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Guest post from Frank Ducote: A stunning transformation is planned for Grandview-Woodlands. Is the community really ready for this?

June 12th, 2013 · 193 Comments

For those who haven’t guessed already, I am away from the city right now and will be away until the first week of July, as part of my annual ritual of city observation elsewhere. (Known to others as “a vacation.”) I’ll be posting some stuff of my own — been riding a lot of bike-share bikes in Paris and have some tales to tell — but I am also opening up the blog to some guest posts.

The first is from Frank Ducote on what’s been happening with city planning over on Commercial Drive. I am happy to publish other guest posts on any vaguely city-related topics that have not been beaten to death already on this blog or where you have a take on a familiar issue that really hasn’t been addressed anywhere. Those with a burning desire to propose ideas should email me (firstnamelastname AT and I’ll put up anything that fits the criteria. You don’t need to use your real name.

In the meantime, here is Frank’s post, where your comments are invited. For those who don’t know, Frank is a former city planner, planning consultant for other cities, and, I believe, much-praised artist.
Looking at this map, it is very difficult to fully grasp the implications of such a far-reaching proposal for transformation of an existing community. As a former City of Vancouver planner who worked in the Broadway/Commercial community prior to and during the Millennium Line implementation, this vision truly boggles my mind. Circa 2000 or so some then-councillors considered this area, with its abundance of transportation investment, to be ripe for densification, up to and including towers. However, It would have suicidal to try and impose those kinds of pro -development ideas then, completely against community values.
What has happened since to so embolden staff and, presumably, the public consultation process, to bring forward such a fundamentally transformative set of ideas and policy directions now? So many questions that one has a difficult time knowing where and how to begin a rational critique and conversation.
Please look closely at this map, especially at the area immediately around Commercial Drive and Broadway. This is Transportation Oriented Development (TOD) writ very large indeed. Is this a community-based vision or one being imposed from above? A TransLink wet dream?
Your comments, please. It would be particularly interesting to hear from residents and other participants directly involved in this planning process.




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