On Rize (Or Forcing A Luxury Highrise On A Neighbourhood That Really Doesn’t Want It)

by Lindsay Brown | This post is about a proposed luxury highrise development called “Rize” (no comment on the name) in the heart of Vancouver’s historic Mt Pleasant district. Like many other Vancouverites I see this development as setting a very worrying precedent for the city if it goes ahead. The desire to maximize profits off every plot of land in the city in an unchecked manner has contributed to a massive level of unaffordability and a climate of hot property speculation. This intrusive, tall luxury condo sitting on blocky big-box stores will bring this development behaviour out of Vancouver’s downtown core and into a vulnerable residential district. If you live in Vancouver and care about the way this city is increasingly un-piloted now that developers run the place, NOW is the time to write your letter. It’s easy—even one sentence is enough. Click here to send an email to Vancouver’s mayor and council. Just say no.

Before I start, please see the following arguments against this development, far more authoritative than my own:

• Visit the RAMP (Residents Association of Mount Pleasant) website for many excellent resources on this topic.

• Letter by Glenn Alteen, Exec. Dir. of the Grunt Gallery in Mt. Pleasant

• Letter by Brian McBay and Allison Collins of 221A Artist-run Centre

• Letter from Lorna Brown, Vancouver curator and Director of Other Sights

• Letter by Federal MP Libby Davies & BC MLA Jenny Kwan

• Comments by Journalist Frances Bula (also read the comments by Vancouverites experienced in planning issues)

• “What the hell is going on in this city?” by developer Michael Geller

• “Unaffordable, that’s what you are” by Sandy Garossino (on general unaffordability issues)

MAIN OBJECTIONS

Many Vancouverites have made excellent and detailed arguments regarding technical planning and zoning matters. I don’t need to reiterate those here. They are all available on the RAMP Residents Association of Mount Pleasant website and in the arguments above. Instead, I would like to address the way broader problems afflicting our City bear upon the Rize application:

CONSULTATION & LACK THEREOF

I’ve only opposed Vancouver developments twice. I’m not sure it’s a coincidence that both were in the last year. Vancouver is a turning point. Not only is it famously, drastically unaffordable, but developers have run out of empty industrial land in the downtown core and are greedily eyeing old neighbourhoods. And developers have an unprecedented stranglehold over City Hall.

I should also note that this is the second time I’ve opposed a rezoning that Vancouverites overwhelmingly don’t want, a development that looks like a done deal before it’s even been properly presented to the public. The first was a mega-casino proposed for downtown. The second is “Rize.”

My objection is exactly the same for Rize as it was for the Edgewater mega-casino that I helped defeat last year. The supposed community consultation process is a manifest failure. Had it successfully encapsulated community values there would not have been historic and widespread opposition to this proposal. Dramatic shifts in zoning allowances should only come with a mandate from the community. That is missing here.

It’s the lack of sincere, effective consulation that has led to this pitched battle with the developer. The behaviour of the developer is not surprising; branding oneself a “community developer” and then calling the community NIMBYs when they oppose your plan is what you would expect a profit-maximizing developer to do. Despite the developer’s cynical chess game, the problem is fundamentally a failure at the City level. We need a better process for the sake of everyone involved. Does City Council—and do developers—really want to run the gauntlet of an irate community with every spot zoning? Should the community have to spend thousands of hours fighting wrong-headed developments that don’t serve their needs? This is fantastically expensive, undemocratic, and politically incendiary. Mt. Pleasant is Ground Zero of Vision Vancouver voters. Do they really want to risk their Van East base?

And as many have argued, there are better ways of building the city. If developers were made to work with the community from Day 1, made to find out what it is the community actually needs, both sides would benefit. Ward 20 in Toronto works this way; if a developer’s project wins early community approval, it is fast-tracked through City Hall’s permits process. Did the community consultation process impede development in Ward 20? No. That single Toronto ward enjoys the most development East of Winnipeg. And it won both development and community happiness in one go. Ours is not an anti-development, NIMBY position. It’s the position of people who would like to have a say in what building forms and housing supplies are plonked in their neighbourhood. Quite frankly, “NIMBY” ought to refer to the behaviour of those who don’t actually have to live around the consequences of their actions.

The only healthy end to this proposal is to listen to the community, send the project back to the design stage, and lower its height to a level the community can tolerate. 8-10 storeys. Remove some parking, remove the big box stores and the loading bay threatening historic Watson Street’s pedestrian and cycling life. And then fix your consultation process, City Hall!

LUXURY CONDOS AND SPECULATION

Is this the right development for this neighbourhood, let alone this city? Do we need more luxury (ie. view) housing in this town, let alone highrises? As a friend of mine pointed out, all this talk of “supply” solving the unaffordability problem ignores basic economics. Remember market segmentation in Economics 101? Making more Lexuses simply does not bring down the price of a Prius or a family minivan. The supply we have been producing is tall, expensive view properties in towers. I notice the supply talk is becoming more muted, and maybe this is because the community is cottoning on. I certainly hope so, because we have to quickly face the fact that 20 intensive years of condo tower production has only been concurrent with skyrocketing property prices, not more affordability. How do the proponents of more towers explain this?

Furthermore, towers do not add the density percentage their proponents claim.Local experts say towers don’t actually house very many people for all their impact on a community, including skyrocketing property prices. Vancouver’s West End, when it was lower rise, had 21,000 people. Then it went to towers, and now it’s only 32,000. Not even double, yet the effect on property values has been deleterious.

Glass towers are not green, Vision Vancouver. They’re cheap for developers to build, but they are not sustainable. The claim that they are is a canard, and in the last year alone visiting architects from Harvard and across Europe have shaken their head at what’s going on in Vancouver. See this post on why these towers are not green:The End of the Age of Tall Buildings.

Condo towers were fine downtown perhaps (though as it turns out their production has undoubtedly fuelled speculation, and I’m not going to get into the problems experienced by our downtown tower neighbourhoods). At least we tolerated them there, green or not, livable or not. They were built on relatively empty industrial land. But now that these downtown lands have filled up, the megadevelopers who built that forest of glass towers wants to push them into existing neighbourhoods. Problem is, every time a tall tower is built, there is an immediate rise in surrounding property values, taxes and rents. And in Vancouver, those condos are widely considered to be great places to park money. They’re too small to park families, but they’re a great place to put your money. And the more we build of them, the greater the appetite for them as investment units, for both locals and foreigners. Add in the complete and unusual lack of regulations on property buying in Vancouver, and you have a perfect speculation climate.

In the midst of what is either a bubble, or not a bubble but perpetually skyrocketing prices (and it’s hard to say which scenario is worse), introducing more luxury condo development into a neighbourhood already facing real dislocations due to rising prices is unwise.

Unlike all neighbourhoods in Vancouver’s tonier West Side, Mt Pleasant made the bold step of agreeing in its community plan to accept more density. But when it gave an inch, developers attempted to take a mile. We are asking City Council to check the kind of profit-maximizing opportunism that got us into this affordability mess in the first place. There is a way of doing development that works for both developers and communities – but it’s City Hall that must lead the way. Developers will follow.

THERE IS MORE THAN ONE WAY OF DOING DENSITY

What’s the City’s objective? It’s to increase density & increase supply of affordable housing. But given the reality that the community overwhelmingly hates towers in its historic neighbourhoods for a number of good reasons, can density & supply be increased in some other way? Yes. It can.

The other night we heard urban design expert Lewis Villegas show how we can do plenty of density without towers and that city hall’s own provision to put mid-height development along arterials has never been acted upon. Why not?

I have assembled a list of developments worldwide, including in expensive cities, that fit into the category of density but at a lower human scale and that ensure a degree of affordable housing. I’m happy to email this to any of you who might be interested. It will also feature in an upcoming post (will link to it here later).

FALSE COMPARISONS TO VANCOUVER’S WEST END

Councillor Tim Stevenson and others have been talking about the West End: its successes, its heights and its density. They are comparing Rize to the West End as a means of promoting Rize’s proposed design. However, this comparison is based on a lack of understanding of Vancouver’s history. The West End was carefully developed over many decades. The development was carefully stewarded by the city with distinct policies ensuring affordable rental, and it was done in an orderly manner, carefully stepped back from the water, carefully planned. That neighbourhood’s livability today is a result of that careful vision enforced out of City Hall. That is not even close to what we are seeing here.

ARTS: WHICH WILL IT BE—DIVERSIFICATION OF VANCOUVER’S ECONOMY, OR BRAIN DRAIN?

I am very worried about the unprecedented rapid defection of cultural workers from Vancouver. At least 45 friends and colleagues have leff in the last couple of years, taking with them experience, training and education. BC invested in those assets which now benefit Berlin, New York, Toronto, LA, Calgary. We now even have a wave of people going to Saskatchewan—and they’re not even originally from Saskatchewan. And I should point out that my comments on brain drain aren’t relevant only to the arts or to our narrow sectoral interests. The fact is that the arts are the canary in the coalmine. The flood of talent out of Vancouver, which is worryingly twinned with our failure to attract new talent here, is tied to Vancouver’s status as one of the most unaffordable cities in the world relative to median income. When things get unlivable, artists leave first. This is because they already tend to live very close to the financial wire. Stressed too far, they leave. And then others follow.

But what’s distinct about creative brain drain is that it has an impact on the whole city. It’s well documented that you can’t diversify an urban economy in a city without cultural vibrancy. Not only do new businesses not set up cities without housing affordability, they don’t set up in cities without busy cultural life. Some say we’re plenty culturally vibrant, but quite frankly, they don’t see the cracks in the facade. We may still have arts organizations here, but they are almost all carrying massive deficits that grow every year, and unaffordability is a contributing factor. Not only are their own spaces expensive to maintain, but Vancouverites spend so much on rent or mortgage that we don’t have a populace with the disposable income to support the arts. Individual artists, musicians, curators, arts workers and academics are leaving in droves, the sort of people who actually produce a region’s culture, and remember that these people produce much of that shared culture mostly on their own dime. The brain drain has become so noticeable even the mainstream press is covering it now. Artists will put up with a lot, but Vancouver has just become unlivable for them and if you ask them, they’ll tell you that the reason for their departure is lack of appropriate, affordable housing and studio space. Most of the great old buildings that art’s generally made in have been converted into condos for the investment market.

What does this have to do with Mt. Pleasant? Well, unlike Vancouver’s West Side, Mt. Pleasant is one of Vancouver’s cultural incubators. This has been true for many, many decades. The Western Front, the Grunt Gallery and many other venues, organizations and artists live and work in this neighbourhood. Much of Vancouver’s huge international fame in visual arts (a fame that sadly goes unnoticed in Vancouver) was gestated in Mt. Pleasant. Many of its non-art residents live there for that reason. It’s a neighbourhood that deserves some protection from opportunistic production of luxury housing in the middle of an affordability crisis.

Thanks to Vancouver’s famous speculative climate, Mt Pleasant already contains a huge stock of houses over $1.2 million or higher. The more you add at the higher end, such as luxury view properties with high ceilings and fancypants amenities and parking, the more you drive this up.

As Jane Jacobs advised, let’s do density properly. Let’s see lower building height (as is seen all over Europe), less parking, fewer luxury amenities, and a wise, attractive manner of fitting buildings into existing local history and texture. We can still get an astonishing amount of density while avoiding distorted real estate economics and aesthetic ruination.

CITY HALL SHOULD BE CITY BUILDERS, NOT RUBBER STAMPERS

I would like to ask City Council to be true, intelligent city builders, not rubber stampers for the development industry that is choking every other sector out of our city. The West End isn’t a successful neighbourhood today because City Hall just allowed a rampant free market to do as it would. It’s livable because City Hall interceded in the market to create livable, affordable housing. City Council, please work with your new Director of Planning to find a workable process, find a way to have smaller developers build a myriad of smaller developments affordable for families and couples and workers and seniors. Start with Rize. Send it back for a new design, and ask for a reasonable scale and housing that makes sense for the community.

Lastly, the idea of removing parking all together has been bandied about. Our City Council claims to be green. Take out the glass tower, take out the parking. I dare it to be that green.

Above, the pedestrian-unfriendly, big box store-containing monolith. It will also destroy historic Watson St, currently a cycle street, with truck loading bays for the big box stores at street level.

————————————————— Images via Rize and Google.

107 Responses to “On Rize (Or Forcing A Luxury Highrise On A Neighbourhood That Really Doesn’t Want It)”

  1. Dylen Durret (@sicklove) on April 11th, 2012 1:56 pm

    The money will win.

    Fuck a community.

    Cash wins every time.

  2. Sean Orr on April 11th, 2012 3:42 pm

    I respect the community process and everything, but as Bob K from VIA pointed out to me, the Rize sales office was open for a year and nobody brought up their concerns. It seems reactionary to me. Anti-development for the sake of it. Reverse NIMBYism or just regular NIMBYism. Aren’t we supposed to be densifying around transit hubs? That’s a good thing. Yes, yes, yes, yes, I know, I know, I know, as much as anyone how slow and beautiful and organic the transition of Mount Pleasant was and is and will continue to be. If there was any sense in the world there would be some sort of economic bonus that helps out with the expected jump in rent for businesses that establish a community wherein the developers help alleviate these costs. So I don’t know, how to preserver our Robsonstrasses, and our Cambie Villages, and our Marpoles while continuing to make Vancouver a more livable place? And don’t even get me started on hubs versus LITTLE PIPE NETS, eh Andrew?

