BIG newsday at Little Mountain – and you thought it was over!

1.  Police called to Little Mountain Housing AND

Karin calls Vancouver Police

2.  The last tenant leaves Little Mountain.

This week on monday morning Karin Nicholetti – the last remaining tenant of the last building at Little Mountain – called Vancouver Police to report a violation of the BC Tenancy act, claiming that BC Housing personnel had entered her suite at Little Mountain without her permission. Apparently the BC Housing operatives became somewhat cavalier after winning a court order to have Nicholetti evicted. They had neither the order itself nor any authorization to enter her suite at that time.

Karin Leaves Little Mountain

Later that day they returned to hand-deliver the order to Karin. This time Ms. Nicholetti had no cause for distress. The order granted her an additional 48 hours of tenancy.  That 48 hours ends at 4pm TODAY (Wed. November 19) when she hands over the keys to BC Housing. I’ll be there to open a bottle of champaign to celebrate her 2800 days of resistance, and the contribution that she and the last tenants made, to the history of community action in B.C.

If you want to come by and witness the passing of the keys, bring some glasses or better, a bottle of bubbly and toast with us!Police investigate violation of BC Tenancy Act at Little Mountain

Cheers,
David V

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The Long Goodbye to the Last Rowhouse at Little Mountain

BC Housing prepares the last Little Mountain Rowhouse for demolition.

Long_Goodbye2Last week a good friend of mine who is a Vancouver artist, informed me that she had just received an eviction notice from her studio.  I thought right…here’s another instance of how its getting harder and harder for anyone except the international business class to afford to live here.  The Vision party is doing what they can, a couple of months ago they held a lottery to chose one arts group – out of dozens – who would get one new studio space in Vancouver.  Forgive me if I’m underwhelmed.

Meanwhile a building at Little Mountain with 6 good suites of over 12,000 total square feet awaits demolition.  Any major dude who knew Vancouver development politics would tell you that this spot on the Little Mountain site won’t be ready for construction for at least five years.  But who’s counting.

It will be gone by Christmas.

David
ps:  I voted today.  I hope you did too.

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Thanks DOC BC for sponsoring my Hyperlocal workshop

DOChyperlocal1websizeOn Wednesday this week DOC BC presented: 6 YEARS AND COUNTING: Reflections on The Hyperlocal Documentary at the Pull Focus Film School. I had a great time, and I hope that my experiences with The Little Mountain Project will inspire others to take a more active role in the stories that they tell. Thank you to friends, supporters, DOC members and all the sponsors who make events like this possible.  A shout out to my friend Claire Yargeau, who had the brilliant idea to take out her Iphone and snap photographs during the event.

DOChyperlocal3websizeAnd a reminder to DOC members that our annual AGM and holiday/year end party is on November 26th. Check your email for the event notice with time and place.

Cheers,
David Vaisbord

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What does $75,000 buy in Vancouver’s 2014 Election?

75000websizeThe 2014 election data is out. Holborn gave $75,000 to Vision and $2,500 to NPA, so they’re betting that Vision will win this race.

What will the contribution buy them? Peace of mind? A sense that they contributed to the democratic process? After all they did fund two parties. Or do they share like many of us, a concern that a vote for the NPA might strengthen Kinder Morgan’s fight to ram a new pipeline through our city. Many big issues at stake in this election.

But most importantly for me and the community that I live in, what will this mean for Little Mountain? Especially since there’s been some talk that Holborn might renege on its committment to build community amenities as part of the redevelopment plan for Little Mountain.

For more info on $$$ look at: City Hall Watch

For more info on candidates look at: NSV Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver.

Get out and vote!!!

David Vaisbord

 

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My upcoming workshop on the Hyperlocal Documentary!

Six Years and Counting: Reflections on the Little Mountain Film, Crowd funding and The Hyperlocal Documentary.

Find out more about Tickets, Time & Location HERE.

The Six Block Documentary: Vaisbord's thesis, that within a 6 block radius any filmmaker can find compelling subjects for his artistic practice.

The Six Block Documentary: Vaisbord’s thesis, that within a 6 block radius any filmmaker can find compelling subjects for his media practice.

Is the next great Canadian documentary waiting to be made in your neighbourhood?  Perhaps only a short walking distance from your home?

Join me for a workshop sponsored by the Documentary Organization of Canada on November 12 about the the 6-Block Manifesto, the Hyperlocal documentary and the future of the documentary film making.

