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Louie to Anton: “Signature building” was not what community wanted

July 27th, 2010 · 7 Comments

In an earlier post, Councillor Suzanne Anton voiced her objections to the Vision councillors’ decision to lower the height allowed for a social-housing project at Broadway and Fraser from 11 storeys to eight.

Here is Councillor Raymond Louie’s response.

Councillor Anton’s desire to have a ‘signature’ 11 storey building at the corner of Broadway and Fraser is directly at odds with what council heard from over 70 speakers, the Urban Design Panel, the Director of Planning and three nights of public hearings. Rather than question our need to ‘prove’ that we were listening , I think the question should be, “was she listening at all?”

What’s she’s ignored is that 103 units of social housing have been approved as part of a strong partnership between the provincial government and this city council. As a result, over one hundred individuals will be off our streets and gain access to support services that give them a fighting chance to lead better lives. Given the demand we saw at the Broadway and Fraser HEAT shelter this past winter, we know that these social housing units are needed and needed in this area.

She’s also ignored that 24 units of rental housing were approved if BC Housing finds the money – something they hadn’t done by the time of the public hearing, nor were they able to provide assurances the money would be forthcoming.

Providing the option of allowing the rental housing to be part of the eight storeys gives the project an element of flexibility while still ensuring that community concerns about height were heard and responded to.

The public hearing process is designed to give citizens a voice and what they said was very clear, 11 storeys is too high. Councillor Anton’s eco-density dogma should not be able to trump this. Yes, we do have a responsibility as council to meet city-wide priorities such as providing affordable housing for those in need, but it must be done in partnership with communities, not in spite of them.

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