West End Neighbours (WEN) counters developers’ misinformation and spin on rezoning hotspots


(Vancouver, October 28, 2010) West End Neighbours today issued a detailed response to misinformation and spin from City Hall and developers. You can download the RELEASE, WEN counters developers’ spin in West End, 28-Oct-2010 and for a full statement go to “For the Record“.

There was much spin in the air long before August 31st, when Mayor Gregor Robertson announced a postponement of the public hearing on the controversial rezoning propose for 1401 Comox Street in the West End (to build a 22-storey tower on what is now a church site; owners Westbank and Peterson Group, and architect Henriquez Partners Architects). But immediately afterward, the Mayor, certain councillors, and the developers went on a media blitz, gaining coverage in print and electronic media. One problem: Many of their key messages gave audiences incorrect impressions of the situation.

WEN spokesperson Randy Helten said, “We are seeing every tactic in the book thrown at our community in an effort to get several radical rezonings approved, despite 11,000 signatures saying ‘no rezoning without a comprehensive plan.’ This statement from WEN today is our sincere attempt to get the facts straight, so that our community and the City can really have a proper discussion about the issues, options, and costs of rezoning proposals.” He added that “We’re now connecting the dots, and realize that problems with planning and consultation are happening all over Vancouver right now. Something has to improve.”

Main points of the WEN statement are

  1. Renters and owners are united in their concern for the West End
  2. West End residents do not oppose development
  3. The West End has had substantial development in the last two decades
  4. The community IS informed
  5. STIR is costly to taxpayers and beneficial to the developer
  6. Delaying the Comox Street development will have a major impact on the West End housing situation
  7. The STIR program will not make Vancouver a more equitable city
  8. WEN believes there is a need for more community consultation

In the coming days, WEN will issue more statements showing the results of its ongoing research into the key issues above.

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