  3. Kirk on April 11th, 2012 6:13 pm

    VIA has become a real estate pumper website. I shouldn’t be surprised, developers pull the strings of everything in this city. There’s been opposition to Rize even before they opened their info centre. People were concerned when the Mount Pleasant community plan was being drafted.

    The process is slow, but, technically, it’s working. The developer has presented its design. The community has voiced their concerns. Now, it’s up to elected officials to decide. It’s democracy in action. Unfortunately, like most political decisions, it’ll feel like a punch in the gut for the losing side.

  4. Sean Orr on April 11th, 2012 6:43 pm

    An unfortunate ad hominem to start your argument. I’m left asking simply, “what would you see in it’s stead”?

  5. Waylon on April 11th, 2012 6:53 pm

    I am so sick of hearing about this development. God damned hippies. Historic Watson St.? Are you kidding me? What percentage of Vancouverites even know where Watson St. is? Im guessing the “artists” in this neighborhood and not too many others. Get over yourselves and get back to what you do best – hacky sack, skipping showers and weaving hemp beanies.

  6. Jon Petrie on April 11th, 2012 6:59 pm

    Re Sean above >Aren’t we supposed to be densifying around transit hubs?>proposed rent for one 360-square-foot studio unit. … is $1,750 a month<< !!

    http://www.surfsantamonica.com/ssm_site/the_lookout/news/News-2011/December-2011/12_14_2011_Santa_Monica_City_Council_Approves_Development_with_No_Parking.html

    And 42 storey condo Toronto — no parking
    http://www.planetizen.com/node/40742

    No parking development proposal Ithica NY,
    http://bettercities.net/article/no-parking-plan-causes-stir-17548

  7. Sean Orr on April 11th, 2012 7:05 pm

    @Kirk It’s too bad you started your argument with an ad hominem (but then who am I to speak, eh?). Thus I ask simply, what would you see in it’s stead?

    @Waylon That being the other side of the argument. Well put.

  8. Jon Petrie on April 11th, 2012 9:25 pm

    Looks like my comment per above is completely messed up … not what I wrote, email me privately pleasde

  9. fmed on April 11th, 2012 9:32 pm

    Sean, vocal opposition started about a year ago, so Bob K of VIA is completely off-base. To-whit: http://www.wisemonkeysblog.com/gentrified/

    VIA and its ilk are trying to paint the opponents of Rize as Nimbys ad hominem. The vast majority of the opponents to Rize are not “anti-development for the sake of it”. The majority support densification and recognize that it is inevitable. What they oppose is this particular development that is far bigger than human scale. Rize just does not fit in Mt Pleasant. It is far too big.

    They also oppose the “consultation” process that was rife with deception such as the doctored renderings shown above.

    (And come on…the building as planned is just so damned ugly.)

  10. skaur on April 11th, 2012 10:06 pm

    @ Sean…you may respect the community process but I’m not confident you know much about it. Were you a part of the Community Liaison Group who drafted the 2010 Mount Pleasant Community Plan? Have you actually read the Mount Pleasant Community Plan? Do you even understand the issues on hand? Your buddy Bob (who basically runs a City website) is grossly misinformed. Did he attend the 5 hour community workshop on March 20, 2011 at the Salt Building where the residents in attendance showed overwhelming opposition (over 90%) to the original 26 storey proposal? Did he attend the April 12, 2011 Open House where the opposition continued? Did he attend the Jan. 17, 2012 Open House where nothing had significantly changed except the amenities which got swapped out for a paltry community amenity contribution? Does he know how many letters of opposition have been sent to City Hall regarding the RIZE project in the past year? Doubt it. Does he or even you, for that matter, even live in Mount Pleasant? Before you quote a source, verify that the information is not completely false. I’m tired of people like you who resort to NIMBY name calling to discount legitimate resident concerns on an issue you clearly don’t understand. The planning process has failed. The public consultation process has failed. What’s the point of wasting tons of taxpayer money, and resources and time of the broader comunity if only to violate the spirit and intent of the MPC Plan? I can give you a list of sections that are directly violated and/or misconstrued to justify this much height and density on such a physically constrained site. The community has clearly stated that it is not against density but for density done responsibly. Also, the call for increased density on this site is being justified because of it being near a potential future rapid transit station (which the city estimated would be built 8 years from now in 2020) so how does 3 floors of underground parking jive with this? How will that encourage people to take transit rather than drive? And finally, do you actually think this density on steroids initiative is creating a more livable Vancouver for you? Density has skyrocketed and but has affordability skyrocketed with it? NO! Increased density has created a staggering increase in UNaffordability! Show me an example (with statistics) in Vancouver where this density has created affordability. The tower podium model is not only a lazy and boring form of architecture but it also increases real estate speculation which increases property taxes which subsequently increases rents. I could go on and on…but I don’t have time so if you’d like some accurate information and not the spin that’s being floated out there, feel free to ask me, someone who actually knows what this is all about. Armchair activism holds no merit with me. And thank you Lindsay for writing this. This project is only one symptom of a city-wide sickness.

  11. Sean Orr on April 11th, 2012 10:30 pm

    Still, what would you have in it’s stead (and who would pay for i?). Just answer me that.

  12. J Rolland on April 11th, 2012 11:15 pm

    Thank you Lindsay for writing this excellent article. And thank you Skaur for expressing my own sentiments so well.

  13. skaur on April 11th, 2012 11:30 pm

    Also, please note: the image of the RIZE tower presented above is an incredibly misleading “artist rendering” shown from an aerial view. The height is unbelievably inaccurate as it is even with the Stella building (shown behind to the right) which is 8-9 storeys lower than the proposed RIZE building which at 215 ft would cut into the skyline. Bigtime. The architect has not created and the developer has not presented an accurate computer model at street level. When challenged by a more accurate model created by a Mount Pleasant resident (which was verified by City staff), one of the principal architects brushed the inaccurate rendering off as being more of an art than a science. Uh no, it’s called math. This is where the ethics of visualization come into play.

  14. Mark on April 11th, 2012 11:48 pm

    Sean, in place of the proposed development, I’d suggest perhaps one that fits into the community plan that they just spent years developing.

    Who would pay for it? The same developers. Even if the city were to show any interest whatsoever in prioritizing anyone’s needs over those of developers, the developers would still make a boatload of money – it would just be a smaller boat.

    Hell, in speaking with one of the people from RIZE that was at the consultation meeting in January, he told me that it would be “so much easier” for RIZE to build something that fit within the zoning for the site, but that the reason they want to build bigger and more dense is because it allows them to “give back to the community” through the money that the city is taking from them in exchange for the zoning concessions. So there you have it. If you’re willing to take their word for it on other things, why not on this?

    Same guy also told me that another reason they wanted to give back by building bigger and more dense was because they felt an obligation to contribute to lowering rents in the neighbourhood.

  15. Michelle S of Mt Pleasant on April 11th, 2012 11:53 pm

    Waylan you are just a very sad, sad excuse for a human being with your small minded comments. You must have a very lonely existence sitting at home behind your computer attacking people from the safety of your computer screen……personally I think you wanted to be raised by Hippie’s and having been denied that you feel the need to lash out.

    Lindsay thank you for the factual and informative article of which I have been a part of the process for over the past year. You are bang on.

    Skaur, dontcha know it, maybe the nay sayers will finally get it, errrr, one can only hope that they do when they finally pull their head out of the sand.

    Sean Orr, what should go up on this site simply needs to ahere to the guidelines in the Mt Pleasant Community Plan. A building that can be 70′ with additional height being granted ‘IF’ it is an Iconic building that has permability and respects the look and feel of Mt Pleasant, inclusive of shading factors.

    Really quite a simple process, but instead what we have here is Mr Greedy Developer who wants to go up, up, up so he can make more, more, more money. Time and time again it has been proven that the same amount of density achieved in this 19 storey building can be achieved at a lower height. The height is a pure money grab, full stop and anyone who believes otherwise is dellusional.

    Trust me, this whole process of listening to the Developer Rise Alliance claim that they are ‘for the community’ yet they continue to ignore the community’s concerns and a City Hall that even let this Development get to a Public Hearing when it does NOT conform to one iota of the Mt Pleasant Community Plan is sickening and quite scary.

    I thought we lived in a Democracy but the more time I spend in City Hall and being involved in these types of processes its seem more like a Dictatorship.

  16. Paul on April 12th, 2012 12:30 am

    RAMP does not care about the greater issue of affordable housing and responsible density in Mt Pleasant or any other part of this city. They exist to simply stand in opposition to the community plan and to draw exaggerated negative attention to the spectre of this particular development, which is in line with the established community plan. (They even cry foul at the city’s consultation process yet refuse to facilitate fair and open dialogue on their own website.)

    The real solution lies somewhere in between the Rize plan and some of what the RAMP group has been proposing; it’s too bad RAMP has squandered their opportunity to play a constructive role in shaping their community by screaming NIMBY in a dozen ways at every turn.

  17. Jon Petrie on April 12th, 2012 7:22 am

    Seemingly for some on council the main virtue of the Rize project is the CAC money, supposedly about 75% of the increased market value (the land lift) of the site as a consequence of extra buildable space (2.55 FSR) if the rezoning is approved.

    Per my calculation, if the rezoning goes ahead, the public is being short changed something north of five million dollars.

    My argument: the Rize site is currently assessed by BC assessment at ~ 16 million, current zoning maximum is 3.0 FSR, so a buildable square foot is, per BC Assessment, worth a bit over $100 on the site (i.e. for an 850 sq foot condo plus an appropriate share of the necessary non private corridors etc, assessed land value in a 3.0 FSR building on that site and similar sites in the area will be about $100,000.) Curiously, the extra floor space, the 2.55 FSR — or another 85% above the current permitted max FSR of 3.0 — requested by Rize is valued by the City of Vancouver at a bit under eight million or slightly under $60 ft2 and the City and the developer have agreed on a payment of six and a quarter million in CAC’s for that extra buildable space or about $46.75 ft2 — less than half what BC Assessments believes that buildable space is worth. Seems like a great deal for the developer but not for the rest of us and doesn’t make sense not to. at least, discuss the contradiction between the City evaluation and the BC assessment valuation of buildable ft2 at Rize.

  18. Michelle S of Mt Pleasant on April 12th, 2012 8:42 am

    Oh really Paul and you know for a fact members of RAMP do not stand for affordable housing because? wow, you are one confused individual. Oh and Paul, you are wrong on so many levels I have no idea where to start.

    First and foremost, members of RAMP who are everyday residents of Mt Pleasant and citizens of Vancouver formed because this Development does NOT conform to the MPCP (have you even read it because if you did then you would know your comments are baseless) and does not contribute to affordable housing.

    RAMP’s website not only facilitates fair and open dialouge (again I must ask, did you read it throughly because your comment makes no sense) unlike the Developers Rize Alliances site that refuses to post any comments from citizens that have voiced concern and constructive criticisim to their project but if your for the project they post comments freely and I know this for a fact.

    Did you attend any of the RAMP sponsored functions? had you done so you would have been privy to the truth and hard hitting facts of this situation and seen how transparent and OPEN to everyones thoughts and comments RAMP was and is.

    This community group of only a handful of citizens took the time, energy and personal resources to get the facts and convey to the public the TRUTH of the situation so that other citizens could be informed and make a well balanced personal decision about the project.

    And you know why they did it Paul……because they love their community, they have the facts to prove this does not help the affordabiltiy issue and are constructive in finding ways that does, they respect and want to support small business in the area that is feeling the crunch of raised rents and they respect the average citizen’s right to live in an affordable neighbourhood that houses people of all types of incomes and status but most of all they dislike a Developer coming into the neighbourhood and lieing to them about their intent!

    Your comments smell rife with the odour of someone involved with Rize in one way or another as your make baseless accusations that can be contradicted at ever turn.

    Thank God for groups like RAMP to lift the blinders off so citizens can see and understand ALL of the information surrounding important issues that effect their community.

    And FYI, RAMP constantly asked for meetings and disscussion with Rize Alliance to voice the concerns of citizens and to work out a stratagy that would be a fair and intelligent comprimise but they refused.

    I also love how you throw out the use of the word NIMBY, do you even know what the true definition is? for if you did you would realise your error and know that RAMP is anything but.

  19. karen on April 12th, 2012 8:49 am

    As someone who spent two years working “with” Parks Board on another neighbourhood issue (including a small group tagged to “plan” the layout of the park, which was then completely revised by a new park “designer” who seemed to need to stamp the thing with her own personal opinions, the hell with the community input), and a participant in this so-called consultation process with Rize and the neighbourhood plan and a 20 year homeowner in this neighbourhood I think the voices in the comments that deride the decent need to out themselves: where they live, where they make their money, why they think that the people of Mount Pleasant should NOT have a right to help determine the environment in which we live.

    Further, real democracy if, indeed, it actually exists, comes from people calling foul when things are out of balance. This Rize project and the power of the developers (see: development of community facilities vs. actual need (and some of it is desperate) vs. new massive developments that need selling points.

    These are real issues. So many of the early comments here are very troll-like in their lack of anything but the developers and planning department talking points.

  20. antonio on April 12th, 2012 10:47 am

    Keep the glass towers out of Mount Pleasant please. And more affordable housing also. We can’t all have our parents pay our rent while we chase dreams that don’t happen to make us boat loads of cash.

  21. John on April 12th, 2012 11:20 am

    Sean makes a great point by stating, “who’s going to pay for it”. Yes, developers will make their money, IF the project is done successfully. With increased land costs, leed certification/green/sustainable building costs, higher material and labour costs, etc. the margins for outright profit are steadily closing. It’s unfortunate that heightened buildable square foot costs create generic mixed-use developments i.e. big box ground-level retail (to ensure higher Rents for the Landlord/Building Owner) and unaesthetic, square-glass monstrosities like the RIZE. But, that is the way it is.

