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Mixed-use project on industrial land gets support from several quarters

July 24th, 2009 · 24 Comments

Vancouver city staff have unequivocally indicated that they don’t support the project that PCI’s Andrew Grant is proposing for next door to the new Marine Drive SkyTrain station, a mixed-used development with two towers — one market condos, one rental — office space, a cineplex and a plaza.

Head city planner Brent Toderian emphasized that allowing residential leads to land speculation and gets in the way of residential development. There was also lots of emphasis at the meeting on the project’s proximity to the waste-transfer station and potential problems with smells.

As well, Metro Vancouver’s planning department and Ports Canada, which has suffered itself from the incursion of residential onto industrial land, have sent in letters opposing any move to allow industrial land to be converted to even partial residential use.

But I was surprised at the level of support that came in from various sectors during the meeting Thursday night and at the questions from councillors and the mayor indicating to me that they are  not prepared to dismiss this project (yet another one that’s been designed by the firm of Peter Busby, who consistently seems to take on politically difficult projects) out of hand.

The Marpole Business Improvement Association, TransLink, the Urban Development Institute, the Board of Trade, and the Canada Line office also sent in letters of support. As well, a couple of landowners down there, Ralph McLean and Paul McCrea, spoke or sent in letters saying they’d like to see a project that brings more life and residents to the area.

Greg Yeomans, the manager of policy and planning for TransLink, even sat hung in through four hours of meeting so he could deliver his five-minute message to council about TransLink’s support. Yeomans said this is the kind of development that should be fostered around all SkyTrain stations.

Yeomans assured COPE Councillor David Cadman that it’s NOT because TransLink will try to grab any of the increase in land value (“land lift” in developer jargon) around the station. They just like it because it will bring more riders onto SkyTrain and that’s a lovely thing when you’ve spent $2 billion to build a piece of infrastructure. (All Canada Line opponents can now chime in here about how, of course they want more riders because all their ridership projections that justified the line were lies, lies, lies.)

Mayor Gregor Robertson was unusually talkative during the meeting, questioning staff repeatedly about whether Vancouver’s industrial lands are really being put to the best use and whether the current zoning allows for new, 21st-century kinds of industries. “The movement we’re seeing is industrial morphing into low-carbon, green enterprise,” he said at one point, in one of his moments of fretting aloud about whether Vancouver is really preparing for the future.

Oh, and another comment he made at the end: “It seems like, as our city manager puts it, that it’s a triple-word score here (meaning, I believe, that the city would get density at a transit hub, a green building, and a tower dedicated to rental housing, under Grant’s plan). On the other hand, we’re on the edge of heavy industrial and the pitfalls of that. So we’ve got some homework to do.”

Council will decide Tuesday on this interesting project, which is also taking an unsual path through city hall. Toderian brought the project to council with a recommendation to reject it — to me, that’s a sign that PCI and Grant have decided to take a gamble on council approval instead of just meekly accepting the planning department’s refusal.

Categories: Uncategorized

  • Brent Toderian

    Hi Frances – as always thanks for the post, with just a bit of clarification for your readers. PCI’s project proposal isnt officially before Council, and we didnt bring it forward to reject it….that kind of scenario does happen occationally, but thats not quite what is happening here….what we brought forward to Council was the Cambie Corridor Planning Program for Council to authorize should they chose to, which would allow us to get working on the Cambie Corridor planning and design along the new Canada Line. We’ve proposed to retool how we do the program, as a single corridor, because we’ve had difficulty focussing the resources with all of our other work, around the old approach to station planning, which was a “one-station-at-a-time” approach. We think a corridor approach makes better planning sence, and can be done much faster.

    At the same time as launching the program though, we brought forward the tough question of whether Council wanted us to consider residential in the Industrial zone at the Marine and Cambie station site. Staff recommended against it for the reasons relating to industrial land preservation, supporting instead changing the industrial zone to high density office/retail/entertainment, but not residential, however given the application by PCI and the seemingly conflicting usual goal of a full mixing of use around stations, we put in a consideration item that Council could alternatively approve, if they wished us to consider limited and strategically located residential at that site.

    I know that may sound to some like the same thing, but its not – the actual project proposal by PCI would have a lot of work to do before approval or refusal could be considered, and in fact there are many positive atttributes to the proposal, but in order to move forward either way, we need Council clarity on the fundamental question of limited residential land use. This approach to bringing the question to Council, I think, is the fairest way to “call the question” and let Council make an informed big-picture decision, long before the specifics of the PCI proposal will be further debated (when the rezoning is fully considered).

