Calling All Renters. Monday, June 6th

  • Worried about rent increases and renovictions? 
  • Nowhere to move because everything has got so expensive? 

The City of Vancouver will release a new neighbourhood plan for Grandview-Woodland this summer or fall. The plan will likely bring even more development and pressure on rent. Join us to talk with activists from neighbourhoods that have already been through the planning process and are fighting for the rights of renters. Find out about their struggles, the pressures on Co-ops, and policies in Vancouver that affect renters. Let’s talk about what we can do to make secure and stable rental homes in Grandview-Woodland.

June 6, 2016 (Monday)
7 to 9pm

Canuck Family Education Centre
1655 William Street, entrance off Grandview Park
Speakers TBA

Here are a few links to tenant resources for background information only:

After June 6th, the next two GWAC community meetings will be held on July 11th and September 12th. The themes for these upcoming meetings will be announced in the near future.


Analysis of 5-storey infill proposal at 1102 Commercial Drive. Public input due May 20th

A proposal for a 5-storey infill building has been filed for 1102 Commercial Drive, at the corner of Napier Street. Many residents of Grandview-Woodland will know the site by the current two-storey building with Moja coffee, and formerly containing the Florida Market.

The City of Vancouver has provided an opportunity for public feedback on this proposal. Comments can be made on or before Friday, May 20th for staff consideration in the review (the wepage also notes: “However, comments will be considered up until the date of decision”). Further details are on the City of Vancouver’s website:

Comments can be sent directly to City staff via email: (604-871-6412)
and to (604-871-6703)
Please note that the planner now assigned to the proposal is Sangeeta Vishwakarma, the previous contact was

There are a number of issues with this proposed 5-storey development, the most serious of which is that it does not appear to conform to the limits set under the current zoning bylaw.

Current zoning does not allow for:
• a 5-storey, 48.5 ft tall building anywhere on the site
• a setback of 7.16 feet is not permitted in the rear under any circumstance (the 5-storey building wall would be 2.16 metres from the laneway)

Furthermore, there are issues of scale, fit and neighbourliness. One of the urban design conventions in the “C-2” zones is to have a building step back toward the laneway so that the scale transitions from a 3 or 4-storey building along an arterial road to housing on residential blocks. Across from the laneway to the east are a couple of duplex, two-storey ‘Vancouver specials’ on 33’ lots (10.5m wide). The proposed abrupt change in scale is not neighbourly. As well, there will be issues not just with privacy, but with shade later in the afternoon.

Based on the width of the lane, a minimum building setback of 15.1 feet in the rear would be required, even when allowing for the maximum relaxation outlined in section 4.6.2 of the C-2C1 zoning bylaw.

The current building height that is allowed outright is 10.7 metres, or 35 feet (for 3-storeys).  A relaxation can be requested to a height not exceeding 13.8 metres (45 feet) that could allow for a 4-storey building. The regulations do not allow for a further relaxation on the relaxation to exceed the maximum height on this site.

The proposal would see the removal of a tall, mature street tree. Work would need to be done on the hydro lines as well on the laneway.

The suggested choice of siding installed “using pre-formed pre-coloured aluminum joint materials” is not compatible with the recently renovated building frontage on Commercial nor is it neighbourly and sensitive to the materials in the buildings in the vicinity.

A single information sign is tucked away around the corner of the site on Napier Street, there is no information sign posted prominently at the 1102 Commercial Drive address. This has limited the ability of the public to comment on the project.

The City’s description of the proposal is as follows:
• retaining the existing two-storey Heritage B building;
• a new five-storey infill residential building with 8 secure market rental units at the rear of this site;
• a proposed maximum height of approximately 48.5 feet;
• a proposed floor space ratio 2.7 (approximately 10107.5 square feet);
• one-car share parking space having vehicular access from the lane; and
• removal of one street tree on Napier Street.

The zoning bylaw is available here :

Setting the record straight
As a result of the ongoing Grandview-Woodland Community Plan, there is a freeze on new rezoning applications. This 5-storey infill proposal is a Development Permit Application that would require the approval of City staff to proceed. City staff can only permit the application if it is allowed under existing zoning.

Zoning limits what you can and cannot do on property. This proposal exceeds current zoning limits, and none of the relaxations outlined in section 5 of the C-2C1 bylaws apply to this site condition. City Council, and not staff, have the power to rezone land in Vancouver.