    The City of Vancouver has sold a lot of Land in the last two years to local and foreign developers – the purchases were contingent on receiving approval for increased density and heights on future developments. It’s bureaucracy at its finest. Read between the lines, it’s obvious.

  22. vandervoice on April 12th, 2012 1:04 pm

    Hey Sean, so I guess your go to source for information is Bob K, a guy that runs a propaganda site about how awesome Vancouver is? Riding on the backs of developers no less. More than a few have been choking on his Kook-aid, i mean Kool-aid. It seems like a couple of Bobs in this city are great influencers to a bunch of people who can’t make the time to absorb the facts and understand that developments like this are setting a very dangerous precedent in a neighbourhood where, I’m sure, many of your artist friends can still just barely afford to live/create. The people you’re going to for info are exactly the ones that are not helping the cause when it comes to artists, despite what their promotional graphics might say.

    I’m hoping you’re just playing devil’s advocate here. I saw your Pecha Kucha talks Sean, you should know better. They all have a VISION and you’re clearly being blinded.

  23. Sean Orr on April 12th, 2012 1:27 pm

    Holy shit people relax with the slander. I’m genuinely confused by all of this. I was just chatting with the dude in line for Creative Mornings Vancouver and he brought up a good point, that of densification around transit hubs, and sorry, Mount Pleasant Broadway/Cambie Corridor is an historic one, (back to when main was Westminster Highway and it crossed a now filled in False Creek).

    It is always a delicate balance, but I mean aside from radical changes to our infrastructure, away from the rampant speculation of the real estate industry, we must try and eke out a running compromise. Any sort of community plan also has its biases that might not fit with the larger narrative, ie protectionism and whatnot.

    I remember working at Budgies and waiting forever for that stupid community/library thing to be built. But there it is, you’ve decided to centralize public amenites into a hub, and that is to be congratulated. I remember how hard fought each Starbucks that opened there was. I even smirked when you called Tim Hortons a massive indicator of gentrification! It’s cute and you should be commended.

    There are people on this thread calling for each commentator to disclose thier income and address, I mean if that isn’t xenophobia I don’t know what is. You call for community process and democracy then disenfranchise a whole segment of “the community”.

    Yes, yes, yes, a million times yes: more affordable housing. Create an endownment now, even though it’s far too late. Something like the now failing ALR, but an Urban Land Reserve. But until then, you can’t just oppose every development tooth and nail. I know that might not be the case here, and that Rize has perhaps obfuscated the process, but this is no Little Mountain here. I’m just saying, pick your battles, but claim your victories.

  24. Sandy Garossino on April 12th, 2012 1:29 pm

    As a businessperson with commercial real estate experience, I’m quite surprised to see an artist speaking up in favour of a tower development as if no other option is available to the developer.

    While I know, like and respect people on both sides of this application, we don’t really need to worry that developers won’t be able to feed their kids if they can’t build towers in communities that don’t have them.

    Or that towers are the only way to achieve sustainable and acceptable density.

  25. Sean Orr on April 12th, 2012 2:04 pm

    I’m not in favour of the tower!

  26. Lindsay on April 12th, 2012 3:52 pm

    But the tower is what the article is largely about, Sean. A luxury view tower. I hope you’ll read the whole article. And this isn’t a kneejerk fight. This is precedent setting in so many ways, both in terms of lack of community consultation and buy-in and in the the building form and density form. Mt Pleasant isn’t a NIMBY neighbourhood – it alone in the city expressly accepted density in its plan, everywhere including around transit hubs. It’s not density Mt Pleasant is fighting; it’s fighting the tower-and-podium that’s about to impose the wrong density form on the neighbourhood. There is density and there is density. And Rize’s design is not the right density. Vision needs to stand up to developers and change course.

    Please read the article.

  27. A question for Sean Orr on April 12th, 2012 4:15 pm

    Sean Orr + Bob K., a question for you sirs: (apologizes for the long preamble) If the residents of Mt. Pleasant had already voiced their concerns during the community consultation process; or, if they had written articles detailing their opposition to the project; or, if they had written to councillors expressing their disgust with the Rize proposal… etc … why does it matter that the Rize sales centre was open up for an entire year and some people did not go and voice their concerns in person? it feels as though they had exhausted multiple channels and had also spoke to the developer in person, namely, in the city’s consultation sessions.

    But either way, Bob K. is also wrong on this point too!

    I know people from Mt. Pleasant who DID wander into Rize’s sales centre and brought up some issues with the project. For example, I know Sandeep asked the Rize people some important questions about artist space/height/affordability that were never answered.

  28. Paul on April 12th, 2012 4:24 pm

    “Oh really Paul and you know for a fact members of RAMP do not stand for affordable housing because?”

    The primary purpose of RAMP and their recent activity was to ensure the Rize project did not proceed as planned.

    “First and foremost, members of RAMP who are everyday residents of Mt Pleasant and citizens of Vancouver formed because this Development does NOT conform to the MPCP (have you even read it because if you did then you would know your comments are baseless) and does not contribute to affordable housing.”

    Yes I have read it. That site was identified as one that could and should handle increased density.

    “RAMP’s website not only facilitates fair and open dialouge (again I must ask, did you read it throughly because your comment makes no sense) unlike the Developers Rize Alliances site that refuses to post any comments from citizens that have voiced concern and constructive criticisim to their project but if your for the project they post comments freely and I know this for a fact.”

    I stand before you as proof that you are incorrect. The comments are moderated in such a way to suppress dissenting views. Some of my comments are still awaiting moderation. They do not contain profanity, personal insult or anything objectionable.

    “Did you attend any of the RAMP sponsored functions? had you done so you would have been privy to the truth and hard hitting facts of this situation and seen how transparent and OPEN to everyones thoughts and comments RAMP was and is.”

    Good for you guys, but the resulting voice was that of an angry mob (see: your tone). This is the one voice being broadcast to the public and for that, RAMP is solely responsible.

    “This community group of only a handful of citizens took the time, energy and personal resources to get the facts and convey to the public the TRUTH of the situation so that other citizens could be informed and make a well balanced personal decision about the project.”

    And those who disagree with your interpretation of the truth are so shockingly uninformed and “wrong on so many levels” and “confused individuals”.

    “And you know why they did it Paul……because they love their community, they have the facts to prove this does not help the affordabiltiy issue and are constructive in finding ways that does, they respect and want to support small business in the area that is feeling the crunch of raised rents and they respect the average citizen’s right to live in an affordable neighbourhood that houses people of all types of incomes and status but most of all they dislike a Developer coming into the neighbourhood and lieing to them about their intent!”

    They love their community as it is. They don’t want it to change. In any way. I get that loud and clear.

    “Your comments smell rife with the odour of someone involved with Rize in one way or another as your make baseless accusations that can be contradicted at ever turn.”

    This is one of the funny parts of your diatribe. Anyone who disagrees with you is in the pocket of the developers. If only it were that easy…..unfortunately I’m not.

    So what’s motivating me? It’s that when I see an angry mob so lacking in integrity that it shouts down opposing views and stoops to the same levels it purports to be against (see your massing “rendering”), I feel it’s pretty darn OK to call them out on it.

    “Thank God for groups like RAMP to lift the blinders off so citizens can see and understand ALL of the information surrounding important issues that effect their community.”

    Because we’re all blind fools. I know how this city works. Everyone is in the pocket of the developers, right? Except you. You are the only one acting for the betterment of the greater good.

    “And FYI, RAMP constantly asked for meetings and disscussion with Rize Alliance to voice the concerns of citizens and to work out a stratagy that would be a fair and intelligent comprimise but they refused.”

    Why would they deal with people who yell at them and accuse them of being motivated primarily by greed? And did the two years of open house and even more time working with the planners help with engagement at all? As far as I can tell, there has been more consultation with this project than any other in recent memory.

    “I also love how you throw out the use of the word NIMBY, do you even know what the true definition is? for if you did you would realise your error and know that RAMP is anything but.”

    Does RAMP object to increased density at transit nodes in Mt Pleasant?

    Paul

    PS – Calm down, the rage is not helping the process, the cause, or your credibility.

  29. Jon Petrie on April 12th, 2012 6:29 pm

    Paul writes: >Yes I have read [community plan]. That site was identified as one that could and should handle increased density.<

    Could Paul please give the exact quote and reference page, paragraph supporting above or withdraw his statement.

    I read p. 25, top left Mt Pleasant Community Plan: "5.1 (i) Rize … Support the design of an 'iconic' … building WHEN granting permission for higher buildings … add more housing … seek to animate the block … "and then "5.1 (ii) Kingsgate Mall [bullet] Pursue additional DENSITY and height beyond that permitted under the current C-3A zoning."

    My capitals in the quote above — please note no provision for increased density on Rize site in plan, BUT very explicit provision for such an increase on the Kinsgate Mall site.

    AND tomorrow Friday the thirteenth at circa 1:20 pm a 70 foot semi trailer hired by Ramp will attempt a few times to drive down 10th (the bikeway), turn onto Watson, and right onto Broadway without killing anyone … could be interesting

  30. Shannon Blakeman on April 12th, 2012 7:09 pm

    Thank you Lindsay, for publishing this article and outlining the serious concerns that Mount Pleasant residents have over this planned mega-development. Thank you also to Skaur and other commentators who have made clearly reasoned and eloquent posts.

    As a long-term resident of Mount Pleasant, I am truly alarmed by the proposed tower. It in no way suits the neighborhood in terms of scale, and does not comply in any way with the Mount Pleasant Community Plan. It is NOT green. It will NOT ease housing pressures. It has NO aesthetic merit either – it is an utterly bland, generic, and charmless design. I believe the battle over this building also represents a tipping point – not just for Mount Pleasant, but the entire city of Vancouver.

    Building a large tower is nothing more than a cash-grab for the developer despite the “eco-density” buzzwords that they repeat in their talking points. In the end, they will collect their money, and be able to wipe their hands and walk away, while the rest of Mount Pleasant is left staring at a permanent eyesore.

    Even more troubling, is the impact that a development like this (and others that may follow) will have on the people in the neighborhood. Lease rates and rents will inevitably skyrocket driving out the very people who make it a vibrant and interesting community. Some city councillors have pointed to the West End as a positive example of what a high-rise community looks like. However, they fail to acknowledge an important fact: the vast majority of the towers in the West End were built as rentals that a wide spectrum of people could afford to live in. What resulted was a diverse community comprised of many ages, and income levels living close together. A diverse community is a healthy community, and it’s one of the reasons people love living in Mount Pleasant right now.

    I am also incensed by the accusations of NIMBYism being hurled at the people opposed to this plan. Unlike some other neighborhoods, Mount Pleasant has accommodated many new developments, and will continue to do so in the future. Does anyone think a developer would try to pull something like this in Shaughnessy or Kerrisdale? Most people here understand that densification is inevitable and are willing to accommodate: IF the consultation process is above board, and IF new developments are in line with the community plan and neighborhood character. Should residents not have a voice in how their community is shaped? Should we not speak up when it’s clear something shady is going on? Why bother with the time and effort of community planning if spot re-zoning shoots everything to hell? In fact, why bother to vote at all?

    Apologies for the long-winded post, but I will likely be copy-pasting some version of it and sending it to the Mayor & council. After closely watching several nights of hearings at City Hall, it seems evident to me that this development is already a done deal, and the hearings were merely a formality to placate irate residents. I sincerely hope I’m wrong, but I’m not betting on it.

  31. fmed on April 12th, 2012 7:43 pm

    I’m just trying to imagine a tower like this in my own neighbourhood (Commercial Drive). It will positively ruin the area. It is hard for me to fathom how the proponents of Rize cannot pre-visualize the deleterious effects of such a monstrosity. The corner of Broadway and Cambie is probably the closest model I can think of. Fight on folks – this building will set a dangerous precedent.

  32. fmed on April 12th, 2012 7:52 pm

    “Does RAMP object to increased density at transit nodes in Mt Pleasant?”
    @ Paul

    The answer to your question is here:

    http://www.rampvancouver.com/item/450/ramp-is-formed-may-3rd-2011/

  33. Paul on April 12th, 2012 9:10 pm

    “As a general guideline for the whole neighbourhood, the community supports greater use of infill opportunities over high-rise development – but the Mount Pleasant community also sees opportunities for some high-rise as well as mid-rise development in some specific locations, such as for large sites (i.e. Kingsgate Mall, IGA site, and Broadway, Kingsway, Watson Street, and 10th Avenue site).
    For the purposes of achieving more appropriate site development (meaning more open space, less paving, better connections to the street) and important public benefits (including contributions to heritage retention, new cultural amenities, affordable housing, childcare, flexible gathering spaces, improved pedestrian environment, provision of cycling routes, streetcar amenities, green space), pursue additional height and density in select locations.
    For these sites, participants in the planning process considered and supported a variety of built form options. Any additional height and density would be contingent on further urban design analysis, including shadowing, view impacts, ‘look and feel’ of the area, ‘permeability’ of the site (the ability of people to see and walk through the site), and other public benefit considerations as noted above. Distribute the height/bulk in relation to the character of adjacent streets (e.g., more height along Broadway, reduced height along 10th Avenue and Prince Edward, larger scale on Kingsway vs. smaller scale along Main Street).”
    Sec 3.4

  34. Michelle S of Mt Pleasant on April 12th, 2012 11:13 pm

    “The primary purpose of RAMP and their recent activity was to ensure the Rize project did not proceed as planned’ @ Paul……ah, duh, yes, because like I stated numerous times it does not adhere to the MPCP so ergo they are not entitled to the extra height, sheesh when will you get it and stop making a mockery of yourself by thinking you are one upping me when all your are doing is proving my point.