    In short, the planning department didnt “refuse the proposal”, we brought the question of residential to Council, with a recommendation, for a decision…thats our job.

    Thanks Frances – as always, you do the public discussion on city planning a great service with your writing.

    Brent

  • Frances Bula

    Brent,

    Thanks for the comment. Yes, I should have made it clearer that this is not a straight out approval for a PCI project, even if council goes against the staff recommendation to NOT consider residential.

    Even if they say go ahead, it only means the PCI project can be considered since the signal would have been sent to allow residential (not attached to any site) to be considered.

    However, you say the planning department didn’t “refuse the proposal” — but you have stated that you think industrial should not allowed to be rezoned and you recommended that council not consider allowing residential. I think in almost anyone’s calculation system, that is a refusal of the PCI project, even if it’s not the legal term.

  • Frances appears to have a clear perspective on this unusual planning department feint and convolution, although to be clear “Consideration B” refers only to the PCI site.

    The decision to place the Marine Drive RAV/Canada Line Station in the industrial lands had to be predicated on the mixed residential-commercial development of the adjoining land. No other use could provide the necessary pedestrian traffic at all hours, and thus provide critical public safety in such an otherwise dangerously dark pocket of our city.

    This decision was made by Translink and RAVCO as much as a decade ago, likely to the chagrin of City and GVRD planners. But they knew this was coming, as did PCI. Why these planners appeared to have done nothing then is unclear.

    Now we are stuck, for right or wrong, with a very dangerous station area with absolutely no consideration for public safety under the well-understood principles of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED). Not even new street lights are in evidence at a station to open in just three weeks!

    Vancouver planning staff were specifically directed by Council in June 2006 to deal with this very station area, but the planners just sat on their hands. Now 37 months later, they are trying to redirect Council’s then timely request into a mass rezoning of over 500 city blocks (6% of the entire city land mass) from the Fraser River to 16th Avenue.

    The claim would be that this is transit-oriented development (TOD), a well-supported policy to increase land use density within 500 metres–or a five-minute walk–of rapid transit stations. But over 60% of this “transit corridor” lies outside of the 500-metre circles around the four RAV stations in the area.

    So Vancouver planning staff had to invent some new “planning terminology.”

    Their newly-minted “transit-influenced development policy” is the horribly misguided conception that if density is good in one place, it is good everywhere. Please google the full term in quotes as above, and you will in fact get just one hit, Brent Toderan’s staff report that turns responsible and best-practice planning on its head.

    Shades of the discredited “ecodensity” policy continue to haunt Vancouver.

    What I’ll call TID is the arch-enemy of TOD. If areas over a kilometre from new transit stations are simultaneously rezoned, cheaper land farther from the stations will naturally be developed first, or at minimum will dilute and delay the intended effect.

    Proof of this was in fact presented to Council in exactly this same hearing. Concord put forward a significant proposal to develop lands on the Fraser River within the new “transit corridor,” but beyond 500 metres from the new Marine Drive Station.

    Will such development not bleed density and development focus from the station areas themselves?

    Such is the history of TOD done wrong, and not only would this new TID policy fly in the face of decades of local (Expo Line) and international experience, but it will also put transit users–men, women, and children–needlessly, and for far longer, in harm’s way.

    Visit Marine Drive station at night, and see for yourself. Go by car, keep moving, and keep your doors locked.

    This Tuesday morning, Council will vote on this TID rezoning proposal. City planners already have blood on their hands for needlessly delaying this station area planning over 3 years, and exposing transit riders to unacceptable personal risks. Will our Mayor and Council shake the bloody hands of planning staff on this misguided mass rezoning, and further delay station area development? Will they accept the responsibility and be accountable for the future crimes and for the victims of one of the most poorly-planned transit lines in world history?

  • Frances Bula

    Rand

    Thanks for your post. By the way, since you were almost the only group to comment on the South Cambie planning process and I didn’t cover that yet — you’re welcome to send me, if you want, the presentation you made by email and I’ll put it up so all can see it.

  • I’m delighted to see this discussion starting on this blog site. It is precisely the kind of ‘salon’ discussion that unfortunately is not taking place anywhere else. I believe there needs to be a much fuller discussion on the future of industrial land in our region since, to my mind, having participated in the Metro Vancouver Growth Management planning process…the matter is not black or white.

