No Safeway Megatowers in East Vancouver

UPDATED NOVEMBER 2021
We are a group of Grandview-Woodland and Cedar Cottage neighbours who all agree that the current proposed redevelopment of the Safeway site on East Broadway and Commercial Drive needs to fit the neighbourhood character and meet the needs of current residents – renters and owners alike.

The Grandview-Woodland Community Plan (GWCP) guides city planning.  Check out section 6.7 of the plan -   
https://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/grandview-woodland-community-plan.aspx

We object to the height and scale of the three proposed towers. GWCP clearly caps development at this site to no more than 12 to 24 storeys above the retail plinth. The new proposal includes towers that will soar to the equivalent of 41, 37 and 33 residential storeys from the ground to the very top.  The new proposal was revised to include a bigger (higher) retail plinth.

Another major concern is the lack of significant affordable housing. There is NO low income or social housing proposed.  

The current proposal includes 653 residential units with only 14% designated as "below market".  Below market is a misnomer as it is the CMHC city-wide average rent of existing rental housing stock.  So if the average of a one-bedroom unit is $1,825, this below market unit would be rented at 80% of that amount or $1,515.  To be able to afford this unit, one would need to be clearing $5,000/month or earn $60,000/year after taxes.  (Formula is based on 33% of net salary for housing.)  

The remaining units will be sold or rented at market value. So what is current market rate for rentals nearby?

New developments in Cedar Cottage have been renting for:
-       Studio – $1,350-$1,700
-       1 bedroom - $1,750-$2,895
-       2 bedroom - $2,200-$2,675

What is needed is truly affordable housing for all, not luxury condos or more fancy penthouses which will benefit speculators and increase the abundant empty home supply in Vancouver.

Grandview Woodland is the home of a significant number of Aboriginal peoples and including design components and/or units identified for this population would be in keeping with the intent of the GWCP. This development is located on the ancestral and unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations.  

We were promised a new, generous, centrally-located public plaza at grade, ideally located near the middle of the site. Instead, the proposed plaza is a corridor running beside the noisy skytrain, in its shadow and included are stairs leading under the commercial building and locked courtyards, as part of the footage.  This is one of the public amenities being offered to the community.

There are so few amenities available to this area.  The daycare previously included is no longer in the current proposal. The GWCP calls for 430 childcare spaces. Does that mean that no families will be living in these luxury suites?

This development is being put forward by Crombie REIT – a real estate investment trust focused on steady income growth through the ownership, operation and development of grocery-anchored shopping centres and mixed-use developments. It is in the business of earning profits for its Toronto Stock Exchange investors. 

We live here and will be affected by this development. These towers will darken the neighbourhood, block mountain views and gentrify a low-income and mixed-use neighbourhood. 

While we support gentle densification near this transit hub, these skyscrapers (once built) would be the tallest buildings in the hood and allow developers a reason to tear down existing affordable low-rise walk-up apartments, to be replaced with pricier developments. This would force out low and medium income tenants out of the neighborhood. There are many ways to increase density without skyscrapers and we don't need more homes which average residents cannot afford. High-rise densification is not supported by population projections for Grandview Woodland, so why are we getting such a huge development?

The land rush will cause taxes and rents on our cherished local and independent businesses to shoot up, forcing them to move away or close.

We are also in a climate emergency. This area needs parks and greenways. This development will permanently concrete over a large portion of the lush Grandview Cut to construct a traffic light, vehicle bridge, structural reinforcing and ramps. Trees and undergrowth will be lost (along with impacting wildlife using this as a corridor).

This proposal is not in keeping with the beloved eclectic character of Commercial Drive. We need a design that is relevant to our times - socially, architecturally, ecologically, respecting and acknowledging all cultural groups living here.  A design that employs the latest in green technology, building materials, construction methods, energy and living.

THE PROPOSED TOWERS GO AGAINST YEARS OF COMMUNITY PLANNING.

OUR INPUT IS NOT BEING RESPECTED OR HEARD.

We want Vancouver City Council to vote NO on this development proposal.

Send in your comments ASAP!
https://shapeyourcity.ca/1780-e-broadway

All donations will be used to pay for the No Megatowers at Safeway campaign. There are no paid staff.  Our current focus is on increasing awareness and signage. We are grateful for your financial support and any amount you can offer.

At the end of the campaign, remaining funds will be donated to the Kettle Friendship Society (a registered charity).

For further information:
Check out our website at NoSafewayMegatowers.ca
Join our Facebook group by searching “No Megatowers at Safeway”
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Organizer

Cylia Wong 
Organizer
Vancouver, BC