    ‘They love their community as it is. They don’t want it to change. In any way. I get that loud and clear.’ @ Paul……um got any facts to prove this or do you feel that slandering people is the way to prove your point.

    ‘So what’s motivating me? It’s that when I see an angry mob so lacking in integrity that it shouts down opposing views and stoops to the same levels it purports to be against (see your massing “rendering”), I feel it’s pretty darn OK to call them out on it.’ @ Paul…….so a bunch of concerned citizens voicing their informed and educated opinions when opposing this project are now ‘angry mobs’ and as for our massing rendering it has been confirmed by City Hall and independant experts that our rendering is in fact the ‘correct’ rendering as oppossed to Acton Ostry’s rendering which has been deemed as inaccurate…….oh, but please, feel free to prove me wrong on this one Paul.

    ‘PS – Calm down, the rage is not helping the process, the cause, or your credibility.’ @ Paul…….you should follow your own advice.

    Oh and thanks for proving my point as well and the points being made by those who oppose this Development in its current state and form in your last posting.

    Your cut and paste above clearly outlines how the Rize Development does not adhere to any points above that mandate the ability to get extra height.

    Sheesh Paul, you are just making this waaaay too easy, I suggest you put as much energy into getting the facts straight as you do in trying to disprove my comments cuz constantly correcting your errors is getting kind of boring.

    I would love to have a constructive conversation on here as oppossed to this petty he said, she said.

  35. Michelle S of Mt Pleasant on April 12th, 2012 11:30 pm

    @fmed, thanks for posting that link, and thanks for the support!

    @Shannon Blackeman, thanks for your informative and accurate comments, always nice to read when someone gets the facts straight, and I am not saying this because we seem to be on the same side but because you are sharing with the public some ironclad truths!

    @Antonio, ain’t that the truth.

    @Karen, ah, I see you too have seen the wolf in sheeps clothing.

    @SeanOrr, as someone once told me as I joined the fight to save my neighbourhood…’welcome to the dark side’…..thanks for admitting this is a learning process for you and stick with us and keep reading and garnering more information because trust me, it soon becomes very TRANSPARENT what peoples motive’s are and its not always pretty, in fact its down right ugly at times but it will get you the truth of the matter really fast. The most important thing I feel is that people have to become a little less complacent and not just accept things as is if they are not for the betterment of a community and its citizens.

  36. Sean Orr on April 13th, 2012 12:57 am

    Granted, but isn’t this just sort of the way capitalism works? I just don’t see why this particular development is worse than any other? There are already a few towers in the area, one built by the city. It’s also home to Vancouver’s first skyscraper, the Lee Building. I mean, it’s no casino.

  37. Paul on April 13th, 2012 6:38 am

    Michelle -
    We seem to be both proving each other correct. And the divide widens….. The sad thing is, neither of us are in favour of the tower.
    Paul

  38. vancouveriteouteast on April 13th, 2012 8:44 am

    let’s face it…neighbourhoods change over time… i doubt that, 50 years ago, main and broadway was filled with moustache-wearing, fixed gear-riding hipsters…. most people don’t live in a city as privileged as vancouver… while affordable housing is (admittedly) needed, we cannot expect areas of our city to remain the same forever.

  39. 10B on April 13th, 2012 11:37 am

    Why does the author feel the need to make these dirogative comments about the Westside of Vancouver? Does she have an inferiority complex? By the way (this website just accepted one of the most exclusive and uppity clubs in Vancouver into its “community”; where all of its members either live in West Vancouver or on the Westside of Vancouver!)

    I’m so sick of all this East Van pride bullshit. People coming here from Alberta, Halifax or wherever and moving into Mt. Pleasant or Commercial Drive and then spouting off about East Van pride; its so f—ing ridiculous.

    I have a suggestion for the author, if you want affordable housing where you can raise a family on your 60-80K a year income….move to Surrey or Langley or Coquitlam or Squamish. When did it become a basic human right to own your own home with a yard and white picket fence exactly where you want?

    FYI, you did not “help to defeat” the Edgewater casino development. What was defeated was an increase in the number of slot machines and table games from the existing casino; the project is going ahead.

    Also, the reason the westend was developed over decades was due to the lack of demand and growth at the time. Not this meticulous planning your implying.

    The argument about a brain drain is pathetic, the city’s population is and has been growing for years. The fact that your friends have left does not make this development ground zero for an intellectual exodus from the city.

    If you don’t like the style of the building or just don’t want your neighborhood to be invaded by people who don’t appreciate the arts as much as you, just say so. All of this other coffee house psychobabel is rubbish.

    And just to let the author know, this project will be going ahead, just like the Casino development you helped defeat!

  40. JJ on April 13th, 2012 11:53 am

    Property prices are rising because banks are lending. The height or style of what is built is largely immaterial at this point. Luxury skyscrapers in Miami more than halved in value when lending dried up. Similar in Spain, Ireland and elsewhere. It is not possible to fight banks with zoning or height restrictions. If you want cheaper housing prices go yell at the Bank of Canada and CMHC.

    Given the Federal government decision to expand the Canadian population with mass immigration, Vancouver has two choice: 1) build up or 2) build out. The quantity of people arriving will not allow for much middle ground.

  41. Sean Orr on April 13th, 2012 1:05 pm

    Well said both

  42. Scott on April 13th, 2012 1:57 pm

    JJ: Thank you for being the first person on this long thread that actually injected a sense of what is really happening here. Much talk of ‘affordable housing’, when it’s such a relative term and essentially dictated by supply and demand (just ask the Olympic village condo owners who bought before they dropped the prices). That said, I’ll take your comment a couple of steps further and say that the B.O.C. and CMHC actually have very little to do with it. The B.O.C. rate (and subsequent bank lending rates) are only at record lows because the U.S. Federal Reserve rates are at an all time low.
    For those that slept through economics: If the interest rate differential between the US and Canada gets too large, our dollar sky rockets and mangles our heavily manufacturing and export based economy).

    The only reason the U.S. rate is at a record low is because they are trying to inject some life into their moribund economy. Their economy is a train wreck because the housing market meltdown of 07-08. The housing market melted down because of Sub-Prime lending and the explosion of the derivatives market (Credit default swaps and the process of bundling up mortgages and selling them as bonds; Collateralized Debt Obligations). The financial sector ran amok with derivatives and sub-prime because of the enormous amount of deregulation in that sector under the Bush administration.

    The lesson is: Capitalism is generally a really good system, provided it is well regulated, especially in the high towers on Bay St and Wall St.

    I live a block away from this proposed development, and it’s an important issue; however right now we should be focusing on an even bigger issue: How do we shut down the Carter-Richards duo on the Kings?

  43. Scout Magazine on April 13th, 2012 2:10 pm

    ^ I had to read all of that to get your one truly silent point. Hard to focus on anything else. Coconuts go.

  44. Sandy Garossino on April 13th, 2012 3:01 pm

    Hmmm, 10B, would you like some honey with your vitriol?

    Lindsay Brown was a key architect of the successful movement to stop the expansion of Edgewater Casino. That grassroots campaign would not have succeeded without her. Full stop.

    Vancouver will wait with bated breath for the announcement of the new proposal for a smaller casino at BS Place–it will be interesting to see the Liberals make a move there heading into a provincial election.

    Anyway, Brown’s point about both the casino debate and RIZE is that the community consultation process in each case was a manifest failure. Seems like a fair point–it’s fairly evident that the Mt Pleasant community consultation, whatever it was, has not captured a true neighbourhood consensus on height. An unfortunate challenge for a community that is open to greater density.

  45. Michelle S of Mt Pleasant on April 13th, 2012 8:34 pm

    ‘We seem to be both proving each other correct.’ @ Paul

    Umm, I beg to differ Paul in that I do not feel like I am proving you correct in any manner. Keep your eyes open for a interesting piece of news airing soon that proves how ill thought out this Development is when it comes to transportation. We showed how dangerous and inaccessable Watson St. is for large delivery vehicles to manouver in and out of, just add that to the list of why this whole project is a sham.

    Translink also posted a statement that Chris Volan’s (of Rize Alliance) comments about their support of this project was false and misleading and they wanted to set the record straight that they said no such thing.

    ‘ the divide widens….. The sad thing is, neither of us are in favour of the tower.’ @ Paul

    Well Paul at least we can both agree on one thing that makes sense and is the truth!

  46. Roadshow: Metering lights may be only hope for I-580 jam at I-80 | Truck & Trailer Accessories on April 13th, 2012 11:39 pm

    [...] regarding technical planning and zoning matters. I don't need to reiterate … Read more on Scout Magazine (blog)Share and [...]

  47. GNR on April 14th, 2012 2:37 am

    Thank you for writing this article. Thank you also to RAMP for all the information you provide the community.
    My experience in talking to neighbours is that this site can take more height and density. The site is allowed to build to 30 feet and 1.0 FSR, NO QUESTIONS ASKED. It’s allowed by the City. The developer knew this when buying the property, if he didn’t he should have.
    I and my neighbours think that more height and density would be one 70 foot building surrounded by 2 to 4 storey buildings and 3.0 FSR. That’s a big hike it height and density for this developer.
    The following are a few points why this development does not fit in Mount Pleasant. The italics and underling are mine.
    The Mount Pleasant Community Plan principles show the intent of the Plan and are in sections 3.1 thru 3.11 pages 8 to 13 and are as follows:
    3.1 Housing (p. 8)
    ensure livability for the existing types and size of families and households by encouraging development that addresses a wide range of affordable housing needs.

    3.2 Economic Development (p.8)
    Develop without big box stores. This project has 90,000 sq feet of commercial/retail.

    (THE PICTURE ON P. 9 IN THE PLAN SHOWS BUILDINGS NO TALLER THAN THE LEE BUILDING)
    3.3 Built Form (p. 9)
    Hilltown identity, recognize that its slopes are natural form-makers on which a low profile for residential and commercial properties helps keep the sense of hill intact. Seek to distinguish new development in Mount Pleasant from other predominant forms of development in other parts of the City in ways that respond to the unique physical qualities of the neighbourhood. The local preference is for high-low massing rhythm across hill town, but with modest height as the norm, mostly low to mid-rise buildings, high-rise only on selected sites. (My insert here: Based on the International Building Code any building over 75 feet is considered a high-rise
    http://www.wobo-un.org/Archives/Tim_Ward_Key_High_Rise_Provisions_V3.pdf )

    Develop Watson Street as a special site, perceived as unique in history, character and use (similar to the Mole Hill precedent in Vancouver’s West End) and explore improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, especially through redevelopment.

    3.4 Large Site Development (p.9)
    The community sees some opportunities for high-rise as well as mid-rise development in some locations. Any additional height and density would be contingent on further urban design analysis, including shadowing, view impacts, ‘look & feel” of the area, ‘permeability’ of the site ( the ability of people to see and walk through the site). Distribute the height/bulk in relation to the character of adjacent streets. (ADJACENT street heights are 1 to 4 storey buildings).

    3.5 Parks & Park realm (p. 10)
    Parks, courtyards, other patios and rooftop terraces with public access as an outcome of redevelopment on any large site.

    3.6 Laneways (p.10). THIS DOES NOT APPLY TO THIS SITE AS THERE IS NO LANEWAY CONNECTED TO THE SITE.

    3.7 Transportation (p. 11)
    Maintain priority support for walking, cycling and use of public transit as the preferred modes of travel and, and mitigate the impacts of traffic and parking on the livability of Mount Pleasant. Keep pedestrian and cyclist routes relatively car-free.

    3.8 Heritage (p. 11)
    Recognize and celebrate the ‘triangle block’ as representing the historic heart of this community. ( page 24. Preserve and enhance the heritage ‘heart’ (triangle north of Broadway between Main and Kingsway) and the surrounding area at current scale.) My input here: This development is across the street from the heritage heart

    3.9 Culture (p. 12)
    Develop new – gathering, creation, production, presentations, and support spaces ( with emphasis on flexible use)

    3.10 Community Services & Development (p. 12)
    With new development, keep the neighbourhood context always in mind. Also consider the residents themselves (along with service providers and business operators in Mount Pleasant) as an important asset in the development process.

    3.11 Public Engagement (p. 13)
    Build & enhance community capacity through the planning and development process, ensuring that the process seeks common ground and reflects the interests of the broad community.

    The Plan says the community sees opportunities for some high-rise as well as mid-rise development in some specific locations such as for large sites (i.e. Kingsgate Mall, IGA site, and the Rize site). P 10) It also says that only two of these sites may pursue additional density and height beyond that permitted under the current C3A or C2C zoning. They are the IGA & Kingsgate Mall, NOT the Rize site.
    (P 25 & 26)

    The Plan also states that new plans strive to be consistent with city-wide policies. (p 3)
    The City’s Community Planning 101 considers Urban Design as a city wide issue and the C-3A Guidelines are divided into three sections, one of which is city-wide.
    The Central Broadway C-3A Urban Design Guidelines say that new development should be built to a height that matches existing significant older buildings up to six storeys (70 feet) in height. It also says maintain and enhance the view corridor to the north from Mian & 12th by means of a descending scale of buildings heights with the Lee Building at Main & Broadway as the highpoint and 7th Avenue as the low point. (on page 51 and on page 6)
    It also says that the Lee Building should serve as a landmark and that it should not be obstructed by adjacent building heights. The Lee Building should remain the reference point for people’s orientation in the City. (P 6 & 7 of the Guidelines).