This presentation will excite and engage attendees in a wide-ranging discussion on how to create a hyperlocal documentary from challenges to successes. 

Find out more HERE, and I hope to see you there!
David Vaisbord

 

 

 

 

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/doc-bc-presents-reflections-on-the-hyperlocal-documentary-tickets-13095249243

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Visit Holborn Properties Little Mountain Haunted House!

A Holborn Halloween for Little Mountain 2014

A Holborn Haunted Halloween for Little Mountain in 2014!

Last week Holborn’s Joo Kim Tiah was in downtown Vancouver promoted his ultra luxury Trump Tower project with Donald Trump’s children.  If that wasn’t scary enough, across town in my neighbourhood, the Holborn Properties Little Mountain community office had a downright haunted look about it!

We visit new construction sites in Little Mountain vicinity

We visit new and active construction sites in Little Mountain vicinity.

Vaisbord's UBC tour visits Holborn Office

Vaisbord’s UBC tour visits Holborn Office.

We finish our tour at the last heritage bldg

We finish our tour at the last heritage bldg.

 

I was giving a tour of the area to UBC students when we came upon it. I decided to photograph it and send it to you for your enjoyment.

 

 

And be sure to check out my workshop on the Hyperlocal Documentary on November 12th.  Find out more on FACEBOOK or buy tickets here.

Have a happy and safe Halloween from the Little Mountain Project.
Boohaahaaha!
David V

 

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BC Housing is at it again!

BC Housing is poised to sell off another major piece of it’s social housing property in Vancouver, and as per usual there will be no public consultation. I hope to have some media to post on this project soon.

Meanwhile: Read about in at City Hall Watch:
http://cityhallwatch.wordpress.com/2014/10/19/stamps-place-sale-opposed

Take this link to Ray-Cam Co-operative Centre’s website where the information originates.

David V
The Little Mountain Film

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All Candidates Meet to discuss Vancouver Housing

Last night I attended SCARPE – UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning’s all candidates debate at UBC Robson Square. Housing Debate 2014_websize

This meeting is required viewing for the upcoming election, and you can click on the link at the bottom of the page to view it.

Debate1

I was very impressed with Cope’s Lisa Barrett, two-time former mayor of Bowen Island, and Adriane Carr of the Green Party.

Debate3_sml_flt_web

One City’s RJ Aquino has his heart and policies in the right place, and I have a huge amount of respect for David Chudnovsky, who’s the fire behind One City.

Meena_sharp

Meena Wong met with audience and debate participants afterward. I spoke with her after the debate and agree with her housing policies. If she wins she will be the first woman and person of Asian descent in the mayor’s chair! They say that she has an uphill battle against the Vision machine. This will be an interesting election!

Debate2_sml_flt_web

The entire debate can be viewed here:

Kudos to Dr. Penny Gurstein and colleagues at SCARP for putting together a great event.

David Vaisbord
For information on how to support the film project go to: http://www.littlemountainfilm.com/

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At Langara University with Dr. Wendy Sarkissian and Guests

Last night I joined Dr. Wendy Sarkissian‘s Urban Planning class at Langara University in the company of dedicated civic activists including Eileen Mosca of Grandview, Gudrun Langolf of Marpole, Ned Jacobs of Riley Park/South Cambie, Randy Helten of Neighbourhoods for a Sustainable Vancouver and Jak King, president of the Grandview-Woodland Area Council.

Vaisbord@LANGARA2_finalwebsize

Vaisbord speaks to Langara University Planning Students on Oct 21, 2014

It was a great conversation. King’s overview of the event is here on his blog:  Jak’s View of Vancouver.  And kudos to students April and Elona who did a great job of of organizing the session.

Undergraduate Student, Ned Jacobs, Jak King in Sarkissian’s Langara Classroom

Dr. Wendy Sarkissian was featured in a video I posted last year titled: Densification Wars: A Conversation with Dr. Wendy Sarkissian PhD.  Sarkissian’s students who come from all parts of the globe, were eager to be informed about the current state of community and urban planning in Vancouver.

The Langara class began with a discussion of the Little Mountain Project.  A key discussion point was the clip A Moment of Truth.  The flaw within the community consultation process is clearly visible. Planner Ben Johnson must inform the community that their recommendations will never be accepted:  “a higher level of direction” controls the process that includes both senior staff and City Council  — all Vision Party dominated — rendering the entire process, nearly irrelevant.

