joy of Zoom meetings means we can recruit speakers from outside Vancouver. For April, the talk will be “Attracting birds to your garden”. Join the club!
To get in touch with us, email grandviewgardenclub@gmail.com

Britannia Neighbours
http://britannianeighbours.blogspot.com
We are a little group that looks after the Napier Square Greenway (between Choices and Sweet Cherubim at the Napier St. entry to Britannia). We’ve been maintaining this garden for over 20 years! Weather permitting, we meet most spring, summer, and fall, on Monday afternoons at 3:00 to weed, prune, plant, rake, chat. We learn a lot about gardening and we invite you to join us. Please wear a mask and bring your own tools for COVID safety. For more information email britneighbours@gmail.com