  48. Ryan on April 14th, 2012 6:09 am

    You should research your “facts”. The West End has a population over 50,000 now – not the 32K you claim above to support your silly arguments.

  49. james steidle on April 14th, 2012 6:46 am

    What would I rather see there instead Sean?

    A) keep the current property parcel divisions intact and develop them on that basis. There is no need to consolidate multiple small parcels into one large parcel. This is contrary to the character of the neighbourhood and no block can ever be said to have become more interesting by a block size monolith. Develop three different buildings by different architects and you’ll have something more interesting, vibrant, diverse, and economically just (less property ownership concentration, if that’s something you care about)

    B) Don’t tear down the Jenson building where the Cheaper show was. You want density, develop the vacant parking lots within a five block radius. Keep that building and make it into a VAG satellite gallery. It would cost money but it would be worth it. Old buildings add to the variety of our neighbourhoods. Why tear down a perfectly good one?

    c) Don’t have parking. Parking is a huge cost and a big barrier to affordable housing, cheap rents, and a future without automobiles. Again, unless you could give a shit about the state of our planet.

  50. Lee Chapelle on April 14th, 2012 11:03 am

    The following article was featured in the March 26 edition of the Vancouver Courier submitted by Rize VP Chris Vollan http://www.vancourier.com/news/Letter+week/6371361/story.html
    Open that link in a separate browser window and select the PHOTOS tab so you can refer to their “artist’s rendering” while you read what I have to say about it. This demonstrates clearly how deceptive Rize has been about the scale and impact of this proposed project.
    The building immediately to the right of the Rize in the rendering is a four storey (48 ft) building called The Hub. The top of the adjacent Rize podium wall along Broadway appears in this image to be just slightly higher. In fact that podium wall is 118 feet tall, including two levels of commercial and five levels of residential. It ought to appear two and one half times the height of The Hub, not just slightly higher.
    Now notice how the top of the Rize tower is even with the horizon, with the top of The Stella building just peeking above it from behind. The Stella building is 126.6 ft at the top of the parapet wall, the Rize Tower is 215 ft. That is the equivalent of nine stories taller than the Stella, not six as they claim. A true rendering as has been done by RAMP architect Steven Bohus accurately shows the top of the tower well above the skyline
    Through visual trickery the Rize project is being misrepresented to appear as far less imposing than it actually will be.
    Mr Vollan also mentions in his letter that the project was the result of an extensive consultation process. What he fails to mention is that high-rises were rejected as an option by a wide margin of citizens polled at every step along the way, and that a building of this magnitude was never mentioned until the last community meeting of a two year planning process when in fact the City and Rize had been discussing the project in secret for years. Vague language to ostensibly permit such a tower was unilaterally inserted into the Plan by City staff; however in the subsequent Public Hearing (which resumes April 4 at 6:00 PM) many speakers have successfully dispelled the notion that The Mount Pleasant Plan supports a large high-rise in this location.
    He also references the 1987 Community Plan, but the 1987 Plan indicated that this site was suitable for office space, not residential. http://vancouver.ca/commsvcs/guidelines/C026.pdf Re Office space, see page 85 (or page 93 on the bar), 3.1.1, and also recommends undertaking a city-wide study to examine the problems with developing residential on major streets.
    It is my view and that of the majority of residents of Mount Pleasant, including architects and urban planners who have criticized this application, that this proposal is wrong for this site and the whole process has been a disaster. City Council needs to do a reset and ask for something that truly captures the imagination of the people of Mount Pleasant and will restore confidence in the public consultation process.
    A letter of opposition to the project has also been submitted by Libby Davies and Jenny Kwan.

    Lee Chapelle
    Vancouver

  51. Sean Orr on April 14th, 2012 12:57 pm

    It’s not that I don’t give a shit about the planet, it’s that the planet doesn’t give a shit about this.

  52. Oniktay on April 14th, 2012 2:46 pm

    I think you missed the memo, Shaun. So here it is.. Arguing on the Internet is like the special Olympics: even if you win, you’re still retarded.

  53. Lee Chapelle on April 14th, 2012 2:53 pm

    They asked for our opinion and the residents of Mount Pleasant have spoken, loud and clear. The massive structure they want to put here is wrong for this site on many levels. Mount Pleasant is doing it’s part, new mid-rise developments have popped up all over the neighbourhood, but this is just a flat-out misfit of a design. And I think they know it, otherwise they would not be presenting these misleading artists renderings with the building appearing to be half its actual size. The City knows it too, otherwise why did they keep the plans secret until the last meeting of the Community Plan group? Its not this or nothing, its this or something great. I vote for something great!

  54. Jon Petrie on April 14th, 2012 7:03 pm

    Per community plan: “Develop Watson Street as a special site, perceived as unique in history, character and use (similar to the Mole Hill precedent in Vancouver’s West End neighborhood) and explore improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, especially through redevelopment” (MPC Plan, section 3.3, p. 9)

    Per January City Staff Report to Council:
    >Trucks will be routed from Main Street to Watson northbound [to Rize's six bay loading dock] and depart [Watson] turning eastbound onto Broadway.<

    Ramp hired a truck and professional driver to test the route. See one minute of the truck's maneuvering here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16jERKlEqmU

  55. Jon Petrie on April 14th, 2012 8:15 pm
  56. Jon Petrie on April 14th, 2012 10:44 pm

    And another (Hardest Corner) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMicnBlb1OQ

  57. Reilly on April 15th, 2012 9:23 am

    Making more Lexuses simply does not bring down the price of a Prius or a family minivan.

    Not true if the supply of Priuses is supply-constrained and people are substituting Priuses for the Lexuses they prefer. Which they are here.

    Also lost in this discussion is the $6.25 million amenity contribution for rezoning to 19 stories. Is anyone here really saying that the extra stories aren’t worth $6.25 million for the City? Surely it can’t be that hard to look at a tall building.

    It’s also sad to watch artists claim that they have the right to stop this neighbourhood from changing, when they’re the ones who originally started the gentrification of Mount Pleasant. It’s not the low-income residents in the neighbourhood who are shopping at the cute little clothing boutiques on Main and living in live-work studios like the Artiste…

  58. Sean Orr on April 15th, 2012 12:27 pm

    Hey James, if being “not against” this “particular” project is being against the planet, what do you make of the East Van Food Co-Op? Because they’re actually “for” the project. They must really hate it here.

  59. Sean Orr on April 15th, 2012 1:03 pm

    Also, I dare you people to accuse the Heritage Foundation of being an industry shill the way you accused myself and Bob K. Go on. Do it.

  60. Sean Orr on April 15th, 2012 1:03 pm

    Morans.

  61. Lee Chapelle on April 15th, 2012 1:39 pm

    East Van Food Co-op accepted a monetary inducement to support the project. They admitted it. The other food retailers in the neighbourhood aren’t getting a sweetheart deal on their rent.

  62. Lee Chapelle on April 15th, 2012 1:53 pm

    6.25 million is chump change and please cease and desist with the strawman arguments. Nobody is trying to stop this neighbourhood from changing. Have you walked north on Scotia Street from Broadway lately? There are two brand new condo projects between 8th and 6th that have added a lot of extra height and density in a more respectful way, with maximum heights in the range of 80 ft. And yes this building will be hard to look at, it will be MASSIVE relative to the size of this site, which is NOT a “large site” contrary to the assertions of City staff. Riley, what is your response to the misleading images being published by Rize and The City, see my post above? You know that according to professional ethics they are not allowed to misrepresent project size?

  63. Jay on April 15th, 2012 2:33 pm

    Whether you’re against this development or for this development, everybody in this community has the right to voice their opinion, and really should be encouraged no matter what side you are on. So I wonder about somebody like Michelle who becomes agitated when there is community support for the project. Is that not your goal after all to have full community involvement?

    Of course it’s not.

    The fact is 99% of the community know very little about this project, yet you claim to speak for the community. Given the facts on the benefits of density , and weighing the pros and cons of point tower vs massive mid rise, do you really think the community would rally feverishly against this project?

    Maybe they would, who knows.

    Really the only information that is being distributed by these so called community representatives is anti development propaganda. How is the community suppose to come to a fair decision on this matter when you are suppressing information? At least be honest about who you (and many others like you) are when addressing people in the community on this issue… and that’s an anti development mouth piece.

  64. Lee Chapelle on April 15th, 2012 3:17 pm

    This development has been being debated publicly for two years, It has been in the TV news several times and has been in every newspaper and is a regular feature in many blogs. There have been numerous open houses and other public forums put on by the developer, the city and citizen’s groups. Most if not all of these have featured feedback forms. In every single case respondents have rejected this project by margins ranging from 75-90%. This represents a fair sampling of public opinion. The information being distributed by RAMP and others opposed to this project is based on *facts*, it is not “anti-development propaganda”, RAMP is not anti-development, they are opposed to the massive scale of this particular project at this location and they are protesting the dishonest tactics that have been employed by the City and the developer throughout the process. You don’t have to agree, but a lot of your assumptions appear to be mistaken.

  65. Michelle S of Mt Pleasant on April 15th, 2012 3:51 pm

    “So I wonder about somebody like Michelle who becomes agitated when there is community support for the project. Is that not your goal after all to have full community involvement?” @ Jay

    I comment on people’s remarks that are for this project because I have invested alot of personal time and energy into investigating this Developement trying to educated myself on the pro’s and con’s and time and time again my FACTS show this to be a poor choice for this area and piece of land, can you say the same Jay?

    Therefore when someone says that they are for it and gives their reason, I then back it up with FACTS as to why it is not, if and when appropriate. Unfortunately a few like yourself would rather attack my passion for finding a better solution rather than respect the fact that I devoted this time and energy into looking into things rather than sitting on my ass and doing nothing about it, or worse yet, sitting on my ass behind my computer and attacking people for trying to do some good in their community, hmmm, sounds a bit like you doesn’t it Jay.

    “The fact is 99% of the community know very little about this project, yet you claim to speak for the community. Given the facts on the benefits of density , and weighing the pros and cons of point tower vs massive mid rise, do you really think the community would rally feverishly against this project?”
    @ Jay

    Well Jay first of all your 99% comment about people being in the dark is utter crap cuz I guess the thousands of people I spoke to this past year and the over 3000 people who signed our petition who are against this project and the large number of Mt Pleasant citizens that wrote in to Council to oppose this project are nobody’s who have no clue? And please, show me proof of these other comments you make in this paragraph because I and others have clearly shown this is not so with statistics and articles and direct quotes but you are just running a verbal tirade with nothing to back it up.

    “Really the only information that is being distributed by these so called community representatives is anti development propaganda. How is the community suppose to come to a fair decision on this matter when you are suppressing information? At least be honest about who you (and many others like you) are when addressing people in the community on this issue… and that’s an anti development mouth piece.” @ Jay

    Again, put your money where your mouth is Jay or are you afraid of looking stupid for not being able to back up your remarks. Suppressing information, are you pulling my leg here, the Developer Rize Alliance tells the public they reduced the height by 27% but in fact it’s only 11%, they use false renderings of the Development to present to the public and City Council, they claim Translink supports this Development and Translink goes to the effort to post a commentary in the papers to say that they said no such thing and we proved without a doubt these and many other falsehoods are just that, falsehoods and you want to accuse me and others of being anti-development when time and time again we said we are all for density on this site, lets just do it right? is this correct, becaue if this is exactly what you are saying then you are obviously not very well informed because your comments are not factual in any stretch of the imagination.

    You want to speak out against an opinion on here then I suggest that you know what you are talking about because myself and other’s will just dispell your uninformed and uneducated rant each and every time.

    I have no problem being proven wrong but I have yet to see the FACTS to make me see that this particular Development is good for the community.

  66. Michelle S of Mt Pleasant on April 15th, 2012 3:58 pm

    “Hey James, if being “not against” this “particular” project is being against the planet, what do you make of the East Van Food Co-Op? Because they’re actually “for” the project. They must really hate it here. @ Sean Orr

    Hey Sean, are you aware that during his speech at the Public Hearing the guy who is part of this East Van Food Co-Op admitted that he and his friends shop at Whole Foods (one of the most expensive food stores I might add) and not in the Mt Pleasant neighbourhood? yah, I’d pretty much say they really hate it here…..wake up and smell the coffee Sean, this is more window dressing by the Developer, this East Van Food Co-Op is not garanteed the spot its just in talks, sniff, sniff, I smell a rat.

  67. Jon Petrie on April 15th, 2012 5:19 pm

    More than half the density of the project — using density in the sense of the volume of enclosed space — is in the form of quasi big box stores and the enclosed loading bay that serves those stores, circa 45′ high of enclosed space covering 95% of the site and serving as a high podium for the housing. (Condos gain in market value as they are moved higher off the ground.)

    When people state that density on this site is a good thing because density is ‘green’ are they stating that the big box format with circa 23′ average high ceilings is an ecological advanced form of merchandising?
    What exactly are they arguing when saying that we need density at transit hubs?

    And when I am thirsty and need liquid I don’t, when in a country with questionable, water, drink from the first tap that presents itself — i.e. even if it was agreed that high density –big — on this site is better than medium density, medium scale, there is still plenty of room to argue that a particular form of high density is ugly, doesn’t serve the public.