Vaisbord@LANGARA_websize

Vaisbord speaks on the Little Mountain Project – Vancouver planner Ben Johnson projected on screen, from a video entitled: “Meeting 29: The Moment of Truth”.

I qualify the process as “nearly irrelevant” because the community, with the assistance of the planning department accomplished what they set out to do. The community was ready to unanimously support a final document but that document wasn’t good enough for “senior staff” who opted for a higher density than that recommended by the community. The fact that Vision staff and councillors chose to poison the well in the end was a huge disappointment to everyone, except the developer Holborn Properties, of course.
This, and many other flawed consultation processes are coming back to haunt the Vision Party as it seeks re-election by angry Vancouver communities seeking input into the future of their city.

All for now,
David
For information on how to support the film project go to: http://www.littlemountainfilm.com/

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UBC Planning Students view the last of Little Mountain heritage housing

UBC Urban Geography student and Vaisbord next to the Steenhuisens' family home at Little Mountain

UBC Urban Geography student and Vaisbord with Steenhuisens’ family home at Little Mountain. The last of Little Mountain’s heritage social housing.

Last Friday and Saturday (Oct 17th and 18th) I gave tours of Little Mountain to UBC Urban Geography students.

On Friday we were fortunate to catch Ingrid Steenhuisen, one of the last residents of the heritage housing at Little Mountain in the process of cleaning up and moving out. Her relatives were there to help as were neighbourhood friends.

Vaisbord, Students, Friends of the Steenhuisens

Planning Student, Friend and Vaisbord in the Steenhuisens’ basement.

While working on sorting family papers, Ingrid answered a few questions from the students.

Ingrid & UBC students

Ingrid Steenhuisen talks to planning student about the Riley Park neighbourhood while packing boxes in her former home at Little Mountain.

If any readers have had the experience of cleaning out a family home, they can appreciate how much work it took, and how difficult it was to clear out the old three bedroom suite.

Bedrooms with memories await demolition

The view from this boys’ bedroom in the Steenhuisen unit is coloured by the nostalgia for vivid seafaring tales read before bedtime.

Ingrid is moving into the new building 100 yards to the south of her family’s old rowhouse.

The old rowhouse - coming soon to a landfill near you.

The last heritage rowhouse – coming soon to a landfill near you.

Rather than being reused or remodelled, the heritage structure will be torn down by BC Housing ASAP.

This building has a relatively new roof and good structure. I know a number of artists who are desperate for studio space in Vancouver, who would move their studios to Little Mountain in a heartbeat, even if only for the two to five years it will take before anything happens here.

David Vaisbord
The Little Mountain Project & Film
For information on how to support the film project go to: http://www.littlemountainfilm.com/

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What has been going on at Little Mountain?

What has been going on at Little Mountain?
CleaningUP_1
In the last rays of sun in Sept/Oct 2014 the owner (BC Housing or Holborn?) did a complete site cleanup, consisting of cutting the grass, trimming the trees, covering their root systems with fresh sod, and removing the rotting orange fences which once surrounded them.

Remains of Orange Fencing around Little Mountain trees

Remains of Orange Fencing around Little Mountain trees

The old orange fences were erected to protect the trees from damage during a construction boom that never happened. Instead they rotted in place, year upon year becoming more weathered and decrepit. As unsightly as they were, they provided a visual reminder of how much time had elapsed since promises were made to rebuild Little Mountain Housing.

Photo: David Vaisbord

Photograph: 4 Seasons of Little Mountain – David Vaisbord

Now they are gone and Little Mountain almost resembles a park. Ask anyone who walks by, and they’ll probably respond that they don’t remember what was there anymore.  Cutting the grass at Little Mountain where fencing once stood.

Cutting the grass at Little Mountain at the base of a tree once surrounded by orange fencing.

Landscaping at Little Mountain Fall 2014

Landscaping at Little Mountain Fall 2014

Stroller in waiting.

Little Mountain seems more park-like now that the orange fences are gone.  What was once the first social housing project in BC passes slowly into oblivion.

Well…not completely…more to come.
David V.

