High-level planning initiatives involving Grandview-Woodland are of four kinds:
- Community Plans (Grandview-Woodland is in the preparatory phase of a Community Plan process)
- The City's Eastern Core Strategy (based on the False Creek Flats and the Dunsmuir and Georgia Viaducts)
- The City's Neighbourhood Centres Program
For more information, see the GWAC web page about the High-Level Planning Initiatives.
- Transportation corridor studies, led by TransLink in partnership with the City and other partner agencies
Grandview Woodland, like other Vancouver neighbourhoods, is experiencing development pressure in the form of rezoning applications and applications to relax existing zoning.
There are pros and cons to adding density to neighbourhoods.
If density is to be added, it should be "done well," to quote Brent Toderian, Director of Planning at the City of Vancouver.
GWAC has been actively monitoring this development pressure and has become involved in some development initiatives (see below).
On 20 June 2011, a rezoning application was filed to rezone 1870 East 1st Avenue and 1723 Victoria Drive from RT-5 to CD-1 for a community housing project.
On 10 December 2011, GWAC published a letter to Karen Hoese (Rezoning Planner) and Brent Toderian (Director of Planning) expressing concerns about the rezoning application.
For more information, see the GWAC web page about 1723 Victoria Drive.
On 18 May 2010, Council voted to rezone 2250 Commercial Drive from C-2C to CD-1, with three Councillors voting against the rezoning.
GWAC opposed the rezoning.
For more information, see the GWAC web page about 2250 Commercial Drive.
Applications to Relax Existing Zoning.
Developers sometimes seek major relaxations of existing zoning.
GWAC, together with local residents, opposed relaxations sought for 1667 Kitchener Street.
Together, the developer's proposal was changed from a four-storey, block-like building to a three-storey building that fitted much better with surrounding buildings.
For more information, see the GWAC web page about 1667 Kitchener Street.
Heritage Revitalization Agreements (HRAs). Council approved two HRAs in September 2011.
On 19 September, Council unanimously approved an HRA for 1250 Salsbury Drive, preserving the 1907-1908 Jeffs Residence on the site and in return adding 13 row house units to the site (plus seven strata units in the Jeffs Residence).
The RT-5 zoning allowed five strata-duplexes (ten units) if all buildings on the site were demolished.
GWAC supported this HRA.
For more information, see the GWAC web page about 1250 Salsbury.
On 20 September, Council approved an HRA for 1795 Napier Street, just a few blocks north of 1250 Salsbury Drive (voting against: Cllrs Reimer, Cadman, and Woodsworth). This HRA preserved the 1908 Robertson Memorial Presbyterian Church in return for building ten dwelling unitson the site. The RT-5 zoning allowed three strata-duplexes (six units) if the church had been demolished.
Other Possible Development.
Britannia Centre approved a Strategic Master Plan in September 2011, which is available for download (8.0 MB, 51 pages).
Britannia conducted a visioning process during the course of producing the plan.
Among the ideas discussed at one point were introducing housing and commercial onto the Britannia site.
For more information about the Strategic Master Plan, see the web pages by GWAC and Britannia Centre.
Related issue: Heritage Issues.
GWAC formed a Heritage Subcommittee at its April 2011 meeting.
The members of the subcommittee were a mixture of GWAC Directors and other citizens including four local historians.
The mandate of the subcommittee was to identify, preserve and celebrate the built, natural and cultural heritage of Grandview-Woodland.
The subcommittee with the same core members became the Grandview Heritage Group, which has its own website.
Related issue: Third Party Appeals.
This important issue, which grew out of the campaign to save the neighbourhood's Salsbury Garden in 2005-2006, has city-wide implications.
The developer of the garden property, Richard Niebuhr, appealed his loss at the City's Board of Variance in 2005 (City web page before and after 8 Aug 2012) to the Supreme Court of BC.
On 21 September 2006, the Supreme Court upheld his appeal, reversing the Board’s decision to deny his development permit and sealing the fate of the garden, since replaced by housing.
Mr. Justice Goepel determined that Section 573 of the Vancouver Charter, which describes the Board's powers, does not allow third-party appeals.
An appeal of Justice Goepel's ruling was filed at the BC Court of Appeals and dismissed on 31 October 2007.
The Supreme Court ruling denied Vancouver citizens the right to be heard as third-party appellants at the Board of Variance where, for 40 years, they could question — and even on occasion overturn — development decisions between Department of Planning staff and developers that involved relaxations of zoning regulations.
Restoring third-party appeals likely requires an amendment to Section 573 of the Vancouver Charter to make clear that Vancouver citizens have the right to third-party appeals.
The Vancouver Charter is the domain of the BC Legislature rather than Vancouver City Council, but Council can encourage the amendment by passing a motion in support of the change.
On 9 July 2009, Council voted to produce a revised Board of Variance By-Law and to conduct a public consultation in the fall of 2009 about reinstating third-party appeals.
This decision arose out of discussion of a proposed new Board of Variance By-law in the morning's Standing Committee meeting on City Services and Budgets (5th item on the agenda), continued in the afternoon's Standing Committee meeting on Planning and Environment (6th item, heard first).
See video clips of this discussion before lunch (37 minutes) and after lunch (56 minutes).
On 2 December 2010, a Proposed New Board of Variance By-law was passed at the afternoon's Standing Committee meeting on Planning and Environment.
See staff's administrative report about the by-law and a video clip of the agenda item.
For further background information, please visit the website: www.reinstatethirdpartyappeals.org.