    And I think people do have a duty to get up to speed on facts before presenting their opinions — opinions based on misinformation go viral all too easily and don’t help the democratic process

  68. Jay on April 15th, 2012 6:28 pm

    “There have been numerous open houses and other public forums put on by the developer, the city and citizen’s groups. Most if not all of these have featured feedback forms. In every single case respondents have rejected this project by margins ranging from 75-90%. This represents a fair sampling of public opinion.”

    I noticed at one of the community meetings, there was a survey to fill out, and one of the questions was do you own or do you rent. A disproportionate number of respondents indicated that they own. Mount Pleasant is made up of many 3 story walk ups as well as basement suite rentals and sub divided rental suites west of Ontario St. So I would have to disagree that we are getting a fair sampling.

    If the community decided against this development in its current form then I would be fine with that, but I think it’s a little arrogant and undemocratic for certain groups to claim they speak for the community.

  69. skaur on April 15th, 2012 8:05 pm

    People have a right to be for or against something or play devil’s advocate, but lets not put each other down. Would it not be more constructive to have intelligent debate instead of resorting to name-calling?

    One of my issues with this whole thing lies with City Planning Staff. If the community planner assigned to this project had actually been listening to input collected throughout the 2010 MPC Plan making process, I’m sure he would have realized that a 26-storey high rise was not going to be an appropriate fit. Yet, City Planning staff encouraged and supported the initial 26-storey proposal so you can’t really blame the developer for going for it. It has been apparent from the get-go that City Planning staff have been pushing to get this approved despite the legitimate and valid arguments people have made against it. I feel like the City is pushing for increased height and density in order to get the CAC money. A promise of a vague amenity at some point in the future does not inspire confidence and doesn’t really seem worth it in the end. The developer claimed on a postcard they circulated, that the community would decide how this money would be spent and on what. This is not true like many of the other things they have publicly stated. The community will be asked their input- I have little faith this will have any impact- and then City Planning staff will decide and it will ultimately be approved by Council. During the Public Hearing, Councillor Jang admitted that 1.7 million wasn’t much in the way of affordable housing so they would have to leverage those funds with others as they became available. There is no guarantee that these funds will become available and that they will come at any point in the near future. The planning rezoner said at the Jan. 17, 2012 Open House that it would take 2-5 years to get this money back into the community. I’m betting it will take longer than that. Also, the 4.some-odd million is slated for some kind of cultural amenity. They kept talking about repurposing an older building but for what I don’t know.

    But having said that, I went to the developer info center (which is not a community center as claimed) a few times in the past year to ask questions and see what they had to say about the project and the two employees there could not answer any of my questions. While this whole Pop-Up Space appears to be a good idea, it felt a little contrived and more of an attempt to get artists on side by dangling a 9,200 artist production space in front of them (which has since been removed). I personally know artists who took their work down from the space because it felt like such a sham to them.

    As well, this was my first time attending a Public Hearing- I watched each of the 6 nights and I was shocked at how biased Council was. I went in hoping this was not the done deal that everyone says it is and that Council would be fair in their questions but that wasn’t the case. People who spoke in favor of the project were treated like pals, while some of those who spoke against the project were cross-examined in what I felt was an attempt to discredit or confuse them. It was really disheartening to watch.

    The process is incredibly flawed. Everyone has a role to play in it but instead of getting all up in each other’s business, let’s spend our energy fixing this flawed system. This call for density seems so strange to me because it’s just the same kind of tower-podium structure that keeps getting built and accommodates one style of living. Who and what are we building for? Are we actually building for people moving here to live here or are we building investment properties for people?

    And someone blasted Lindsay for her ‘brain-drain’ comment. She’s correct. A lot of people I know have left Vancouver as well. Talented, intelligent, energetic people who have a lot to contribute are gone.

    Finally, while i appreciate the open forum here, if you don’t actually know the facts, or have not been following this closely, please inform yourselves so you can actually see what this is really about instead of criticizing people from the safety of your computer. This doesn’t serve anyone.

  70. Sean Orr on April 15th, 2012 8:23 pm

    Noise, noise, noise, noise.

  71. Scout Magazine on April 15th, 2012 9:19 pm

    ^ “People have a right to be for or against something or play devil’s advocate, but lets not put each other down.”

  72. Lee Chapelle on April 15th, 2012 10:54 pm

    @Jay I noticed at one of the community meetings, there was a survey to fill out, and one of the questions was do you own or do you rent. A disproportionate number of respondents indicated that they own. Mount Pleasant is made up of many 3 story walk ups as well as basement suite rentals and sub divided rental suites west of Ontario St. So I would have to disagree that we are getting a fair sampling.

    Renters were allowed to attend those meetings, and in fact most RAMP members are renters. In any cases people who don’t show up and speak their mind effectively do not count

    @Jay If the community decided against this development in its current form then I would be fine with that, but I think it’s a little arrogant and undemocratic for certain groups to claim they speak for the community.

    As I said before, every opinion survey tells us that RAMP speaks for the majority. You only only have look at the results from the Salt Open House which is available on the City website. Hundreds of people were against the rezoning, vs a few dozen in favour, and that was at a meeting being heavily spun in favour of it. Yes, some people are supporting it, but personally I have yet to hear a good objective reason why. The alternatives are not this or nothing, they are this or possibly something really fantastic like this http://tinyurl.com/7tf3abf .

    Why do you support it? What redeeming features are you seeing that I can’t see?

  73. Shannon Blakeman on April 15th, 2012 11:28 pm

    @skaur – thank you for your comments. I also attended several nights of hearings and my reaction was much the same as yours – I was dismayed by the blatant bias openly exhibited by many of the councilors. It was my first time witnessing a hearing – a real eye-opener, and not in a good way. This is clearly some backroom deal the City & developer thought they could slide by, and they were betting on community apathy. I’m pretty sure it will go through regardless of community opposition, but I believe it’s important for people to speak out and have their say, even when it seems futile.

    The silver lining is that I now know I have engaged committed neighbors who care about their community.

  74. Jon Petrie on April 16th, 2012 10:07 am

    Re the question of how representative of Mount Pleasant is the Ramp group:

    That question needs a context — how representative of the City are the Councillors, owners/ tenants ?

    Vancouver BC population ~620,000. Adult population say ~ 500,000. 77,000 people voted for Robinson or under 20% of that population.

  75. News Collection on April 16th, 2012 10:15 am

    [...] On Rize (Or Forcing A Luxury Highrise On A Neighbourhood That Really Doesn’t Want It): http://scoutmagazine.ca/2012/04/11/on-rize-or-forcing-a-luxury-highrise-on-a-neighbourhood-that-real… [...]

  76. Lee Chapelle on April 16th, 2012 11:37 am

    @Sean Orr Also, I dare you people to accuse the Heritage Foundation of being an industry shill the way you accused myself and Bob K. Go on. Do it.

    Heritage Vancouver (not “The Heritage Foundation”) has essentially said that they don’t believe Mount Pleasant is an important heritage neighborhood and they voted to throw their support behind this project with the belief, naive and miguided in my opinion, that this will take pressure off Chinatown and the Downtown where there are a number of buildings they are fighting to protect. Not all Heritage Vancouver is behind this position, Bruce MacDonald, a HV alumni and noted Vancuver historian spoke against it. I believe that Mount Pleasant, one of Vancouver oldest neighbourhoods deserves better than to be thrown under the bus in the name of appeasing developers.

  77. Jay on April 16th, 2012 1:02 pm

    “Renters were allowed to attend those meetings, and in fact most RAMP members are renters. In any cases people who don’t show up and speak their mind effectively do not count”-

    These community meetings exist to provide a venue for people to express their concerns. Certainly you would agree that somebody who is against this project would feel much more motivated to attend one of these community meetings than somebody who is fine with it. The vast majority of Mount Pleasant residents have not attended these meetings, so they don’t count… hmm.

    While there are people with legitimate concerns, it is easy to see the knee jerk element within your ranks. Case in point Michelle. It is easy to see, judging by her above posts, that she seeks out confrontation and is following a more personal agenda. Michelle’s (and others) hostile nature and your ridiculing of supporters of the project will only discourage others from participating in what are suppose to be open forums for discussion.

    Fair sampling… I don’t think so.

    “Why do you support it? What redeeming features are you seeing that I can’t see?”

    http://www.rize.ca/files/kingsway-broadway/PAGE_2_-_KWY_open_house_boards_FINAL_low_res.pdf

    I will explain why I support this project in its current form (whereas you do not).

    The building itself is nice enough, although some choose to characterize it as ugly for some reason. The podium is large though, and if I had my way I would reduce the size of the podium and increase the height of the tower, but obviously that’s not going to happen. But then again 1 Kingsway just down the street is a very imposing mid-rise structure and nobody seems to mind. Maybe the crux of the concern is more to do with height and someone’s view being blocked?

    You’ve also have to take into consideration that this intersection is where a high capacity rail transit station will be located. Transit works best in high density environments. With high enough ridership, annual operating costs will be covered, as they are with the Expo Line. High density transit oriented development is key in achieving this goal, the example you provided is imo, far too low a density for a location of this importance.

    We are also located within the Metro Core, where there are over 200 000 jobs. High density within the Metro Core will allow more people the opportunity to walk, cycle, or take public transit to work. As the downtown core runs out of real estate, we will start to rely on Central Broadway for more employment space. As it stands now, there are over 50 000 jobs located in this area, which is a significant number.

    The amenities that come with high density are important too. This means more choice for residents which means more walkability, which in turn means less people driving. In all likelihood, when Kingsgate mall is redeveloped into high density residential, there will be a movie theatre built into the development. You would not get such an amenity with the densities you’re lobbying for in the Metro Core.

    The densities you propose for Mt. Pleasant and the Metro Core are, imo, far too low., all things being considered.

  78. Michelle S of Mt Pleasant on April 16th, 2012 6:00 pm

    “While there are people with legitimate concerns, it is easy to see the knee jerk element within your ranks. Case in point Michelle. It is easy to see, judging by her above posts, that she seeks out confrontation and is following a more personal agenda. Michelle’s (and others) hostile nature and your ridiculing of supporters of the project will only discourage others from participating in what are suppose to be open forums for discussion” @ Jay

    Judging from my above posts Jay one can clearly see that I have provided the information to back up my claims and there will be those that get it and those that do not, obviously you keep wanting to ignore the facts and simply point fingers and say I am wrong but do not prove me to be so.

    Since when does seeking out to be informed about what is going on in my neighbourhood and taking an active roll in protecting its best interests to be mocked by the likes of you Jay? Of course I have a personal agenda, I live in Mt Pleasant, I work very hard to be able to afford to do so, I support the small local business’s and I pay taxes which should give me the right to have an active involvement as per what happens in my neighbourhood and to see affordable housing be a norm, not a figment of my imagination.

    You don’t have to agree or like what I have to say because we do live in a Democracy and are free to voice our opinions, albeit like I said before, it seems under Gregor’s rein it’s beginning to feel like more of a Dictatorship…..but like I mentioned before, you seem to have missed the boat because you post up arguements for this proposal and when someone comments with information to dispell your thought process you get your panties all in a bunch. Even when many people disprove your comments with facts and information that cannot be disputed you still go and post the same comments, it’s almost like you have to hear yourself say it over and over again so that you yourself can believe them.

    Myself and others are simply attempting to shed some light on old myths regarding planning that simply do not work in Vancouver and the proof is out there.

    It is time for a change that does not only figure out how to do Density correctly but works for the community at large and not just a handfull of citizens.

  79. Paul on April 16th, 2012 7:50 pm

    Michelle,
    I think what Jay is trying to point out is that you (and many in the RAMP Camp) have positioned your opinion on a subjective issue as “correct” and “fact”, alienating and lambasting anyone who holds a view that may differ even slightly. The result is a Council that won’t listen to you, waning support from the public, virtually none of your objectives achieved on the plan itself, and seemingly a serious amount of stress.. I offer as respectfully as I can at this point that your efforts have failed less because of a corrupt system and more because of an inability to navigate said system in the intelligent manner I am certain you are capable of. (I am less certain of your ability when it comes to presenting your perspective in a dispassionate way necessary to get an ear of the people that matter)
    Paul

  80. CA on April 16th, 2012 8:18 pm

    I sit on the Strata board of one of the bastions of gentrification just a few blocks up from this site. I have heard, read and reviewed many of the arguments over the past few years. I struggle to articulate this argument but, predominantly, those against this project I have interacted with are: those losing views, or those not actually from the neighborhood in any long term or meaningful sense (remembering the first Antisocial location/soma cafe etc. is not a claim to geographic ownership…those kids were from the burbs and you are just remembering the first wave of gentrification) that decry the erosion of their hallowed cultural scene…. In both instances, I can not help but come to the conclusion that the manifold arguments have an inexorable way of returning to an unspoken ‘only a little gentrification, of the type and time I was a part of…. And no more’…. There are problems of scope and scale… But if not at this transit orientated intersection… Then where? The industrial wasteland south of Strathcona?

  81. vandervoice on April 16th, 2012 9:20 pm

    @Jay: The building is “nice enough”? You’re really keeping your expectations and taste low eh? It seems mediocrity satisfies you just fine.

    You bring up 1 Kingsway, and yes, people do mind the design of that building but the big difference is that it’s not on a prominent corner. There also isn’t commercial space for big box stores and almost 300 parking spots, which encourages extra vehicular traffic, something counter intuitive to being at a major transportation hub. When this point was brought up at the hearing Rize proceeded to tell council they weren’t willing to eliminate parking because that was a feature they wanted to offer to potential residents. If sustainability was an actual consideration then relying solely on public transportation would be a selling feature, you know, since Vancouver is striving to be the greenest city and all. Why not help induce lifestyle changes rather than perpetuate the issues that the city is dealing with downtown?