Support this film project at littlemountainfilm.com

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I return…with thoughts on Oppenheimer Tent City

With apologies to my readers – this new blog entry is long overdue!
This blog was out of commission during my crowdfunding campaign for The Little Mountain Film, and then I took a summer hiatus. For information on how to support the film project go to: http://www.littlemountainfilm.com/

Today, I post a new banner photo that begs the question: What would Little Mountain look like as a tent city?  Oppenheimer Park is a city park that is now a living community.
The Little Mountain Housing Project was a living community that is now a private park.

Oppenheimer Tent City as Little Mountain Project

Oppenheimer Tent City as Little Mountain Project

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New Banners produced at Vancouver’s “Draw by Night” Event

Hey Friends,

I’m putting up a NEW BANNER SERIES, produced for The Little Mountain Film during a very successful DRAW BY NIGHTsession held in March 2014 at the VFS campus cafe.

Draw By Night for Little Mountain by Anonymous

Draw By Night for Little Mountain Film by Anonymous

The images will revolve throughout the fundraising campaign for The Little Mountain Film.

Thank you to visual artist Kristina Fiedrich and her team of volunteers.

Here is this week’s sketch in its entirety. This artist of this sketch forgot to put their name on it. Whoever drew it please contact me!

Last week’s original sketch was by Natalia Parra:

If you have a great sketch of Little Mountain or a drawing that you think represents the theme of HOUSING, send it to me and I’ll put it up.

Click on the Housing icon to the below to visit the NEW WEB SITE and participate in the campaign to FUND THE LITTLE MOUNTAIN FILM:

We can’t do it without you.
David Vaisbord

This is the icon above – just click on it!
Yes you can…

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Little Mountain Film – The Funding Campaign Launches Today!

Just click on the icon below to be redirected to the documentary film fundraising site:

I’m ecstatic to be finally embarking on campaign to fund the Little Mountain Film. After six years in the making, I’m ready to share this story with the world. Thank you all for joining me on the journey. Most of you have been involved in the fight for Little Mountain for just as long as I have. I’m hoping that finishing this film will create a way to get the word out about what happened at Little Mountain – the good, the bad, the ups, and the downs. Please join me in making finishing this film. Check out our crowd-funding campaign HERE and let the world hear about Little Mountain.

There’s a NEW website dedicated to the film here:   http://www.littlemountainfilm.com/
Come on board SHARE with your friends, and we can finish this film!

Please note, that I will be blogging on both this site and the Little Mountain Film site for the duration of the campaign.

David V

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Georgia Straight Article on the last tenants of Little Mountain

Hi Friends,

I met Georgia Straight writer Carlito Pablo at Little Mountain last week, and he included me in the article he wrote this week:  Sam and Joan article in Georgia Straight
It talks about the passing of both Joan (which I shared on this blog) and Sammy.

I’ve not had a moment to spare since I committed to launch an Indiegogo Funding Campaign for the feature documentary film, and spent the last 4 weeks in my edit studio cutting a 4 minute trailer. It boils down to a week a minute.

I regret not having time to post about the passing of Sammy (Sim) Chang, but once the campaign is up and running I’ll have to time to go back and write the post in a few days, now that the campaign is up and running.

Here’s how to get there:

Go to a new dedicated website at:

http://www.littlemountainfilm.com/

or directly to the INDIEGOGO crowdfunding site at:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/little-mountain-film

The funding campaign runs from May 9 to Jun 23rd.

Please come on board and contribute to this project.

Sincererly,

David & my Indiegogo Fundraising Team

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Heather Place draws upon Little Mountain

Warning:  Lack of truth beyond this sign  - Little Mountain 2014

Warning: Lack of truth beyond this sign – Little Mountain 2014

Barry Growe has a new article in The Tyee, in which he links the fight to preserve social housing at Little Mountain, with recent developments at Heather Place.

The article is titled:
An Authentic First Step for Affordable Housing?
Let’s Hope Vancouver’s Heather Place learns from Little Mountain’s big mistakes.

Barry and the tenants at Heather Place, including Karen Gilchrist and Tamara Szymanska will be speaking to City Council at City Hall next week, on April 15, and I will be there to record their presentations and their thoughts on the process, for a future post.

There are many lessons to be learned at Little Mountain. I’ll cover them in my documentary.

The fundraising campaign launches on May 1st!
Check out my new FACEBOOK site at Little Mountain Film.