Road use/tranportation issues in Grandview-Woodland include:
Primarily east-west along arterial and collector streets (Powell, Hastings, Venables, First, Broadway) with some cutting through residential areas, e.g., between Victoria and Nanaimo, and between Clark and Commercial.
GWAC was involved in the initiative to traffic-calm the streets between Victoria and Nanimo, north of First and south of Pender.
Primarily north-south along Clark Drive, and now Nanaimo and other streets since Port Metro Vancouver closed the truck entrance on Clark.
(Please note that GWAC has not taken a position on this issue.)
This project, active since 2005, is to transform Venables Street in order to create a sustainable 'bridge' between Strathcona Park and Commercial Drive.
The Venables Greenway project plans to create a lively streetscape and a pedestrian-friendly environment.
The plan is to reclaim public space and to adopt urban design guidelines including the injection of greenery, public and cultural art displays, awnings, and a welcoming sign for the community.
The project was a finalist in the 2005 21 Places for the 21st Century ideas competition sponsored by the Vancouver City Planning Commission.
Click here for a poster display of the project.
In December 2011, the project was a category co-winner in the re:CONNECT open ideas competition, organized by the City of Vancouver as part of its Viaducts & Eastern Core Strategy planning process.
Board members who are or have been involved include Mike Carr, Emily Chu, Tom Durrie, Kent Munro, Richard Penneway, Peter Trainor, Dexster Smith, and Jill Smith.
This project is supported by the Commercial Drive Business Society and the Strathcona Residents' Association.
Re-Allocating Road Space.
GWAC has written two letters about this issue.
A November 2010 letter contained GWAC recommendations about re-allocating road space in favour of pedestrians and cyclists in Grandview-Woodland.
A June 2010 letter noted the possibility of improving cycling facilities in the Grandview-Woodland area along Commercial Drive and Victoria Drive.
Stop Highway Expansion.
GWAC is opposed to the expansion of Highway One and the twinning of the Port Mann Bridge.
GWAC sees enhanced public transit and better cargo rail as a faster, less expensive and environmentally sustainable solution to traffic congestion in Metro Vancouver.
Global warming now casts doubt on the entire Gateway Project, including the North and South Fraser Perimeter Road and Delta Port expansions.
GWAC would like to see less expensive and more environmentally sustainable alternatives to Gateway.
GWAC has reached out to other neighbourhood and citizens groups in the Fraser Valley and has organized a community forum on 28 April 2007 to address the Gateway Project.
The forum "Beyond Gateway: Climate Change & Real Alternatives to Highway Expansion" was held at the WISE Hall. See media release and poster.
For more information about groups opposed to highway expansion and the Gateway Project, visit:
This campaign by East Vancouver residents brings people together to address an old problem: the horrible smell from the West Coast Reduction Ltd. rendering plant on Commercial Drive at the waterfront.
The problem has existed since the plant opened in 1964.
The smell is a result of animal waste including fish, fat, blood and feathers treated at very high temperatures.
The Stop the Stink campaign says the stink is horrible and that any amount of rendering odour is wrong in an area with a large residential population.
The main strategy is to increase the number of complaints to Metro Vancouver.
Stop the Stink has been told that Metro Vancouver thinks not many people mind, and that they will not take it more seriously unless they get "thousands of complaints from hundreds of people".
So every time you smell it, call the Metro Vancouver complaint line (604-436-6777) or use its Online complaint form for air quality complaints.
On 8 March 2010, the B.C. Environmental Appeal Board rejected calls from Grandview Woodland residents for stricter limits on odour from West Coast Reduction Ltd.
Ray Robb, Metro Vancouver's district director of air quality, said "the residents had provided very strong evidence to show that air quality was unacceptable."
See the CBC article about the EAB decision.
On 9 May 2010, GWAC sent a letter to Mr. Barry C. Glotman, President and Chief Executive Officer, West Coast Reduction, about joining its Community Advisory Panel, contingent on West Coast Reduction acknowledging that it is the source of the offensive odours, that the company will stop the odours, and that the only work of the panel will be a plan to stop the odours.
At a meeting on 29 June 2010, Ray Robb said that Metro Vancouver is not seeking a judicial review of the
Environmental Appeal Board decision, but instead is seeking a new bylaw.
If a bylaw is approved by the Directors of Metro Vancouver (who are all elected officials), then the bylaw could not be appealed by the EAB, though it could be overturned by the Minister of Environment or the courts.
For information about the odour requirements that Metro Vancouver has developed for West Coast Reduction, see the section on "Information regarding amendment to the West Coast Reduction Ltd. Permit" half way down the Metro Vancouver – Air Quality Regulatory Program web page.
Stay informed: See the "Stop the Stink" Facebook page or send your e-mail details to Stop the Stink at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[ 1. High-Level Planning Initiatives ]
[ 2. Development Issues ]
[ 2.1. Rezoning Applications ]
[ 2.2. Applications to Relax Existing Zoning ]
[ 2.2.1. Heritage Revitalization Agreements (HRAs) ]
[ 2.3. Other Possible Development ]
[ 2.4. Related Issue: Heritage Issues ]
[ 2.5. Related Issue: Third Party Appeals ]
[ 3. Road Use/Transportation Issues ]
[ 3.1. Traffic ]
[ 3.2. Truck Traffic ]
[ 3.3. Venables Greenway ]
[ 3.4. Road Reallocation ]
[ 3.5. Stop Highway Expansion ]
[ 4. Stop the Stink (West Coast Reduction) ]