    We’re all aware that transit is expected to be developed further at that intersection. Perhaps it would be wiser to come up with a master plan involving that intersection as a whole rather than spot rezoning and eventualities. Since the Kingsgate site is also slotted for development, including residential tower(s), then why not address both corners at once for a more comprehensive design? If you look at intersections like Commercial and Broadway and now Cambie and Broadway you’ll notice there are NO residential towers located at any of those corners. Residential has been introduced farther back from the intersections, and those are both high density transit areas.

    If Rize and the city were actually interested in preserving the neighbourhood’s character and sense of community they would develop that site as a primarily porous commercial development with varying sizes of spaces so that local businesses could still indeed afford to stay in the community and encourage new independent businesses to flourish. (I direct you to this article and ask why designs are still incorporating this scale of commercial space rather than support local businesses http://www.theatlanticcities.com/jobs-and-economy/2012/04/best-buys-big-box-purge/1773/) By having residential secondary on that site the design allows circulation throughout and a residential tower would be better suited for the Kingsgate site, which brings in the extra density.

    I’m a little curious why you think a movie theatre would be included in the Kingsgate redevelopment. Are you suggesting a design like Scotia Bank Theatres will be proposed? Do you know something the rest of us don’t? It’s ironic that you think this development will bring added amenities to the site since that has specifically been removed from the design in favour of a cash contribution towards cultural amenities and affordable housing to be distributed somewhere else in the community at some other point in time.

    In no way is this design “iconic”, something the Mount Pleasant plan requires. I’m not endorsing Bjarke Ingels Group (they’re now involved in another upcoming Vancouver development) but I see designs like W57th in NYC (http://www.big.dk/projects/w57/) and wonder why Vancouver can’t consider something more exciting? Why propagate faux heritage? If Vancouver was actually interested in introducing a new aesthetic or typology that addressed proper sustainability issues regarding energy consumption, transit, longevity and quality of life, etc then there would be more innovation explored at such a contentious site which could then help justify height increases. Like many of the people opposed to the Rize proposal have said, they’re not against development or density per se, it just needs to be introduced into an existing community appropriately. That’s one major aspect to remember, Mount Pleasant does not need Rize to create a community with this development; a community already exists.

  82. Bobby C on April 16th, 2012 11:00 pm

    There was an area in recent memory that was sort of going through the same situation. Let’s learn from it. #Gastown #Nimby

  83. Michelle S of Mt Pleasant on April 16th, 2012 11:06 pm

    Paul,

    It amazes me, as I read this thread, of the number of comments from those for this project who spend more time worrying about whether or not I articulated my viewpoint in a manner they approve of when they should be more concerned with the reality of this situation.

    You point out how we failed and I have to ask myself how do you make that comment when time and time again we simply took a comment that was for the project and showed how this was not the case.

    Point in fact, people for the project claimed that we need the density in the neighbourhood to lower the cost of housing…….I ask for what seems like the hundreth time, prove it to me with facts that this is indeed true and not a single person has done this and they have not because its not true and I have the documents and statistics to prove this…..so with all due respect Paul, please show me how that is lambasting anyone? when truth and fact it is I am merely dispelling a comment and backing my claim.

    I get it, trust me I do, that it’s an asset to be able to project your viewpoint in a way that is balanced and voiced in a manner that does not put the other side on the defensive but on the flip side of that though is that regardless of how I presented my viewpoint there would always be those on the attack, the same thing you accuse me of.

    Quite frankly I was and am, more concerned about getting the correct information out there to help inform my neighbours and community and if that makes me out to be the big bad inarticualte meanie then I will own it.

    This is a very serious issue with very serious repercussions and if someone is going to make a comment that I can prove is actually not the case, whether or not they are for or against the project I will because I am not here to hold your hand and babysit you through this process.

    I love Canada and I love being a Canadian but sometimes we are so pathetic in our wishy washy ways…….stop being such babies and worrying about if I offended you because I am passionate about my neighbourhood and willing to go out there and fight for it.

    I appreciate your words though Paul and for sharing your insight and will take them into consideration, I am just curious though if you or any of my critics have spent as much of their personal lives devoted to such a cause and have as much information as I do as to what is really going on here. I think if you did, you would get where I am coming from and appreciate my efforts instead of condeming them.

  84. Shannon Blakeman on April 16th, 2012 11:19 pm

    @CA

    I don’t think it’s wise to characterize everyone who opposes this project the same way. I get the impression that many of those who have posted in favor of the development believe that a tiny minority of young entitled “artsy” types are creating a loud ruckus so that their neighborhood can stay exactly the same and never ever change. Your post was thoughtful and did not have this tone, but it seems to be a convenient and often sneeringly derisive label used by others in the debate.

    It’s a false characterization. I saw people at the hearing of many ages and backgrounds who spoke out because they felt the entire process was broken. I saw a mix of small business owners, renters, long-time coop residents, and seniors on fixed incomes lining up to speak. These people have justifiable fears about being chased out of a neighborhood they’ve been a part of for a very long time.

    As for myself, I’ve lived in the Mount Pleasant area for about the past 15 years. I am not an artist, nor do I have any affiliation with RAMP. I have not gentrified anything. I’m just a working person and renter who is increasingly alarmed by rapidly vanishing rental stock. I oppose the RIZE Alliance development for the following reasons:

    1) The development is completely out of whack scale & size-wise for the neighborhood. It’s attempt to import a building style that is a bad fit for that particular lot. This doesn’t mean that their aren’t other possibilities. I’m no architect, but I think a design that incorporated several discrete buildings at a more moderate height (12-14 stories) sans podium & parking could work.

    2) The application & consultation process wasn’t kosher. Full stop. This is not okay with me, and is a potential threat for everyone in Vancouver, whether they rent or own homes. Ad-hoc spot re-zoning for whomever has the biggest bag of money is not the way to build communities or increase densification. The deceptive practices of the developer have also left a very bad taste in my mouth.

    Ideally, development is something city planners, residents & developers should have an equal stake in and work on cooperatively. All too often the frantic and manic drive for (re)development leaves long-time residents out in the cold.

  85. Jon Petrie on April 16th, 2012 11:23 pm

    @Sean Orr: I dare you people to accuse the Heritage Foundation [presumably Heritage Society, a different organization] of being an industry shill the way you accused myself and Bob K. Go on. Do it.

    Isn’t Don Luxton, president of Heritage Society the same Luxton closely associated with a firm called “Donald Luxton and Associates” that sells heritage expertise ?

    And doesn’t that firm’s business expand when there is room in Vancouver’s heritage density bank, when developers have an economic reasons to pursue heritage designation ?

    And didn’t Don Luxton in his letter to Council Feb 24 on behalf of the Heritage Society supporting the Rize project write: >>We urge the City to continue to explore ways in which developments along arterials can absorb any remaining density in the now-frozen Heritage Density Bank.<<

    And if the Rize tower is approved, won't similar mediocre towers with heritage density transfer potential be likely to be approved ?

    And if the Rize project is shrunk significantly won't developers across town be reluctant to attempt to add to the allowed FSR of a site thru heritage density transfer ?
    .

  86. Michelle S of Mt Pleasant on April 17th, 2012 7:18 am

    PS Paul, the only people who have ‘failed’ here is our Mayor and City Hall that keeps throwing citizens needs and rights under the wheels of the bus.

  87. CA on April 17th, 2012 3:20 pm

    @Blakeman

    Thanks for the thoughtful reply – I very much agree there is an element of the “pro-camp” that is conveniently painting the “anti-camp” with a familiar Vancouver brush: “it’s all a bunch of pseudo-East Van, artsy, lefty, lazy, etc…”
    The adjectives shift a bit, but we’ve all seen the creative attempts to use gross generalization to neutralize an effective debate in this city.

    I would certainly not want to be lumped into that category, and I can see how my comments came close to the line. To be clear, the people I refer to are a very a diverse group and only reflect my personal, subjective experiences.

    They are two very distinct camps: the people with lots of disposable income on the top flours of the buildings around 12th and Kingsway that are using the “anti-camp” rhetoric in an attempt to preserve their million dollar views; and the highly educated folks from the burbs I went to UBC with that now have jobs as planners, in the arts, in media, in restaurants.. many of whom, in my respectful view, despite their purported ethos, have very much played an instrumental part in the gentrification I have seen (and admittedly been a part of) in the 11 years I have been in Mount Pleasant.

    In discussing this issue with these two loose, non-homogenous groups of people, I’ve found a remarkable level of dis-ingenuity: agents of rapid change vehemently against any change and refusing to engage in the most useful debate (and one that has played out to some extent above): -this sucks, so what’s a better compromise?

    That density and development will occur in a place like this is inevitable. Forcing a hideous building on a spot is unpalatable, but rather than being full stop opposed, I wish some of the people I dealt with were more readily open to alternatives such as you suggest at your point 1.

    I would add that, with references to some of the comments on the “ad hominem attacks” defense in comments further up the chain, that’s a fairly lofty shield to be tossing about in this context no? I mean sure, in an academic or philosophical debate one can take that cover…. But this is where we all live – this is about place, architecture, class, urban planning, social cohesion, and the economy – and it will palpably impact upon many if not all of us in a real way- if this isn’t the type of debate to put our proverbial money where our mouth is and… live and act what we say (and therefore have no need for the shield of the ad hominem defense) then what debate is?

  88. Michelle S of Mt Pleasant on April 17th, 2012 3:22 pm

    Well surprise, surprise verdict is in corruption aka city hall 1, citzens rights 0

  89. Shannon Blakeman on April 17th, 2012 5:11 pm

    @CA thanks for your very thoughtful & considered response!

    I’m disappointed that it’s been approved wholesale (I would have actually been happy with a modified plan of some sort). I regret not signing up to speak at the hearings – not that it would have done any good, but it’s important to stand up when you see wrong-doing, and I believe this is just one instance of a very serious problem in the city.

    I applaud the folks at RAMP and all of their hard work. Without the information they provided many people would not have known about this at all, or would only have had access to marketing spin. I also salute each and every person who stood up in front of council and detailed why they were opposed – some of the presentations were passionate, some were funny, but all of the presentations I witnessed were very articulate & thoughtful. This has been a real learning experience.

    It didn’t work out this time, but remember – small groups of citizens coalescing together helped prevent six lane freeways from running through downtown, helped save beautiful landmarks like the Orpheum, and most recently, vocal protests narrowly saved the Bloedel Conservatory from being scrapped.

    Can anyone tell me if the voting results are revealed (which councilors voted for/against)? Or is that info kept from the public?

  90. Waylon on April 17th, 2012 5:28 pm

    Nice. My view from the 19th floor is going to kick ass!

  91. Michelle S of Mt Pleasant on April 17th, 2012 7:46 pm

    They are two very distinct camps: the people with lots of disposable income on the top flours of the buildings around 12th and Kingsway that are using the “anti-camp” rhetoric in an attempt to preserve their million dollar views; @ca

    Wow, could you be any more presumptious and hypocritical if you tried? Being one of those people living on 12th and Kingsway area I find your comment totally offensive. I worked very hard to be able to live where I do and my building was developed without any Public Hearing because it was COMPLETELY within the zoning for the area.

    As for all this disposable income I allegedly have, please show me where I have obviously hid it because it sure as hell is not in my bank account. Your comment comes off more like a jealous jab at those who have what you obviously do not.

    Also, according to the Mt Pleasant Community Plan, you know the one that was scrapped so that the new one could be constructed to accomodate the Developers who waived around greenbacks in front of Gregor all in the guise of supporting his campaign, it clearly states that 12th Ave was the hilltop (geographically it is the highest point along that corridor) and that the larger buildings would start there and the flow would follow with buildings in lower height heading towards W. Broadway with the Lee building being the focal point.

    Now, surprise surprise, suddenly the property that Rize Alliance purchased is the new hilltop starting point….so excuse me if I am not a little pissed off that the City told me one thing according to the Mt Pleasant Community Plan but to only see it scrapped for this new and ‘Developer’ improved version.

    But more importantly I did not join an ‘anti’ stance against this property being Developed just to save my great view, which by the way I have every right to want to keep and who are you to say this is wrong, its part of why I invested in my home aside from Mt Pleasant being one of my favourite areas of Vancouver, and furthermore I would have been totally fine if my building was in line with the other projects in the area at 8-10 stories, in fact I wish it was so that it was more in keeping with the look and feel of the community, especailly after I got involved in this very important issue taking place in my neighbourhood.

    What I did join was a stance that something progressive, green, addressed the affordable housing issue and would bring a smart kind of density to our area would be developed on this site. So please do not ‘assume’ you know why I was against this Development in its current state and form.

    …. But this is where we all live – this is about place, architecture, class, urban planning, social cohesion, and the economy – and it will palpablyca impact upon many if not all of us in a real way- if this isn’t the type of debate to put our proverbial money where our mouth is and… live and act what we say (and therefore have no need for the shield of the ad hominem defense) then what debate is? @ca

    So are you saying just because I have a million dollar view that my opinion does not count and that I am not part of this dynamic you speak of in your above comment?

    You make some valid comments in your post but you lost all of my respect with your petty dig at those who happen to live somewhere in which the Rize building will impact them negatively in a big way. This Development in its current state and form hurts all of us that live in Mt Pleasant so don’t start creating divides where there are none.