Cheers,
David V

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Densification Wars

On January 19th 2014, one of the world’s leading authorities on community engagement, Dr. Wendy Sarkissian spoke to Vancouver residents about the successes and failures of community engagement in Canada, Australia and the USA.

“Densification Wars” A Conversation with Dr. Wendy Sarkissian PhD from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

Have the last three years of community engagement at Little Mountain been a success?  That depends on who you talk to and there’s more to come in 2014.  Prior to Dr. Sarkissian’s talk, I speak for a minute about my commitment to The Little Mountain Project and ask for support for my upcoming crowdfunding campaign, this spring.

If you send me your email address, I will be able to keep you up to date on details about the campaign, to be launched in the spring.  Alternatively you can Facebook friend me or follow me on Twitter. My email is: vaisbord@gmail.com.

Dr. Sarkissian speak with Mount Pleasant and Little Mountain community, January 2014.

Dr. Sarkissian inspires Vancouver citizens in January 2014. (littlemountainproject.com).

Moderated by Stephen Bohus, the conversation took place at the Mount Pleasant Community Centre. Urbanist and community advocate Ned Jacobs begins the conversation. The following information was provided by the organizers prior to the event:

“Densification Wars.” Community Planning in New South Wales and Vancouver:
A public conversation with Dr. Wendy Sarkissian, Ned Jacobs, and You!

Dr. Wendy Sarkissian, lives and practices community planning in the Australian state of New South Wales, home to Sydney, a city experiencing similar growth and affordability pressures as Vancouver. She is co-author of the award-winning book Housing as if People Matteredand three recent books on community engagement. Dr. Sarkissian grew up in Vancouver and was an adjunct professor at the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning. Her PhD was in Environmental Ethics and Planning Education.

Jacobs & Bohus at Dr. Sarkissian's Vancouver talk.

Jacobs & Bohus at Dr. Sarkissian’s Vancouver talk.

Ned Jacobs, a son and student of the late urbanist Jane Jacobs, is an advocate for environmental sustainability, social/affordable housing, high quality urban design, and civic electoral reform. He serves on volunteer advisory groups for the redevelopment of Little Mountain Housing and the Cambie Corridor, and is the Riley Park/South Cambie Community Visions Group liaison to the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods.

Keep up to date with me, and about the project on my Facebook or Twitter accounts.
Thank you.
David Vaisbord

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Seasons Greetings from The Little Mountain Project

Hello to all of my friends in The Little Mountain neighbourhood and beyond!

It’s the time of year to be thankful for the family, friends and communities who contribute to our lives.
I hope that you enjoy this two-minute Holiday video-card.

Xmas at Little Mountain 2013 from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

Filmmaker and three of the four last tenants of the Little Mountain Housing Project:  Ingrid Steenhuisen, Joan and Sammy Chang (Not pictured: Karin Nicholetti)

Filmmaker and three of the four last tenants of the Little Mountain Housing Project: Ingrid Steenhuisen, Joan and Sammy Chang (not in picture: Karin Nicholetti)

Happy Holidays and a Spendid 2014!
Love,
David Vaisbord & Family

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Social Housing that is Edifying

“Edify” According to the Mirriam Webster Dictionary:
Definition #1: To teach (someone) in a way that improves the mind or character.

Edifying New Social Housing Rises at Little Mountain in Vancouver - David Vaisbord Photo

Edifying New Social Housing Rises at Little Mountain in Vancouver – David Vaisbord Photo

Rising from the ground at Little Mountain is an edifying example of social housing in Vancouver. I call it “edifying” because as the first new building of a large master-planned community, it sets the height of the bar to which all new housing on the Little Mountain site – market or social housing included – must rise to.  In addition, the seamless integration of social housing with other eventual forms of housing on the site will have to follow a model of urban planning, where it is  impossible to tell social from market housing.

An angled profile meets East 37th Avenue and Main streets in Vancouver - David Vaisbord Photo

An angled profile meets East 37th Avenue and Main streets in Vancouver – David Vaisbord Photo

But look around, you can’t help but notice it’s the only construction site on a massive empty lot. Which begs the question, why is it being built?  The answer to that one is the most edifying of all.  It’s a story about 3 families who resisted eviction and with the assistance of their community, won a major victory. That’s a story that can now be told 5 years after it began, as the results of their struggle slowly rises from the ground.

The Little Mountain Story is your story. You are the community who fought to save Little Mountain.  So please stay tuned for more information on the launch of the Little Mountain Project documentary funding campaign in 2014.

