Tagged: city of vancouver

[Podcast] The Politics of Housing the Homeless: Lack of community consultation or NIMBYism?

Screen shot 2014-01-22 at 1.20.11 PMListen and subscribe to the podcast here.

Has it been a lack of neighbourhood consultation with residents or simply a case of the NIMBY syndrome in east Vancouver? Or perhaps a bit of both? Is fear and misinformation framing the conversation about supportive housing?

On the podcast, we discuss at the concerns and politics around the planned 95 units of transitional housing at Mount Pleasant’s former Biltmore Hotel with Stephen Bohus from the Residents Association of Mount Pleasant and area resident Michelle Sturino. How significant are the locational conflicts over low-income housing and harm reduction for Vancouver and the region more generally? And how does this help or harm efforts to build more socially inclusive neighbourhoods and socially just cities?

In 2013, BC Housing, in partnership with the City of Vancouver, leased the former Biltmore Hotel at 395 Kingsway for temporary supportive housing. The hotel is being renovated to provide 95 units for people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness while they wait for permanent housing to become available. The hotel will leased for six years and the supportive units are scheduled to open in early 2014. The planned social housing has generated support, opposition, and concerns among area residents.

The City of Vancouver declined a request for an interview.

[Podcast] Making Stanley Park: The Forgotten Families of Whoi Whoi, Kanaka Ranch, and Brockton Point

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In the first episode of a three-part series, historian and author Jean Barman reflects on Stanley Park’s 125th Anniversary and processes of dispossession

Historian and author Jean Barman reflects on Stanley Park’s 125th Anniversary and processes of dispossession which were part of the making of Stanley Park.

Her book Stanley Park’s Secret won the 2006 City of Vancouver Book Prize.

She also situates Stanley Park within the country’s broader colonial geographies and the ongoing work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on residential schools.

[Podcast] Zoned Out? Towers, Upzoning, and the Future of Grandview-Woodland

Commercial Drive at E 1st Avenue in the Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood. Photo courtesy dailyxy.com.

Commercial Drive at East 1st Avenue in the Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood.

In June, City of Vancouver planning staff released the draft community plan for East Vancouver’s Grandview-Woodland neighbourhood. To the shock of many residents who were extensively involved in the consultation process, the City is proposing to upzone substantial parts of the neighbourhood including approximately ten 22-36 storey towers in the Broadway and Commercial area. These proposed changes raise important questions about the preservation of existing affordable housing stock and the implications of major condominium tower development on the social fabric of the neighbourhood. Has community trust in the planning process been eroded with these surprising land-use directions? Where did these directions originate from if not from community consultation?

On this special podcast, we discuss the draft community plan, concerns about the future of the neighbourhood, and broader issues of public engagement with community leaders, residents, Translink, an urban scholar, and a member of the Mayor of Vancouver’s Engaged City Task Force.

The City of Vancouver’s Corporate Communications department was given seven days advance notice for an interview. After more than four email and phone exchanges throughout the seven-day period, an interview was finally refused on June 24th. Corporate Communications indicated that a spokesperson could not be provided before the Tuesday, June 25th deadline.

Feedback on the draft plan can be submitted online until July 3rd. A new workshop to discuss the Broadway/Commercial sub-area and the proposed transit-oriented development has been organized for July 6th, which you must RSVP for as “space is extremely limited.” The Grandview-Woodland Area Council is hosting an open forum for residents to express their opinions about the draft plan on Monday, July 8th from 7-9pm at 1655 William Street.

[Podcast] Tearing Down the Viaducts: Green for All or Green for Some?

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Vancouver City Council, under the direction of the ruling Vision Vancouver party, wants to remove two remnants of the never fully realized inner city highway system in the downtown core. But, in the process, two long-standing community gardens are threatened with demolition. In this documentary, Green for All or Green for Some, Peter Driftmier explores the debate around the removal of the viaduct through the twin lenses of gentrification and environmental sustainability.

City staff have yet to come back to council with final recommendations on the removal of the viaducts. In recent months, the Strathcona Residents Association has expressed serious concerns about the possibility of increased traffic volume on Prior Street, and community groups in the Downtown Eastside have also expressed similar concerns regarding increased traffic along Hastings Street. The Vancouver Courier reported in an April 11th article that the staff report on the viaducts future is expected in June 2013.

This documentary was originally produced for Redeye on Vancouver’s Coop Radio 100.5 FM and aired in Fall 2012. Peter Driftmier is a producer with the Redeye Collective, and we are pleased to bring you this documentary. Thank you to Peter Driftmier and Redeye for permission to rebroadcast.

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Free screening of ‘My Brooklyn’ – on race, class, and gentrification

There is a free screening of “My Brooklyn” scheduled for Wednesday, February 20th at SFU Woodward’s. Find the details on the Facebook event page. These very processes are occurring throughout Vancouver’s neighbourhoods, especially in Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside. A large number of rezonings for large condominium developments (by large developers) have been approved for the predominantly low-income Chinatown and Downtown Eastside area.

