Media Advisory – Grandview-Woodland Area Council does not endorse the Draft Community Plan

GWAC Media Advisory FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 19, 2016


VANCOUVER On July 11th, 2016, residents of Grandview Woodland met to discuss their reactions to the draft Grandview-Woodland Neighbourhood Plan released by the City of Vancouver planning department on June 25th, 2016. Residents expressed fear, frustration, and anger at both the planning process and the Draft Plan itself. Based on feedback from residents, GWAC has released a statement detailing our concerns and the remedies we expect City of Vancouver planners and councilors to take.

“Among the top concerns of residents” said GWAC President Dorothy Barkley, “is having only one summer month to read, digest, and respond to a 250-page document.” Both the Citizens’ Assembly and the planners had almost a year to think about the plan for the neighbourhood. Residents need at least a few months. “GWAC is calling on the City to delay the decision on the Draft Plan to at least November 2016 and to provide a clear mechanism by which resident feedback will be incorporated into the plan.”

At the meeting, renters were particularly fearful of losing both their homes and their communities as a result of demolitions leading to new buildings that will rent at 50% to 100% higher rates than current neighbourhood averages. Residents of the Station Precinct sub-area noted that building heights go beyond resident recommendations and will exacerbate traffic congestion around the local elementary school. Throughout the neighbourhood, residents were outraged that no new park space will be added to this park deficient neighbourhood although the plan will add 9500 new residents. Finally, as one resident noted, much of the Station Precinct, Britannia Woodland, and Cedar Cove areas are open to developer-City negotiation for additional heights, densities, and amenities, a process that privileges profits and amenity contributions over accountability to the neighbourhood.

The city’s Coriolis report confirmed , “The City has sufficient capacity in existing zoning and approved community plans to accommodate over 20 years of supply at the recent pace of residential development.” GWAC questions whether the amount of increased density and height is necessary given that there is already enough capacity city-wide to meet projected population growth and it would put existing more affordable housing and neighbourhood character at risk here in Grandview.

“Based on these concerns, GWAC cannot endorse the Draft Plan” said Barkley. “Instead, we have 5 recommendations for planners and Council.”
They include:

  1. Delay the vote until November 2016 and create a clear mechanism by which feedback can be incorporated into the Draft Plan before it is presented to Council.
  2. Do not allow up-zoning of rental areas until rent controls are applied to new rental buildings so that they are affordable for existing residents and low-income earners. Protect all renters with relocation plans and right of return provisions.
  3. Increase park space proportional to growth and protect existing amenities.
  4. Respect community input on heights, densities, and existing use patterns.
  5. Set firm parameters for development in all areas now and prioritize neighbourhood well-being over developer profits and contributions.

Our neighbourhood and homes are not commodities. We can accommodate growth without losing what we love. We expect the City of Vancouver planning process to respect our concerns and the desires we have for our neighbourhood.
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Dorothy Barkley, Chair Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC)
Jim Fraser, Director Grandview Woodland Area Council (GWAC)