MAYOR & COUNCIL
The Fairview South Granville Action Committee came about after the “Developer’s Open House” for the project which became 2538 Birch St., held in late 2018.
A number of local residents – who didn’t know each other – looked at each other and said “16 floors is fine, but does 28 floors make sense to you?” It didn’t, but what troubled the group more was the developers’ employees smirking at those people and saying words to the effect of “don’t bother fighting, this is going to go through” and “it’s a done deal".
The Action Committee was formed as an outcome of that meeting. Originally, we thought this would be a fight about a single project, until it morphed into something far more substantial, thanks to how City staff stage-managed the Broadway Plan process, including related spot rezonings - among them, the development of the 1477 West Broadway site – all in advance of approval of the Broadway Plan.
Over the past four years your support through readership, emails, letters and participation in the public hearings as well as, in many cases, financial, has strengthened our resolve to encourage proper community engagement on zoning matters, and hold Council accountable for its decisions. We promised we would remind our readers of Councillors’ voting records on these rezonings in time for the municipal election on October 15th: These votes are highlighted in the links that follow:
We hope this information will be helpful as you consider your vote in the upcoming municipal election!
Rezoning Application – 2538 Birch Street (Denny's Site)
For as long as many of us can remember, this site was the location of a Denny’s Restaurant. Jameson Developments bought the site in 2016 and then got approval to build a 16 floor market-rental apartment building – with no subsidies from the City. In 2018 we discovered that Jameson had been approved to participate in the Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program – and was then seeking approval to construct a 28 floor structure. This was ultimately approved by City council in the summer of 2020, by a narrow 6 to 5 vote, as shown below:
Rezoning Application – 1477 West Broadway (RBC Site)
Many of you will remember this as the site of the former Royal Bank of Canada branch at Broadway and Granville.
PCI acquired the site in 2007, and originally applied to build a 14 floor, 200 foot tall building. This would have been slightly higher than other buildings on West Broadway. City staff came back several months later with the helpful suggestion that the developer actually consider building something not 200, but 300 feet tall! We doubt the council of the day was aware of this move by staff.
Staff went through a number of contortions to finesse an urgent need for the rezoning to be approved this past spring: It could have been brought forward almost two years before (which was the developer’s suggestion) but staff implemented a different approach to ensure this didn’t raise any questions about its intentions regarding the building heights under consideration in the Broadway Plan.
The results of the vote on the rezoning application are shown below:
Members of the Action Committee participated in every “Walkshop”, Open House” and Online pseudo consultation. The public was never once asked what they thought the most appropriate form of housing was for the area. (They asked this in connection with the Vancouver Plan, but didn’t explain why the same question wasn’t asked when developing the Broadway Plan).
Staff showed their disdain for public engagement by dropping the 670 page plan on the public a week before it went to council for consideration. Over 300 amendments were proposed to the plan – Councillor Hardwick thought the right thing to do was to refer it back to staff for further work – which was voted down by council in this vote below:
The Broadway Plan was approved by a 7 – 4 vote, as shown below.
The Action Committee thinks it would be helpful to remind people about how much their taxes have gone up under this council.
Let’s assume that when this council took office you were paying $1 in taxes. After the last budget was approved, that same dollar had grown to $1.26. For a council that makes much fervent noise about how important liveability and affordability are to them, they seem to be stunningly tone deaf when it comes to property taxes. We are pretty sure that not many people have seen their wages increase at the pace that City Hall has raised their taxes.
Here are the results of the vote for the budget with the last minute “green” surcharge imposed approved by this council: