‘A fight for the soul of Vancouver’: Hundreds rally against noble Broadway plan at City Hall

‘Where am I going? I live on my old-age pension,” says Wynona Hill, aged Fairview.

Content of the article

Fairview senior Wynona Hill was determined to protest Vancouver’s $3 billion plan to extend the SkyTrain by 5.7 kilometers on Broadway Avenue near her home at Heritage Housing Cooperative. She ordered HandyDart Services to the steps of City Hall on Saturday afternoon.

Advertisement 2

Content of the article

The 85-year-old was among more than 100 protesters, including several of her neighbors, who waved signs in fiery opposition to more than 300 proposed skyscrapers to densify Mount Pleasant, Fairview and Kitsilano, adding up to 50 000 residents in a 50- block area over the next three decades.

“Where am I going? I live on my old-age pension,” said the 26-year-old tenant.

Fairview Senior Wynona Hill (in green jacket) surrounded by other protesters.  Representatives of more than 20 Vancouver neighborhood associations and community groups were at City Hall to protest the Broadway Plan, which proposes a huge increase in density in a 500-block area of ​​the city.
Fairview Senior Wynona Hill (in green jacket) surrounded by other protesters. Representatives of more than 20 Vancouver neighborhood associations and community groups were at City Hall to protest the Broadway Plan, which proposes a huge increase in density in a 500-block area of ​​the city. Photo by Francis Georgian /PNG

“How could a middle-class family afford to live anywhere else in Vancouver? I worry about the kids, who do stuff together around our co-op and bring me a lot of joy – you won’t get that in a high-rise.

Hill’s neighbor Josh Zumstien said the co-op’s most prized feature is its common yard. There, her two children, aged six and eight, spend hours giddily playing among other residents their own age.

Advertisement 3

Content of the article

” We are scared. We are no longer sure that we have a place to live. It’s still up in the air and the city doesn’t tell us anything,” Zumstien said.

Representatives of more than 20 Vancouver neighborhood associations and community groups were at City Hall to protest the Broadway Plan, which proposes a huge increase in density in a 500-block area of ​​the city.
Representatives of more than 20 Vancouver neighborhood associations and community groups were at City Hall to protest the Broadway Plan, which proposes a huge increase in density in a 500-block area of ​​the city. Photo by Francis Georgian /PNG
Representatives of more than 20 Vancouver neighborhood associations and community groups were at City Hall to protest the Broadway Plan, which proposes a huge increase in density in a 500-block area of ​​the city.
Representatives of more than 20 Vancouver neighborhood associations and community groups were at City Hall to protest the Broadway Plan, which proposes a huge increase in density in a 500-block area of ​​the city. Photo by Francis Georgian /PNG

Although the millions of dollars in proposed development will make room for tens of thousands of new residents, that does not include building new schools, parks and community facilities, pointed out Palmquist, an outspoken critic of the project.

The problem with the project, said the Vancouver architect, comes down to affordability.

“The high-rise, high-density development model is not working. The higher we go in the air, the more each square meter of lower and upper space costs to build and consumes much more energy to operate than low and mid-rise alternatives.

Advertisement 4

Content of the article

Those increased costs will trickle down to everyday tenants, Palmquist said, “dooming generations of Vancouverites to an unaffordable future.”

Scot Hein, a professor at the University of British Columbia, said his first impression of the Broadway plan was that it looked like “Metrotown stretching across the Broadway corridor”.

“These are huge towers, taller than Downtown South,” said the city’s former senior urban designer. “The one at Granville and Broadway has great viewing implications, especially on the Fairview slopes.”

Kitsilano resident Bill Tieleman said his teenage daughter would likely be out of her current spot along the West Broadway hallway if the expensive project goes ahead.

Advertisement 5

Content of the article

“This is a fight for the soul of Vancouver,” Tieleman said. “We can densify, gently and with the agreement of neighbors and neighborhoods, without demolishing people’s houses.”

Census data shows that for every provincially subsidized affordable housing developed in the city between 2015 and 2019, three more affordable units in the $750 to $1,000 per month range were lost as a result of redevelopment.

Reality is not lost on Lindsey O’Shea, who is forced to find a home after more than 19 years at Alma Blackwell, a 46-unit public housing complex in Grandview-Woodland.

The Vancouver-born resident is expected to pay more than double her current rent of $1,600 a month to live in one of the new units in the six-story complex that will be built in place of her 39-year-old building.

“No matter how great I am at both my jobs, I’ll never catch up to this housing market. When I become a ‘demo-victim’, I will no longer be able to pay rent.

— With files by John Mackie

sgrochowski@postmedia.com


More news, less ads: Our in-depth journalism is possible thanks to the support of our subscribers. For just $3.50 a week, you can get unlimited, lightweight access to the Vancouver Sun, The Province, National Post and 13 other Canadian news sites. Support us by subscribing today: The Vancouver Sun | Province.

Advertisement 1

comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively yet civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to be moderated before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread you follow, or if a user follows you comments. See our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Leave a Comment