And if you would like to take part in the strategy of this funding campaign, we need your passion and ideas. Contact me by email ASAP at:  vaisbord@gmail.com.

The Long View - Little Mountain's new social housing - David Vaisbord Photo

The Long View – Little Mountain’s new social housing – David Vaisbord Photo

According to Phillip Scott, Holborn’s new Development Manager, the completion date of this new seniors housing is the fall of 2014 or the spring of 2015.

The Longer View at Little Mountain:  This new building sits on 16 acres of wasteland - David Vaisbord photo.

The Longer View at Little Mountain: This new building sits on 16 acres of wasteland – David Vaisbord Photo.

Coda:
Gary Mason of the Globe and Mail writes that much of the criticism of densification in Vancouver is based on worries about the Social Housing component.  Where does he get his information?  I get mine at ground level.  My neighbourhood is fighting for more units of social and affordable housing at Little Mountain.

Sincerely,
David Vaisbord
The Little Mountain Project

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Meet the NEW architect for Little Mountain – Gary Andrishak

Welcome to the LMP screening room.  

For those of you who missed this meeting last week at the Hillcrest Community Centre, here is your video update. Gary’s talk begins around the 7 minute mark.

Advisory Committee Meeting 38: Meeting the New Architect from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

Andrishak has stated that he does not see LM as a tower site. He quoted urban design educator and writer Jan Gehl, “a city is not the buildings alone, it’s the spaces between them that matter most.” The Advisory Committee has been concerned about urban space at Little Mountain since 2010. If you want to feel like you were there, open a second window and click through his PowerPoint PDF (courtesy of Vancouver Planning) as he speaks.

In the Q&A that follows Deborah Butler – one of the 7 members of the Advisory Committee who drafted the Community’s Position on the Policy Statement – compliments Andrishak on his presentation, but urges him to consider the neighbourhood’s criticisms of the policy statement as ratified by City Council in 2012.  I would encourage Andrishak to review both Advisory Committee Meeting 35, and Part 1 of the City Hall session of June 2012, which deal with density and height. The Little Mountain Policy Statement itself can be viewed by clicking HERE.

Other subjects covered in the meeting are:

  • The timetable of the Rezoning Process.
  • Rightsizing the retail component of the project.
  • Employing swails to deal with excess water on the property.
  • How the legibility and visibility of ground floor entryways can enhance community.
  • Inclusive design that fits many generations of user.
  • Re-energizing the community around this NEW rezoning process, through new signage around the property or by other means.
  • The constant evolution of the project, and how the new building already renders the old site plan obsolete.
  • The challenges of phasing in Social Housing over the many project phases to come.
  • The timetable for completing the first Social Housing building = late 2014 or 2015.
  • The obligation for all future builders on the site to abide by the policy statement.

PS: The discussion gets heated, and humourous at the end.

With my compliments to all participants in the room.

David Vaisbord
The Little Mountain Project.
Know MORE at littlemountainproject.com

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Sammy’s Gourmet Harvest at Little Mountain

I was up at The Little Mountain Project yesterday, harvesting 50 pounds of organic veggies called “Sunchokes” with Sammy Chang.

Digging up Sammy’s Sunchokes at Little Mountain Housing

In case you’ve never had one, a Sunchoke, otherwise known as the Jerusalem Artichoke, is a delicacy of the root vegetable variety.

Little Mountain Sunchokes look a bit like a ginger root.

Little Mountain Sunchokes look a bit like a ginger root.

It looks like ginger root but tastes like a nutty potato.

Mr. Sammy Chang contemplates the nutritious Jerusalem Artichoke in his garden at Little Mountain.

Mr. Sammy Chang contemplates the nutritious Jerusalem Artichoke in his garden at Little Mountain.

I spent part of the afternoon with Sammy, harvesting them. In case you’re not aware of the story, Sammy rebuilt his garden here, after his last one was demolished by BC Housing in 2009. Every fall, sunchokes significantly contribute to his diet.

If you’d like some, I may be able to hook you up with a supplier, but you’ll have to dig them up yourself, and haggle with an old Chinese man on the price.

Chang and Vaisbord sample the gourmet harvest at Little Mountain.

Chang and Vaisbord sample the gourmet harvest at Little Mountain.