The City of Vancouver has a series of predefined zoning types that are commonly used for commercial districts along arterial streets. The Drive uses variants of the “C-2” zoning that are also used along Kingsway, Fraser, parts of Main Street, West 4th Avenue and East Hastings and Nanaimo. The specific variant of C-2 used along this stretch of Commercial Drive is C-2C1.

According to the information sign, the current Acting Director of Planning, Jane Pickering (email:, will review this proposal behind closed doors. The zoning alternately allows for review of this proposal in the public by the Development Permit Board (DPB).

Indigenous People, The Law & Sovereignty: Bill Lightbown, Friday May 13th (6:30-9pm)

Bill Lightbown, Kootenai Elder, Historian and Social Organizer
Friday May 13th, 6:30- 9:00pm at Britannia Community Centre Canuck Family Education Centre (1655 William St)

ALIVE with key partners will be launching the Knowledge Keepers dialogue series, in which we bring forward key individuals (Indigenous and Non Indigenous) who have worked towards social justice with Indigenous peoples. The intent of the series to build off our existing Reconciliation In Action strategy to get all local residents engaged to learn of the Indigenous struggle and find ways to move forward together.

Bill Lightbown is 89 years old and going strong and first moved to Grandview-Woodland in 1942 . He has spent over 60 years on behalf of Indigenous peoples advocating for all Indigenous peoples, regardless of Indian Act status or residency. He assisted in creating BC Association of Non Status Indians (BCANSI) in 1969 (later to become United Native Nations) and is a founder of the newly created Northwest Indigenous Council (NWIC) in 2015.

Jane’s Walk on the Drive: Sunday, May 8th, 1-3pm

This year is the 10th anniversary of the “Jane’s Walks” events that are held worldwide. The idea behind the walks is to get out and experience neighbourhoods by walking, and these events are inspired by the writings of famous Urbanist Jane Jacobs.

The Jane’s Walk in Grandview-Woodland will last approximately 2 hours. We’ll be looking at heritage, urban design and the evolution of the Drive over time.

Start time: Sunday, May 8th, 1pm
Meeting Place: In front of Bump ‘n Grind Cafe, 916 Commercial Drive (just south of Venables)
Walk title: Human Scale Urbanism on the Drive (website)

GWAC is co-sponsoring the Jane’s Walk on the Drive, along with the Grandview Heritage Group. A number of other walks are planned in and around Vancouver between May 6th and May 8th. The full list of events can be found on the main Jane’s Walk website.

[Update: here’s a photo from the walk. We were honoured to be joined by Ned Jacobs, Jane’s son, on a glorious day]

In Review: Transportation Changes in Grandview-Woodland (May 2)

Guest speaker Lon LaClaire from the City of Vancouver provided many updates to upcoming transportation changes in and around Grandview-Woodland at the GWAC meeting on Monday, May 2nd, 2016. Mr. LaClaire was also able to answer many questions from the audience during a wide-ranging question and answer session. Detailed minutes of the meeting are posted below for future reference. Thanks to all who attended and joined the discussion!

Notes from GWAC Public Meeting on May 2, 2016

Transportation in Grandview Woodland

Presentation by Lon LaClaire:  Director of Transportation, City of Vancouver

A lot is going on in transportation at the City, and a lot that potentially affects GW.  Some projects, are in the implementation phase; on others, the City is still developing plans. 

The Transportation 2040 plan ( is linked to the Healthy City Strategy, Economic Action Plan, and Greenest City Action Plan.  Transportation is a big part of achieving those other objectives.  Transportation 2040 targets include having 1/2 of all trips be by foot, bike, or transit by 2020. By 2040, 2/3 of all trips will be by bike, transit, or on foot.  The City needs to reduce the proportion and total number of motor vehicle trips, and has to accommodate more trips every single year as more people move here.  Our road network is largely built out, so we cannot double or really increase at all the number of car trips.  Therefore we need to move people by other modes, and to reduce the number of vehicles in total by 2040.  We need to reallocate a bit of the road space toward walking, cycling and transit. 

Our roads are generally becoming safer.  We want to make sure this continues and have a zero fatality safety target.

Continue reading “In Review: Transportation Changes in Grandview-Woodland (May 2)”