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

April 11, 2012.

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.

  • http://seanorr.tumblr.com/ Sean Orr

    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.

  • Oniktay

    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.

  • Lee Chapelle

    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!

  • Jon Petrie

    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

  • Jon Petrie
  • Jon Petrie

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

  • Reilly

    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…

  • http://seanorr.tumblr.com/ Sean Orr

    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.

  • http://seanorr.tumblr.com/ 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.

  • http://seanorr.tumblr.com/ Sean Orr

    Morans.

  • Lee Chapelle

    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.

  • Lee Chapelle

    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?

  • Jay

    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.

  • Lee Chapelle

    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.

  • Michelle S of Mt Pleasant

    “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.

  • Michelle S of Mt Pleasant

    “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.

  • Jon Petrie

    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

  • Jay

    “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.

  • skaur

    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.

  • http://seanorr.tumblr.com/ Sean Orr

    Noise, noise, noise, noise.

  • Scout Magazine

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

  • Lee Chapelle

    @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?

  • Shannon Blakeman

    @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.

  • Jon Petrie

    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.

  • Pingback: News Collection()

  • Lee Chapelle

    @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.

  • Jay

    “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.

  • Michelle S of Mt Pleasant

    “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.

  • Paul

    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

  • CA

    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?

  • vandervoice

    @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.

  • Bobby C

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

  • Michelle S of Mt Pleasant

    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.

  • Shannon Blakeman

    @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.

  • Jon Petrie

    @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 ?
    .

  • Michelle S of Mt Pleasant

    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.

  • CA

    @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?

  • Michelle S of Mt Pleasant

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

  • Shannon Blakeman

    @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?

  • Waylon

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

  • Michelle S of Mt Pleasant

    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.

  • George Baugh

    Time to find another neighbourhood to gentrify. Whalley?

  • Michelle S of Mt Pleasant

    “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.

  • Michelle S of Mt Pleasant

    “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.

  • Shannon Blakeman

    @ 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!

  • Scout Magazine

    ^ giggle

  • Michelle S of Mt Pleasant

    @ 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.

  • CA

    @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.

  • Ron S

    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.

  • skaur

    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!

The scout Community

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters Abigail’s Party Alibi Room Araxi Ask For Luigi Bambudda Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie Bearfoot Bistro Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe Bel Café Bestie Beta5 Chocolates Bishop’s Bistro Pastis Bitter Tasting Room Bittered Sling Blacktail Florist Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar Bufala Burdock & Co. Butter On The Endive Cadeaux Bakery Café Medina Caffè Artigiano Campagnolo Campagnolo ROMA Chambar Chewies Oyster Bar Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie  Chicha Chocolate Arts Cibo Trattoria Cinara CinCin Ristorante Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill Commune Cafe Cuchillo Culinary Capers Catering Curious Oyster Catering Co. Diva At The Met Doi Chaang Coffee Co. Earnest Ice Cream East Of Main Cafe Edible Canada El Matador Espana Exile Bistro Farm 2 Fork Forage Greenhorn Espresso Bar Hapa Izakaya Hart House Harvest Community Foods Hawksworth Restaurant Heirloom Vegetarian Homer Street Cafe & Bar Joy Road Catering Krokodile Pear L’Abattoir La Buca La Mezcaleria La Pentola La Quercia La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop Les Amis du Fromage Local Philosophy Catering Lolita’s South Of The Border Cantina Los Cuervos Taqueria & Cantina Lukes General Store Lupo Restaurant Maenam Mamie Taylor’s MARKET by Jean-Georges Matchstick Coffee Roasters Meat & Bread Miku Restaurant Milano Coffee Minami Miradoro Mogiana Coffee Nicli Antica Pizzeria Notturno Nuba Oakwood Canadian Bistro Oyster Seafood & Raw Bar Pallet Coffee Roasters Pat’s Pub & BrewHouse Pidgin Pink Elephant Thai Pizza Fabrika Pizzeria Farina Pourhouse Prado Cafe Railtown Cafe Rainier Provisions Revolver Coffee Salt Tasting Room Salty Tongue Café Savoury Chef Shebeen Whisk(e)y House Shelter Sidecut | Four Seasons Whistler Siena Six Acres Spotted Bear Tableau Bar Bistro Tacofino Tapenade Bistro Tavola Terra Breads The Acorn The Beach House The Biltmore Cabaret The Bottleneck The Cannibal Cafe The District Brasserie The Fish Counter The Irish Heather The Juice Truck The Keefer Bar The Lazy Gourmet The Little District The Oyama Sausage Co. The Parker The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn The Portside Pub The Re-Up BBQ The Settlement Building The Shameful Tiki Room Thierry Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie Timbertrain Coffee Roasters Truffles Fine Foods Two Rivers Specialty Meats Urban Digs Farm Uva Wine Bar Via Tevere Pizzeria Napoletana West Restaurant Wildebeest Wolf In The Fog YEW seafood + bar

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was .

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was .