Tag Archives: Urban Nature

Vancouver City Council Washing Their Hands Of Notre Dame Debacle

30 May

 

For those that follow us regularly, you will know we are big fans of East Van artist, June Hunter.  We have a mutual love, admiration and respect for urban nature and wildlife that call East Van home.  June and her Notre Dame Neigbours organized a peaceful group last Fall to oppose a large stadium being built at Notre Dame Secondary School in Hastings Sunrise.  If you are not up to speed on the issue, check out our last post What Does Community Really Mean? for some background. A big part of the quest is to save a small piece of urban nature, some poplar trees that line the City street next to Notre Dame Secondary School.  Today, we provide you with an update. It was learnt that an error was made in respect of this development application (admitted as such by City staff), but alas Vancouver City Council appears to have washed their hands of this issue and passed the matter to the Development Permit Board for decision which will be made on June 10th. No consultation has been done with the community, no traffic impact studies, noise implications addressed or environmental concerns, nothing.  So this is a Council that was elected to ‘do things differently’, so they say to get your vote.   But are they really doing things differently?  You be the judge.

We now share Notre Dame Neighbour’s letter to elected members of Vancouver City Council and Mayor Kennedy on this issue:

While the fate of our neighbourhood is a relatively small municipal matter, the character of a city is made up of these “small” issues and how they are dealt with. The principles that are being ignored in this situation are vital ones. Allowing them to slide says something disturbing about our city.

The permit process has been unfair from the start. Front line Permit staff were not correctly briefed on the content of the original permit (DE410128) and went on to treat the matter, in error, as a minor permit amendment for months. Although they were forced to admit the mistake in late March 2019, the process has still not been amended in any meaningful way. Now there is a rush to get it over the finish line by June 10, only weeks after it was “discovered” to be a new permit application at all.

Because of all this confusion, no independent studies have been done on safety, traffic, parking, noise and environmental problems posed by the stadium. A 2018 one-sided “Tree Risk Assessment” has been allowed to supersede an earlier, far more complete, Arborist report that said the trees on Kaslo could be saved by setting the field back by 5.5 metres.

While this may seem a minor matter,  is top of mind for many of the people living in our neighbourhood. 360 of us signed a petition to that effect, and many people wrote letters to the City of Vancouver on the topic. As Vancouver taxpayers, we stand to have our lives turned upside down by this project. Beneficiaries of the stadium are students, parents, staff, alumni of a private school, many of whom do not live in Vancouver, let alone close enough to the school to be affected.

We accept that our area is becoming denser as more people need housing. Housing people is a necessity and a  moral issue. A recreational facility for people who drive here and leave is not.

 This issue could well come back to haunt Council later. Notre Dame School insists that their stadium will be used very occasionally for school games, drawing negligible traffic. If you look at the cases of St. Patrick’s School in Toronto and Immaculata High School in Ottawa the potential problems are made crystal clear. In each example the sports fields there are rented extensively, causing traffic and noise problems sufficient to destroy local quality of life. Legal action is pending in Toronto, and City officials in both cities are left scrambling to retroactively solve the problem. 

Once a permit is issued, there will, as far as we can tell, be nothing preventing Notre Dame School from emulating the revenue-gathering practices of these Ontario schools, in spite of current  assurances to the contrary. 

Vancouver Council has a chance to get in front of this issue now and take a greater interest in what it really means for our neighbourhood — and for other Vancouver neighbourhoods where similar issues will no doubt be arising soon.

This council was recently elected on the promise to do business differently than the previous Vision Council, with more listening to, and consulting with, citizens.

I have asked them look at this matter again. Live up to the promise: halt the rubber stamping Development Permit Board meeting, and subject this project to proper scrutiny.” 

So is it the same old same old at City Hall?  The talk of being more open and transparent and having community consultations seems a line only intended for the election news cycle.

June Hunter Studio Sale May 4th & 5th

24 Apr

JuneHunterSpringSale2019East Van artist, June Hunter, is hosting a Studio Sale Saturday, May 4th and Sunday, June 5th.  If you follow us regularly, you know we are big fans of her work.  Vancouver’s urban nature features prominently in June’s work as do some iconic East Van landmarks. If you wish to know more about the crows that inhabit the green space in our neck of the woods, you may wish to check out some of her blog posts. She regularly features crows and other birds that come to visit her idyllic backyard which houses her working studio. During her Studio Sales, June transforms her working space to showcase all her creative works which include cushion covers, jewellery, small prints, large scale wall art, crow-bars, wall decals and more. She has lots of beautiful new designs which say Spring and bring a touch of nature indoors.  Her rescue dog Geordie is usually on hand as ambassador to greet you. June Hunter’s Studio is located at 2785 Parker Street (one block west of Renfrew – between Hastings St. and First Avenue). The Studio Sale runs from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on both Saturday and Sunday May 4th and 5th.

If you are not able to attend this weekend’s Studio Sale, we invite you check out her online shop which is open 24/7.  You can also find some of June’s pieces at Doctor Vigari Gallery, 1816 Commercial Drive and Bird on A Wire Creations, 2535 Main Street.

 

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