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Relentless champion, Art Cowie, dies

November 23rd, 2009 · 11 Comments

For those not reading other blogs, the sad news came over the weekend that Art Cowie died. Cowie, a one-time TEAM councillor during the new wave that swept in to town in the 1970s, was a tireless advocate for having the city try new housing forms. That didn’t win him many friends on the west side, but he never quit trying to get people to see beyond single-family-land.

Several tributes to him elsewhere, including Michael Geller’s blog, civicscene, and citycaucus.

I saw him at council recently, sounding different and frailer, but still arguing just as passionately. It’s hard to believe he’s gone.

When you drive by the townhouses under construction at Cambie and 33rd, think of him. They’re an experiment who forced the city to try: fee-simple townhouses, where, as happens with most other cities, the townhouses are owned individually, not as part of a strata with all the attendant problems that brings. It doesn’t sound that revolutionary, but in Vancouver, it is. And it never would have happened without his persistence.

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