    Let me declare a bias…in 1981, working with BC Packers, I developed a proposal for a major residential community on the Steveston Waterfront. When I nervously showed my plans proposing 1350 units to then councillor Harold Steves, he asked why we couldn’t have more units…to increase the likelihood of restoring the old Inter-urban line to Steveston.

    Eventually Richmond City Council approved my rezoning proposal, only to have it rejected by the GVRD, on the grounds that it was using up industrial lands that should be retained for the fishing industry. The solution? Bill Ritchie, the then minister of Municipal Affairs abolished the GVRD’s planning role!

    And today, the Steveston waterfront has become a vibrant new high density community, with new public access and restored heritage buildings. And some of the industrial uses related to the reduced fishing industry operations has remained.

    So what’s my point? I think it is important to retain land for jobs in Metro. But just as I argued against the City’s zoning changes that resulted in the removal of residential uses in 17 blocks surrounding the CBD, I would like to see more creative planning and land use zoning to allow more mixed use development on industrial lands around the region.

    Brent is right…unless controls are put in place, the higher value of residential lands will trump industrial land values. But I am convinced that the nature of ‘industry’ is changing, and we should be able to mix industrial activities with commercial activities and yes, residential activities. We just need to be creative to address the fiscal considerations, and the potential conflicts between the demands of different land uses.

    Why, we might even start adding housing to the roofs of sprawling single storey storage and industrial buildings around the region.

    As for the PCI site. It should most definitely include residential uses.

  • T W

    I have enjoyed the various erudite comments.

    Any city that asserts it is a global city has to maintain a core of land that is industrial. As far as I can tell ( I am not a developer) the planning and business tax assessment system predisposes the transfer of land from industrial to residential use , regardless of the strategic vision.

    So we need Vision to have a coherent strategy for industrial land preservation through zoning and assessment modifications. If this strategy exists, please make it more transparent.

  • gmgw

    Rand Chatterjee said:
    “Visit Marine Drive station at night, and see for yourself. Go by car, keep moving, and keep your doors locked.”

    I’ve been trying (not terribly hard) to find a map online that would indicate the precise location of the Marine Drive Canada Line station, as I’m fascinated by Mr. Chatterjee’s description, which makes it sound like the very demons of Hell itself stalk the streets in that neighbourhood each night. Really, I haven’t heard such language used to describe an urban area since the height of the riots in South Central LA in 1992. When I was in LA a couple of months after the Uprising (as it was known to some in South Central), curiosity impelled me to visit the epicenter of the rioting, at Florence & Normandie. I found it to be a normal, though unlovely, Los Angeles intersection in a predominantly black neighbourhood. Strangely, no one attempted to kill me, at least not that I noticed. I don’t remember if I had my doors locked.

    Similarly, I have rented a storage locker a few blocks west of the site of the Marine Drive Station for more than 20 uneventful years. And I used to often visit friends who at the time lived three blocks north of Marine on Cambie. So you can imagine my surprise to discover that I’ve been putting my life, not to mention some valued belongings, at extreme risk all this time. I guess I’ll have to become concerned. I had no idea there was anywhere in this city that was so dangerous.

    If anyone can indicate the precise location of the Canada Line station that is under discussion, I would be most grateful. And next time I’m out that way, I’ll be sure to take along the rocket launcher… just in case.
    gmgw

  • PCI, if it ever transpires . . .

    Of course mixed use residential etc. Why is the issue still on the agenda?

    Affordable housing comes before Cineplex especially on a public tx node!

    Cineplex? The genre is yesterday: home entertainment has it kyboshed.

    Contemporary industrial goes way beyond the smoke stack: jobs, jobs, jobs . . . especially close to home.

    Devise codes that restrict noise, toxicity etc. Currently the various “sustainability” controls, LEED etc, have the effect of unnecessarily increasing costs: surely antithetical to the concept ” affordable”. Experienced building professionals will, sotto voce, acknowledge that.

    Our mayor talks “greening”, ostensibly on the grounds that we are the cause. Not only on PCI but also NECF!

    If only the penny would drop . . .

    http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/global-gore-warming-1951764-consensus-carbon

    Do Carlo Collodi’s donkeys come to mind?

  • PS

    Climate scientists have to honestly address these issues, instead of being wedded to whatever theories will get them the most funding.

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14536

    So does VPD . . .

  • spartikus

    I’ve written a response to #9 here.

  • M F

    I just want to point out that the winning entry from FormShift Vancouver’s wildcard category (DENcity) addresses the industrial area along the Fraser in a way that noone else has come close to: preserving industry and providing commercial and residential.
    http://www.formshiftvancouver.com/files/winnerwildcard.pdf

    You can even see the entry on Brent Toderian’s blog post about creating a culture of design in Vancouver. But, to really become a city of design requires more that just competitions. The city has to be bold and take winning designs into account – if only to improve debate and raise the bar of quality design for a site. And the Marine Drive Station would be a perfect opportunity.

  • rf

    pretty sure it’s at the base of cambie and marine drive. There is a Docksteader Volvo dealership there. Not a bad location for this kind of development. Only knock I can think of is that there is a ton of industrial truck traffic along Kent Ave. The Industrial Commercial Real Estate guys would probably have excellent feedback on the type of industries using/locating in that area and if this type of development would fit.

  • Joe Just Joe

    The issue with this location is clearly spelled out in the city documents. The biggest is the city works yard directly next door to the site, it operated daily until 1am and during snow events and other emergencies 24hrs a day. Implementing residential there will lead to one of two outcomes long term, either the elimation of industrial or the constant suffering of the residents, neither is plesant outcomes.
    Before someone suggest converting the area to light industrial as a solution, there is lots of better areas in Vancouver zoned to accept light industrial, but very few locations for heavy industrial.

  • Julien

    The station is located on the south-east corner of Cambie at Marine Dr. And one of the uses of the station will be as a southern terminus for the Main, Oak, Granville, Cambie buses along with a stop for the 100 along Marine Drive. It might be worth considering the bus loop area for development similar to the Production Way bus loop, and create some commercial space without removing industrial space.
    Unfortunataly if the recent permitting of surface parking for the Vancouver Transit Centre is an example of industrial use south of Marine Drive, it will be difficult to argue that retaining this zoning is required.

  • The city works yard is next door . . . then move the cit works yard.

    Again why is mixed use so controversial?

    Vancouver was declared an “executive city” nearly forty years ago. That I assume meant the wealth-creating component was elsewhere while we stayed home watching, unfortunately not all of us, compound interest do the work. That certainly is the case today!

    So why is “industrial land” still on the agenda? Smoke stacks and bad air are for China.

    Reboot, and its highly lucrative spin-offs, can be made in the basement. Movies are made anywhere. Compound interest can grow whilst we sit on our yachts.

    Interestingly, Mayor Phillip declared the False Creek flats to be the Canadian West version of Silicone Valley: that was supposed to be the great Canadian wealth producer. So far it hasn’t worked out and several, low wage, box retails have taken over.

    Mixed use, work close to home, good building methods, nix to over zealous marketing techniques (i.e. high LEED points equal high prices) and a reasonable use of environmental controls.

    I believe Vancouver is going to need, imminently, all the wealth creating it can get. As for Brent saying residential encourages speculation well I am sorry to yet again remind you sir, the greatest encouragement for speculation, in the recent past has come, willfully, from your department.

    This issue isn’t for the planning department. This is for council to decide and to guide Mr. Toderian.

  • gmgw

    Michael Geller claimed:
    “…today, the Steveston waterfront has become a vibrant new high density community, with new public access and restored heritage buildings. And some of the industrial uses related to the reduced fishing industry operations has remained.”

    Some. Not many. What’s been done to Steveston has been done to far too many once-charming small communities, especially those on seacoasts: Genuine heritage and atmosphere has been demolished and replaced by ersatz pre-packaged heritage created by marketing firms. Steveston, as anyone who grew up in the area will tell you, used to be an authentically gritty and charming little community, soaked in history (some of it ugly), whose primary purpose was to service its resident commercial fishing fleet. It has always been far and away the most– hell the *only*– pleasant and genuinely human-scaled, pedestrian-friendly area in car-and-mall-choked Richmond, where on calm nights, for blocks all around, you can hear the howls of the deranged planners chained up in the basement of City Hall.

    What grit and charm still remains in Steveston (and developers are doing their best to stamp it out once and for all) has hung on despite the hideous new buildings on and near the waterfront, which evoke the Fisherman’s Wharf tourist aesthetic at its worst. I know at least six people whose lives have been inexorably bound up with Steveston; either they grew up there, have lived there for many years, or work there. Whenever the topic of the changes to Steveston comes up, they react with disgust and dismay, and I am assured that there are many nearby residents who feel the same way.

    Of course, I’m sure the hundreds of new arrivals who have bought into the new condo developments off Moncton in recent years couldn’t be happier with their new community. They never knew that older Steveston. It’s acquired all the hallmarks of civilization: a McDonalds, a Starbucks, a Blenz, a shiny new 4th-Avenue-style commercial/residential development at Moncton and #1 Road (which replaced an aging single-story block of shops, among them possibly the last stand-alone bakery in the area, where you could get a great bowl of soup for two bucks just a couple of years ago), and a few pretentious and overpriced restaurants (thankfully, Pajo’s and Kisamos are still going strong). We can now look forward to more such developments and the inevitable substantially increased rents which will gradually drive out the rest of the unique shops that remain.

    I realize that in going on like this I am merely lamenting another kind of inevitable. I mean, apart from a few cranks like me, who the hell cares what’s happening to Steveston? But it irks me when the likes of Michael Geller stand up and bang their flippers together, cheering the destruction of something that was rare and precious and its replacement with a glitzy and mawkishly poor imitation. What we have here, I guess, is yet another example of that classic Newspeak rationale, left over from the Vietnam war: “It became necessary to destroy the village in order to save it”. That, in a nutshell, is what has happened, and is happening, to Steveston Village, and the process has barely begun. Hip hooray.

    One final note: Harold Steves, cited by M. Geller as applauding his proposed 1981 development, is nothing if not inconsistent. One never knows exactly which way Mr. Steves is going to jump on any given issue, despite his longtime reputation as Richmond’s token civic leftist. And if he genuinely entertained the delusion that a vast increase in density in the community that bears his family’s name would lead to a revival of rapid transit to that part of Richmond (long the home of some of the lousiest transit service in the Lower Mainland), he must have been spending too much time talking to his cows. One wonders if he still dreams of further density increases as he plows the back forty (square meters?) of his micro-farm down there by the dike, bordered on three sides by blocks and blocks of townhouse developments. The word “hypocrite” comes to mind.
    gmgw

  • I know, I know . . . expect the usual hue and cry . . . wrong subject, wrong bog . . .

    . . . but I just read your latest G & M column . . . “City council is expected to approve initiative that will allow homeowners to build a second, small home on their lot.”

    Words like “approve” and “allow” some how don’t seem to fit Lane-ways . . .

    Lane-way houses, garages, coach houses go a long way back and in some cases have been grandfathered into use as residences.

    I have no compunction in saying this approval overkill has not exactly resulted in “paradise” as the wag insists.

    And maybe, just maybe, if council and its acolytes would get off our backs just maybe better planning would come out cool . . .

  • Ummmm, since Michael is getting beaten up about Steveston . . .

    I have been loosely acquainted with Michael for decades . . . he’s a nice guy, if you know what I mean, and he likes it that way.

    What I thought hilarious, though, was his, interjection of his yellow shirt reading “Say no to drugs.” and Frances didn’t see that as “off-topic” whilst I was severely beaten up because I tried to set an environmental course in the 2010 bylaw debate, which if you read her post carefully, was not directed solely at Olympic security . . .

    And, ergo, like the BB cycle thread turned almost paranoid . . . and a whoooo-ah post #9 to you too . . .

    As she says “planning is never dull . . . ”

    . . . except when our august director of planning interjects, clearly showing he is no quite up to speed on mixed use v’s industrial. Brent, we haven’t had industrial for decades unless of course big box and warehousing is: yunno, two minimum wage shippers to the hectare etc . . . and that madam is on topic . . .

  • A mixed use project that incorporates industrial would be a great use of this site. Fuel (and thereby shipping costs) are going one direction: up. It won’t be long before it’s too expensive to ship everything as far as we do now, so maintaining some land locally for such a purpose makes a lot of sense.

  • Des

    I’ve always found it a pity that many of Vancouver’s most authentic centres or strips seem so often to consist of single storey commercial buildings, while many of the neighbourhoods with the most authentic examples of vernacular architecture seem so often to consist of single family homes (though sometimes offering suites or converted into duplexes).

    Though these forms and the cheap space they provide for interesting businesses (this is a big Jane Jacobs point, of course) are crucially important to having a gritty, interesting city in which it’s easy for new businesses to start up or for younger folks to get a foothold – not to mention being beautiful witnesses to history and architectural history – they really don’t offer enough density to make for much street life or to make decent transit cost effective.

    That said, tearing them down and replacing them with the West 4th aesthetic (whether in Kits of Steveston), while upping the numbers, does result in the loss of a certain something, doesn’t it…

    If only eastern-type triplexes and Gastown-style commercial buildings had been fashionable in 1920s Kits and Steveston, sigh…

  • gmgw

    Des said:
    “If only eastern-type triplexes and Gastown-style commercial buildings had been fashionable in 1920s Kits and Steveston, sigh…”

    Steveston, which for decades was essentially a small, somewhat insular, one-industry community, always dwelt in a sort of isolation from the rest of Richmond. More to the point, Steveston never enjoyed a golden age, architecturally speaking. The look of the place has always been purely utilitarian. There are a couple of nice, well-preserved, old (likely 1910s or 20s) two-storey commercial buildings remaining along Moncton, which is about the closest thing Steveston Village has to a main drag. Most of the commercial area of Steveston is a planner’s nightmare; a hodgepodge of buildings from various eras, some modernized, some not; some attractive, many not.

    There was absolutely nothing about its design to justify the retention of the one-storey building I spoke of in my previous post. I think it’s more a question of scale and streetscape than anything else that made me sad to see it replaced by something that is glitzy, new and much more expensive in which to rent a storefront. The old buildings, with their low-rent, long-term commercial tenants, seem(ed) much more… human, somehow. As they usually do, in any older neighbourhood in any city.
    gmgw

  • GMGW, I’m the first to acknowledge that many old timers regret the changes that have occurred in Steveston. But my point is that combining the remaining fishing related activities (and by the way, the development didn’t force out the fishing operations) with new higher density residential developments has worked. If all of the former BC Packers industrial lands had been sterilized as ‘industrial’ and retained for warehousing and light industrial activities, I don’t think the result would have been as successful.

    Furthermore, there would not likely have been such extensive new public access to the waterfront and the very interesting new heritage buildings that have recently been completed. If others have not been down there, it is worth a visit.

    As for the proliferation of Mcdonalds and the like…I abhor this as much as many of you. But I did do something about it at UniverCity where the retail policies restricted the number of national and international tenants. The result was not perfect…many businesses struggled at the beginning…but the place does have a more unique character as a result of the policy.

    So I want to continue to argue for a MIX of uses…light industrial, commercial, residential…rather than the continuation of a policies that say this is commercial only, this is residential only…and this is industrial only.

    I know that there are some industrial uses that have to be separated from where people live….but not all of them.

  • Frances,

    Hi! Long time since I last commented on your blog. I haven’t read the 22 comments before (will do another time when I have more available time to spare), but I want to make a commentary as my doctoral dissertation examined urban/industrial restructuring and the dynamics of shifting industrial land-use to residential and that’s the topic of this post of yours.

    There is a place for industrial and a place for residential land uses. Regardless of NIMBYs and other phenomena, any city that intends to have a diversified industrial, commercial and urban base needs to have BOTH types of land uses (industrial AND residential).

    Moreover, city planners (and stakeholders alike) need to realize that despite the talks about Vancouver becoming a knowledge economy (a la creative cities), there is a NEED for industry (and by industry I mean both heavy and light industry).

    Feel free to contact me some time and we can chat about this over coffee. I plan to write about it on my research blog sometime (soon as I can get a reprieve from other stuff!)

    Best,
    Raul

  • gmgw

    Michael:
    Steveston’s fate was sealed with the collapse of the West Coast salmon fishery, which effectively killed the community’s longstanding raison d’etre. I realize that Steveston-as-it-was couldn’t and can’t be preserved in amber; it’s a functioning commercial/residential community, not a museum. And I have to agree that developing the BC Packers lands for light industry would have been a disastrous planning decision.

    I guess my previous post was a soggy lament for something ineffable which has been lost, though as I said earlier, its loss was all but all but inevitable. I have never had an emotional attachment to Steveston, but there are too many places in this and other countries that I once knew and loved and have lived to see destroyed or mutated beyond all recognition. Example: As a kid, I spent a number of blissful early/mid-60s summers on acreage owned by relatives in Okanagan Mission, then a rural district outside Kelowna, when Kelowna’s population was about 20,000 and the Mission was all orchards, pastures, woodlands, and clean, flowing streams; a paradise for a young city boy. My cousin and I used to spend whole afternoons exploring that countryside. Imagine how I feel about the place now that it’s become middle-class subdivided suburbia.

    Anyway, thanks for your conciliatory words. I’m relieved to hear that you have your own set of concerns about the potential nightmare that is poorly-planned development. I would like to think that it may still be possible to save some of what made Steveston special for so long; but given that it is at the mercy of the same planning department that gave us #3 Road, I’m not hopeful .
    gmgw