A Town Hall Meeting took place at the Coast Plaza Hotel on April 22, 2010 for the community to gather and hear each other’s concerns about the spot rezoning proposals moving forward despite outcry from the community that existing zoning by-laws were being overridden, a petition with thousands of signatures opposing rezoning, and some gestures by the city to address the need for an updated plan.
Ordinary neighbourhood folks took the matter into their own hands, came together to form West End Neighbours and put on the town hall meeting. Over 450 people attended from the community.
Slide Show Presentations
1401 Comox Street (St. John’s Church) – Issues about the Proposed 22 Story Development by Westbank / Peterson / Henriquez: 1401 Comox, 22-story Tower: Issues (PowerPoint version) and 1401 Comox Case Study, 22-Apr-2010 (PDF version)
STIRing up the West End: 1215 Bidwell Street: STIR 1215 Bidwell Case Study (PDF version)
Part 1. Information Segment
1. Welcome Agenda Review – Liz Carney
2. The West End as a Village – Michelle Matthias, followed by Don Kasko
3. STIR Program, Other Neighbourhoods Too, Political Issues – Ned Jacobs
4. Connect the Dots chronology of how we got here – Randy Helten
5. Community Plan / Zoning Guidelines – Michael Hartford
6. Short Term Incentives for Rental Housing (STIR) analysis and 3 sites:
a) Review of economics – Sinisa Vujovic
b) 1215 Bidwell Street – Alan Kostiuk
c) 1401 Comox Street – Rusty Ker
d) Beach Towers – Sarah Isaacs
7. Give us hope, light a fire! – Mel Lehan
8. Summing Up, Critical Issues, Action, What Should We Do Next, Resolution
Part 2. Town Hall Segment
1. Moderator Frank Ducote (urban design consultant, adjunct faculty at SFU and UBC, and former City of Vancouver Senior Urban Designer). Free flowing format so people get a chance to have their say, share opinions, views and information.
2. Closing, resolution, reminder of action and thanks.
Live Comments, Questions from the Community
1. Attendee question: Will the St. John’s United Church at 1401 Comox be bulldozed before the rezoning? Followed by a plea to stop the bulldozing if it moves forward.
2. Attendee question: wondering about the size of rental units at the proposed 1401 Comox site.
3. Enthusiastic feedback by a town hall Attendee pleased with the turnout.
4. Attendee request for information from fire safety and policing services about capacity for the additional density.
5. An Attendee requested clarification of the SAFER units’ rental prices for seniors at 1401 Comox.
6. Comment: A gay Attendee indicated she did not support the Qmunity endorsement for the 1401 Comox proposal and felt the organization was shortchanging itself by supporting the proposal.
7. Comment: a suggestion for petitioning from an Attendee, to place a table in residential building lobbies to hold the petition for signatures. Reminded the community to let the Mayor and Councillors know there is a price to pay come the next civic election.
8. Attendee question: is there any way 1215 rezoning approval can be rescinded? Stopping the bulldozers was brought up again.
9. Comment: Attendee involved in the traffic calming plan in the West End impressed with the group of neighbours who have come together. Flabbergasted about STIR, “In the long run it pays off to be involved.”
10. Attendee Comment: The city does not seem to care about what is happening in the West End despite contacting the Mayor and Councillors. The microphone was turned over to Councillor Tim Stevenson for a response.
11. An Attendee who identified himself as an advocate for a provincial mental health plan in the late 90’s made suggestions on what more the neighbourhood could do.
12. An Attendee commented that she would volunteer to preserve the community and encouraged others to do so.
13. Comment from an Attendee, “Let us plan our urban village.”
14. An Attendee commented they are not opposed to STIR or the 1401 Comox proposal. Believes a city led process is needed and that consideration be given to the needs of seniors.
15. An Attendee made note of the tower close by to 1215 Bidwell and further commented that they felt the communication between Council and the Planning Dept. was lacking.
16. An Attendee congratulated the participants of the town hall meeting head table and spoke to bring attention on behalf of families who live in the West End but were not in attendance, and encouraged the community to stand together.