CVN letter to Council (26-Oct-2020): Regarding proposed developments at intersection of 1st Avenue & Clark Drive

October 26, 2020
City of Vancouver Council

Dear Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Councillors,

Re: Proposed Developments at the Intersection of 1st Avenue & Clark Drive

The Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN) supports the City’s placing a priority on creating more affordable housing in the City. However it is opposed to the number of rezonings proposed for the intersection of East 1st Avenue and Clark Drive.

There are currently three projects proposed: BC Housing has announced plans to put 98 units of social housing in two Temporary Modular Housing buildings at 1580 Vernon Drive; there is the Withdrawal Management (Detox) Centre which is slated to occupy the full block on the north east corner of 1st & Clark, which includes 6 and 10-storey podiums and is in the final Development Permit stage and, now, a 5-storey building, again at 1st Avenue and Clark Drive for a tower on the southwest corner of the intersection. The South East corner of 1st and Clark, the former location of Chevron, is now owned by Wesgroup and is likely to be redeveloped which would promise ongoing construction for years on all four corners.

This much density and congestion, on a high volume intersection along a designated truck route to the ports without off-setting amenities to support them and with an already high concentration of supported housing in the vicinity will not make for a successful or healthy community. There is a loss of scale and space in a residential area on the east side of Clark and the loss of critical & eroding industrial area on the west side.

We anticipate that if the city pushes these initiatives through, and there are no amenities for the new occupants other than in Grandview Woodland, there will be a daily migration into a community already under-served by too few parks, the school grounds, and an already unsettled Commercial Drive.

We feel compelled to ask why the concentration of social housing is to be primarily located in Strathcona, Mount Pleasant and Grandview-Woodland? Social housing should be more equitably distributed citywide at scales that fit into each neighbourhood so as not to overwhelm only a few areas that are already amenity deficient. And wherever the social housing is located there needs to be the supports the residents require along with the housing.

We urge you to listen to the affected neighbourhoods that are requesting alternative locations be considered for dispersing social housing in communities currently with little or no social housing and at scales that better fit in the context of each area with the required supports.

Larry Benge, Co-Chair
Dorothy Barkley, Co-Chair