Tune in for more about this on the week’s radio program and podcast, airing live February 19th at 5pm on CiTR 101.9 FM.

A thriving sustainable, local economy?

I headed over to the City of Vancouver website this morning to find some information and was welcomed with this image and caption. I couldn’t help myself – I had to capture it. Does the City realize the irony and contradictions with the image and caption? Is the cruise ship industry part of a local, sustainable economy? I’m not so sure about that – and I’m not so sure this type of messaging is particularly helpful. If you, too, are somewhat puzzled by the sustainability rhetoric in this city, you might be interested in an article published at The Mainlander.

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[Podcast] The Little Mountain Victory: What Does It Mean?

Little Mountain blue banners. Courtesy of David Vaisbord. http://www.vaisbord.com

Subscribe to the podcast to have it automatically downloaded to iTunes or stream it below.

On October 25th, 2012, the Province of BC and the City of Vancouver announced that the four remaining tenant-households at the Little Mountain social housing development would not be evicted, and that up to 50 social housing units would be fast-tracked and built on a portion of the site. Previously, the existing tenants (in the remaining townhouse who refused to be displaced) were served eviction notices, despite the fact that site redevelopment had not even reached the rezoning stage (and construction completion was still years away).

On the podcast, The City evaluates the recent social housing victory at Vancouver’s Little Mountain and we reflect on the history of the struggle. We begin with an excerpt from UBC Geography graduate student Tommy Thompson, who conducted extensive research on Little Mountain and found that “through an analysis of the distribution of benefits and losses of redevelopment to various relevant groups, Little Mountain tenants are being squeezed out of the benefits of redevelopment while bearing significant losses.”

We then hear from David Vaisbond, a documentary filmmaker, who has thoroughly and intimately documented the history of the Little Mountain housing struggle. We ask him to reflect on some of the most profound moments of documenting this struggle. Finally, former MLA and Little Mountain advocate David Chudnovsky reflects on this victory and provides a history of the proposed Little Mountain privatization and redevelopment.

[Podcast] Charity vs. Justice: Unpacking the Vancouver Rent Bank

How is a billionaire mining magnate involved in Vancouver’s new rent bank?

Subscribe to the podcast to have it automatically downloaded to iTunes or stream it below.

The City critically unpacks the recently launched Vancouver rent bank with the editors of The Mainlander. Editors Tristan Markle, Andrew Witt, and Nathan Crompton recently published an in-depth, and highly critical analysis of the rent bank. We discuss a seemingly progressive institution – the rent bank – and look at the history of who is financially involved in the program, why it matters, and if the rent bank is actually as innocent as it may seem. We look at the issue of charity versus justice in our neoliberal times, and we turn to renowned political philosopher Slavoj Zizek for some assistance in understanding the role of charity in society today.

Tenants speak: stop the eviction of Little Mountain tenants

The wording of the following statement has been approved by the remaining tenants of Little Mountain Housing.

All the remaining families at Vancouver’s Little Mountain Housing have been issued eviction notices. BC Housing is seeking to evict the tenants by September 30th 2012.

Please stand with the courageous tenants of Little Mountain by helping them fight this unjust eviction!

These last four families remain onsite today only because they took a stand against the travesty of justice that occurred at Little Mountain in 2009. At that time 220 of 224 families were displaced from Little Mountain, many of them bullied, and all but one building was demolished. Four families opted to stay, saying that the demolition was premature & unnecessary. Time has proven them right: for three years, the 15-acre site has sat empty, and even today redevelopment is still years away.

Just as the community destruction in 2009 was unnecessary, this summer’s eviction notices are also unnecessary.  It is a simple matter for replacement social housing to be constructed without evicting the final four families. Eviction is only a point of convenience for both BC Housing and the developer, Holborn.

These particular families have been inspirational and outspoken community advocates. By keeping vigil over the site, they have helped hold the government and developer to their word.

To stop those in power from evicting the vigilant tenants, please support their simple call:

(1)  Cancel the eviction notices and allow remaining tenants to stay onsite until new social housing units are ready for occupancy

(2)  Save and upgrade the last building to become a fabulous, local community history museum, or a community history & arts centre

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FOUR WAYS TO SUPPORT THE REMAINING TENANTS OF LITTLE MOUNTAIN

1. Sign and circulate the petition

2. Watch and share this short film about two of the tenants who are fighting the current eviction: “The Eviction of Sammy and Joan” by David Vaisbord

3. Make your voice heard by local media:

letters@globeandmail.com, sunletters@png.canwest.com, provletters@png.canwest.com, letters@straight.com, blink@vancourier.com