  92. George Baugh on April 17th, 2012 8:48 pm

    Time to find another neighbourhood to gentrify. Whalley?

  93. Michelle S of Mt Pleasant on April 17th, 2012 9:32 pm

    “Nice. My view from the 19th floor is going to kick ass!” @ Whalon

    My aren’t you the intelligent one……

    Enjoy it while you can because something denser and taller will come up in front of it soon enough, karma buddy.

  94. Michelle S of Mt Pleasant on April 17th, 2012 9:37 pm

    “Can anyone tell me if the voting results are revealed (which councilors voted for/against)? Or is that info kept from the public?” @ Shannon Blakeman

    Mayor (gag) Robertson and all of his Vision clones voted for it as did NPA George Affleck, the only one to oppose it, and obviously the only person with any concern for Vancouver planning and respect for the community was Adrianne Carr.

    A request was made by most of the councillors to modify the building but that was just window dressing to think that they passified the citizens by throwing us a bone.

  95. Shannon Blakeman on April 18th, 2012 12:07 am

    @ George Baugh
    Okay, I admit your post made me laugh.

    @Michelle S – I’m truly sorry this one went the wrong way. You’ve obviously put a great deal of heart & passion into getting this info out to the public – thank you for your hard work. It’s good to know that there are so many committed engaged neighbors – I hope RAMP continues to keep people informed about what’s happening development-wise. It’s one thing to hear speculation about political corruption, but holy smokes I feel like I just had a front-row seat.

    I hope to cross paths with you groovy Mount Pleasant people, although the way things are going, it looks like in the not-too-distant future, I may be waving at y’all from a cardboard box!

  96. Scout Magazine on April 18th, 2012 12:25 am

    ^ giggle

  97. Michelle S of Mt Pleasant on April 18th, 2012 8:28 am

    @ Shannon Blakeman – thank you for the thoughful comment and its citizens like you that give us the energy to continue to fight for our rights and have a say in what happens to our city and where we live.

    I have to give thanks to the nay sayers as well because they are also a catalyst that spurns us on to show them that there is a better answer with a more positive outcome for all.

    This system at City Hall has been called broken, but I feel it is shattered and beyond corrupt. To have an issue so blatently ignored by our Mayor and the Councillors that voted it through is actually quiet disconcerting because the documents and statistics are there to show that this Development should not be built in its current state and form and that it clearly does NOT conform to the community plan, which clearly shows this to be the truth in black and white.

    In essence, City Hall has disregarded the new Mt Pleasant Community plan as well as the wishes of the majority of the citizens that had a say about it in opposition. Gregor has turned into this egomanical monster that thinks he is above it all and that is just plain dangerous to have someone like this in politics, let alone as our Mayor.

    But fear not, we are not done as there are a few avenues that can be pursued and believe me, this corruption will not be ignored and we will not roll over and play dead just because Gregor had his say………he has screwed up too much and a change for the better needs to come and soon before he and his cronies make a mess out of this City.

    We will keep all of the concerned citizens informed as things plays out. I just hope this does not stop anyone from being disheartened about protecting other areas of Vancouver as we have the Little Mountain fight set to begin and the DTES as well and we can do something about it if we unify and stay strong in our beliefs.

  98. CA on April 18th, 2012 12:27 pm

    @Blakeman, thanks – and the votes are public – francesbula.com has commentary on the votes as do the news sites. Couple abstentions and only one against.

    @ George – hilarity is often most glorious when it is imbued with truth…. Gold comment.

    @Michelle, sorry my comments struck you on such a personal level. As I thought was clear, I was making reference to my very specific dealings with specific and actual individuals. There is an irony that I’ve observed in that there is seemingly a direct correlation (in my building) to possession of views and outspoken interest in this project. I don’t think that having a “view” precludes having a “voice” but in my view…. it’s an interesting correlation. You’ll note that I refer to actual events (my discussions) and actual people – I thought that should have made it sufficiently clear that my comments were limited to my experiences. I am in no way suggesting that all voices on this issue are uniformly in these two camps, or that someone in your shoes is necessarily in one or the other. As a consequence, while I understand your emotive responsive I have to say it is at least partially misplaced – I’m certainly not making any value judgment of you or anyone else I have never met – just sharing my experience as someone that has lived in the area for years and spent time dealing with individuals, neighbors and friends that have competing views on this project (for the record, over the past few years I have swung “against/ for, with substantial modification/ for, with resignation to development and hope for tolerable modification”.
    Your comment inferring to some sort of financial envy on my part is kind of funny, and a bit typical of the internet. In my respectful opinion it detracts somewhat from the weight and strength of your other more cogent statement of your views on this project (which, despite the fact that our minds might not meet are otherwise unassailable) and critiques of my post and my view.

    My comment on ad hominem attacks was also specific to some earlier posts and not in any way connected to my earlier comments so again – not seeing the connection you are.

  99. Ron S on April 18th, 2012 12:58 pm

    Michelle S- Calling people “monsters” and believing anyone who disagrees with you to not be capable of their own valid points and opinions can’t help your efforts to rally neighbourhood support. There are residents, and many small business owners in MP, who do not oppose the development but are reluctant to speak out, knowing the response the anti-Rize people such as yourself will unleash. Just because you’re loud doesn’t mean you speak for everyone. A touch of humility and a little less arrogance might go a long way.

  100. skaur on April 18th, 2012 7:33 pm

    Well, can’t say I’m surprised by the decision. It’s unfortunate, considering this could have been an opportunity to do something different and create a real iconic building and not the “middle finger to East Van” as one speaker so eloquently put it at the Public Hearing. But I’m glad I spoke and put as much energy into this as I did. And I applaud all who did as well.

    It’s also unfortunate that the MPC Plan was so vaguely worded, and intentionally so, to justify the RIZE proposal. What was the point of making a plan in the first place [wasted community time, energy, resources as well as taxpayer money] if it was just going to be completely disregarded with the first rezoning application? As far as I’m concerned, City Planning staff and who they take their orders from are directly responsible for the gross mishandling of this proposal. The first rezoning planner on this project “retired”, the rezoning planner who took her place just recited whatever was fed to her (and purgered herself on more than one occasion), the community planner recently “retired” and the Director of Planning was fired. The planning process needs to change. BIGTIME!

  101. Michelle S of Mt Pleasant on April 19th, 2012 12:18 am

    “Michelle S- Calling people “monsters” and believing anyone who disagrees with you to not be capable of their own valid points and opinions can’t help your efforts to rally neighbourhood support” @ Ron S

    The only person I called a monster was Mayor Robertson so please do not put words into my mouth so to speak. He is also an egomanical jackass who was caught on tape calling citizens “f&%&*@g hacks and one of the worst things that could have happened to Vancouver.

    Are you aware in his very first speech when elected to his first term as Mayor some of the very first words out of his mouth was that people should not all jump on the density band wagon, that density was not necessarily the answer to everything and that listening to the needs of the community was imperative………and we all know thats exactly what he has not done!

    “There are residents, and many small business owners in MP, who do not oppose the development but are reluctant to speak out, knowing the response the anti-Rize people such as yourself will unleash.” @ Ron S

    The only thing I ‘unleashed’ on these people is informed and accurate information to help them understand the reality of this situation. If they are going to be intimidated by a vocal group who went out there and got turthful and factual information and chose to spread it throughout the community to counter balance the Rize Lies then they deserve what they get when this city becomes so unrational with respect to rent costs and operating a business because they chose to sit on their butts and do nothing about it than so be it, please don’t waste my time in attempting to imply that any bullying tactics were used, these people you speak of were just complacent and looking for a cop out.

    FYI I spent this past year meeting and discussing this matter with a large number of business owners in the Community and they were shocked and dismayed at the idea of this building going up but the only reason some felt they would not speak up or get involved is because they feared it was going to be the same old, same old and sadly it seems they were right.

  102. David J Cooper on April 19th, 2012 6:41 am

    What wrong with gentrification and devlopment? People who live in cities need places to live, work, shop etc. Hard to believe that the left wingers are now calling this mayor pro development. I believe we should make the city as dense as possible and keep the country pristine.

    One government wanted to turn the PNE into a nature park and pave Burn’s Bog. It makes no sense. If gentrification means clean streets and stores I’m all for it.

  103. Michelle S of Mt Pleasant on April 20th, 2012 8:42 pm

    “What wrong with gentrification and devlopment?” @ David J Cooper

    Whats wrong with keeping some areas of Vancouver unique, not gentrified in the same old, same old manner, in essence maintaining some sort of character and quality that cannot be labelled as ‘cookie cutter’ with respect to sameness.?

    Do you live in Vancouver? and have you been reading all the comments posted in this blog and following this story? because if you did you would see that this isn’t just a question about creating homes via density, clearly something this city has not done correctly anyways (point in fact housing costs and cost of living constantly on the rise), and since when does Development equal cleanliness?

    As for the Mayor of this City (shudder) are you kidding me, have you not seen what this guy has not done for the local taxpayers? If all this Development is supposed to create affordable housing where is the falling real estate prices? Hell, they haven’t even hired a new Director of Planning who’s job is to see to the rezoning issues, in fact they are not suppossed to be allowing any without someone in this position, but meh, who are we to point out they are not operating within the law?

    See this for what it is……City Hall is letting all of these Developments be built so that they can collect CAC’s to cover their ass for their total screw up known as Olympic Village because they need the money!

    Just wait and see how long, if ever, the alleged CAC’s Rize Alliance is suppossed to cough up, ever makes it back into Mt Pleasant in our lifetime (many comments made by City Planning during the Public Hearing are very telling), just wait and see the fiasco that is going to be created by the increase in vehicles and traffic because they did not do a transportation study but figure creating a left hand turn lane and a bike lane will solve that problem, errr, only one problem, the transport trucks that can barely turn down the street now will be blocking all traffic, cars and bikes alike while they are trying to make these turns (are there not engineers in City Planning?).

    In essence the benefit to the public living in the areas being developed are so miniscule but the negative impact will, in some cases be huge…..does this sound like a good receipe for density when they haven’t a clue how to do it right in the first place?

  104. Jon Petrie on April 21st, 2012 9:38 am

    I don’t get the argument that Rize deserved approval because it is a dense proposal — that’s real simplistic. Its ugly, will add considerable traffic to a difficult intersection, and provides no amenity other than cash — and way too little cash for the increased FSR, i.e. the City is getting a lousy deal for that FSR at under $50 ft2, less than half what that ft2 is worth in the vicinity per BC Assessment.

    A project without the high ceiling semi big box retail at say 4.0 FSR (current zoning is 3.0) and with essentially no parking would be a good deal more affordable to build and to purchase condos in, could provide on-site amenity (a pedestrian friendly permeable site), would generate much less traffic and wouldn’t have to be ugly.

    And the testimony of the main City Planner responsible for the project to Council just before the Council vote was false on a non-trivial matter — either the lady was lying or she is incompetent (in either case she should be fired, evidence and the decision revisited)

    From http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20120417/regu20120417ag.htm
    Unfinished Business Clip 1, ~11:30:

    Meggs: “As I read the plan … Is it not almost the only site where we anticipate significant rezoning that will produce community amenity contributions ?”
    Yardley McNeil: “That is correct we think this one of the 3 sites identified for higher density and higher height beyond C3A. This one in particular is the largest of the three where we think that is the site where you will achieve greatest height and density and the consequent greatest CAC’s …”

    In fact: the Rize site is the SMALLEST of the three at ~ 1.3 acres the other two are ~ 2.30 acres and ~ 3.2 acres.

    Again this misrepresentation to Council is not trivial — larger sites can be developed to higher FSR’s more easily and more elegantly than smaller sites, larger sites can often support — in an aesthetic sense — higher buildings than smaller sites.

    The motto of Vancouver’s City Planning ??
    “Never let the truth get in the way of a lousy development”

  105. Lee Chapelle on April 21st, 2012 11:05 am

    @Jon Petrie In fact: the Rize site is the SMALLEST of the three at ~ 1.3 acres the other two are ~ 2.30 acres and ~ 3.2 acres.

    That was BIG LIE number one told by McNeil, the other, and maybe even more egregious, was that this site could be built to a height of 150′ under the current zoning. Even the most liberal interpretation of the C3-A District Zone and the Central Broadway C3-A Urban Design Guidelines (3-3.3 Main-Kingsway Gateway), which must be adhered to when granting any height above 30′ under C3-A, would permit a maximum building height of no more than 100′ and a facade wall along the south side of Broadway of no more than 30′, not 118′ as in the current plan. All that information is on the City website. It really is difficult to tell if they are just ignorant or if they are lying. I believe that the local residents and businesses who supported this application are going to regret it when they see how massive and overpowering it will be. The renderings produced by the City and developer are very misleading. This is unprecedented scale for a mixed-used development in Vancouver, on a relatively small site and by an already very busy set of intersections. Something within the current zoning would have been plenty big, would have afforded a good profit for the developer and would have fit in nicely with the surrounding area.

  106. house for sale in White Rock bc on August 4th, 2012 4:01 am

    The development is completely out of whack scale & size-wise for the neighborhood. It’s attempt to import a building style that is a bad fit for that particular lot. This doesn’t mean that their aren’t other possibilities. I’m no architect, but I think a design that incorporated several discrete buildings at a more moderate height sans podium & parking could work.

  107. lrothney on June 20th, 2014 8:51 am

    The RIZE aka INDEPENDENT goes to permit board July 14. It was suppose to be June 30th but has been postponed til then. Send a message to the City that we STILL don’t want this.