CBC radio talkback number: 604-662-6690

CKNW radio comment line: 604-331-2784

4.  Make you voice heard by officials:

Provincial Government and BC Housing

Premier Christy Clark: premier@gov.bc.ca

Minister Responsible for Housing, Rich Coleman: rich.coleman.mla@leg.bc.ca

Shayne Ramsay, CEO, BC Housing: sramsay@bchousing.org

Dale McMann, ED for Lower Mainland, BC Housingdmcmann@bchousing.org

Development team

Joo-Kim Tiah, President, Holborn Group: info@holborn.ca

James Cheng & Associates, Architectural Consultants: info@jamescheng.com

City of Vancouver

Mayor Gregor Robertson: gregor.robertson@vancouver.ca

Councillor George Affleck: clraffleck@vancouver.ca

Councillor  Elizabeth Ball: clrball@vancouver.ca

Councillor Adrienne Carr: clrcarr@vancouver.ca

Councillor  Heather Deal: clrdeal@vancouver.ca

Councillor Kerry Jang: clrjang@vancouver.ca

Councillor  Raymond Louie: clrlouie@vancouver.ca

Councillor  Geoff Meggs: clrmeggs@vancouver.ca

Councillor  Andrea Reimer: clrreimer@vancouver.ca

Councillor  Tim Stevenson: clrstevenson@vancouver.ca

Councillor Tony Tang: clrtang@vancouver.ca

CoV’s City Manager Penny Ballem: penny.ballem@vancouver.ca

CoV’s General Manager of Planning and Development: brian.jackson@vancouver.ca

CoV’s City Planning Staff: matt.shillito@vancouver.ca; patricia.st.michel@vancouver.ca; ben.johnson@vancouver.ca; graham.winterbottom@vancouver.ca

More information can be found on the Facebook page.

[Podcast] 100 Days Later: Musqueam and the Struggle to Protect Land and Cultural History

Dispossession and displacement as active projects are very much about land as property. Property is both the point of these struggles and the medium. Struggles over the meanings and moralities of property have been central. Law, in this sense, must be conceived not simply as an instrument of colonial domination but as a means through which colonialism has itself been produced. In order to understand the historic dynamics of colonialism and its contemporary echoes, it helps if we attend to the geographies of land. The meanings and practices associated with land as property have proved critical, yet are inseparable from its spatialities. 

–Nick Blomley (Professor of Geography, SFU)

Subscribe to the podcast to have it automatically downloaded to iTunes or stream it below. Find past coverage of the issue here

In this edition of The City, we reflect upon the Musqueam’s ongoing struggle to protect their ancestral village site and burial grounds of c̓əsnaʔəm (pronounced cusnaum) from condo development. Friday, August 10th marked 100 days of the Musqueam keeping an around-the-clock vigil and occupation of at the site in the 1300-block of SW Marine Drive, which is under threat of development. Musqueam marked 100 days with a march from Granville and W 70th to c̓əsnaʔəm and a rally with other First Nations from around the province, as well as many non-Musqueam supporters and organizations.

The owners of the site are planning to have Century Group, the developer, build condominiums on the site despite over 4,000-year-old Musqueam ancestral remains have been discovered and c̓əsnaʔəm  has been recognized as a National Historic Site since the 1930s. The BC government has continued to okay the site for development based on their archaeological assessment, with the city then issuing the necessary development permit. By keeping an ongoing vigil, the Musqueam have prevented further development and desecration. Musqueam have proposed a land swap to ensure the future protection and recognition of c̓əsnaʔəm. The provincial government has been unwilling to move this proposal forward. The BC Liberal government has suggested that they will expedite payment of cash that is already owed to the band, so the band can then buy back the land from the owners/developer. The irony of buying back your own land is not lost on many. You can follow the struggle for c̓əsnaʔəm on Twitter and Facebook.

ON THE PODCAST | We hear from Musqueam’s Cecilia Point and elder Delbert Guerin, provincial NDP MLAs Jenny Kwan and Scott Fraser (Aboriginal Relations Critic), former COPE City Councillor Ellen Woodsworth, BC Nurses’ Union President Debra MacPherson and Lisa Walker. Additionally, The City speaks with Tristan Markle, co-founder and editor of The Mainlander, about  the city’s role and responsibility in the matter, specifically on why a development permit was issued. In the first part of the podcast, host Andy Longhurst reads excerpts from Nick Blomley’s (Professor of Geography, SFU) 2003 book Unsettling the City: Urban Land the Politics of Property.

The town also emerged as a vital economic and political node in a broader colonial network, directing flows of capital and command that opened up resource frontiers in the colonial interiors. All of this, of course, was pivotal to the process of colonial dispossession. But colonial towns also quickly emerged as speculative spaces. Layout was designed so as to facilitate the acquisition and transfer of urban land. Vancouver’s initial expansion, it has been argued, was largely a product of land speculation, rather than expansion in the production of goods and services. Boosterist publications marveled at the leapfrogging of prices, and the fact that areas of “wild land” could become “first-class property” in a matter of months. Vancouver “is a purely business town,” noted one observer, “a land of speculation…above all, in city lots.”

–Nick Blomley