Next posting, Gary Andrishak, the new architect for Little Mountain, speaks about civic planning, architecture, and guiding principles with the Little Mountain Advisory Group, on video later this week.

Bon Appétit
David Vaisbord
The Little Mountain Project

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An uplifting meeting with the New Architect for the Little Mountain Project

Last night the Little Mountain Advisory Group reconvened after a long hiatus, at the Hillcrest Community Centre.  I was there as always, continuing my 5-year experiment into community engagement, and shot my 350th hour of footage for The Little Mountain Project — soon to enter the fundraising stage of a feature documentary about the amazing neighbourhood in which I live.

Gary Andrishak's opening remarks - David Vaisbord recording them.

Gary Andrishak’s opening remarks – David Vaisbord recording them.

At the meeting, Vancouver City Planners re-introduced themselves and the new lead architect for the Little Mountain Project, Gary Andrishak of the IBI Group.

Andrishak breezed through an introduction of himself and his work, while stating his strong agreement with all of the policies on Little Mountain, developed through community engagement. Proving himself to be a master communicator, he invited everyone in the room to introduce themselves and proceeded to listen to community reiterate some of their ongoing concerns. Joo Kim Tiah (Holborn’s CEO) introduced himself, but kept a low profile throughout. Phillip Scott, Holborn’s new Development Manager also said a few words.

Planner Ben Johnson responds to questions.

Planner Ben Johnson responds to questions.

News that Andrishak was a lead architect on the Arbutus Walk Project (a predominantly low-rise development) was music to the ears of many in the room, as Arbutus Walk was one of the feature studies of the Advisory Group with an official tour, given three years ago by City Planners and viewable online HERE.

Andrishak identified himself as an expert in community building and planning, who would do things a little differently from that his predecessor James Cheng. As some of you may know, Cheng resigned from the project owning to recent health concerns.

Scott, Johnson & Andrishak at Little Mountain Mtg

Scott, Johnson & Andrishak at Little Mountain Mtg

He brings an interest in cutting edge urban design, and in particular new projects in Scandinavia. Does this mean that he is in favour of reduced density or height? Improved public realm? He did mention that he was very much in favour of developments with ground level connections to the communities surrounding them. I’m very interested to see what he will bring to the revisioning of our neighbourhood.

You will want to listen to his presentation for yourself.
I will upload the meeting in its entirety next week.

New construction at Little Mountain casts a long shadow in the autumn light - October 2013 - David Vaisbord photo.

New construction at Little Mountain casts a long shadow in the autumn light – October 2013 – David Vaisbord photo.

Currently, the first to be built on the site is taking shape at Little Mountain, and it does it casts a long shadow. It makes me wonder how dark the site will be, at the projected heights and density of James Cheng’s vision.

David Vaisbord

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Minister of Housing “completes sale” of Little Mountain Lands to Holborn Group

On Thursday, the Minister of Housing claimed to have completed the sale of Little Mountain to the Holborn Group.  The value of the “secret deal”, which had remained confidential until now, was also revealed.  That value is said to be in the neighbourhood of $300 million in cash and social housing.

The sale was reported by The Globe and Mail yesterday. The news was not repeated on television. Given the persistent secrecy around the project it is difficult to actually believe anything that the government says about Little Mountain. Perhaps one day the government will actually allow someone from outside of their circle to look at the contract and the terms of the province’s agreement, for the benefit of the public and taxpayers of B.C.

This sale, (if it has in fact been sold) along with the re-election of the Liberal Government may guarantee that the developer will get his way at Little Mountain. Many wished for an alternative universe to the one proposed by the government/developer and we shall all see how it rolls out…

There is currently one social housing building being built on site. It was authorized and re-zoned under extraordinary circumstances, after a small group of tenants (with the support of the community) fought eviction. Read about it here.

Sincerely,
David

The Little Mountain Project.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The Ugly

A new 3-part blog series on The Little Mountain Project.
Part 3

Frankly, I wish there didn’t have to be a bad or an ugly. I would rather spend my time working on the feature documentary about Little Mountain.

The Ugly

There are small things that help us to honour the past, the Birks Clock for instance was saved, though the Birks Building was not. We call it “heritage”. We entrust the preservation of those few objects to the people who build our cities, and how they handle that heritage may reflect upon how they think about it.

Holborn's Joo Kim Tiah and Donald Trump - we're trusting them to build the new Vancouver

Holborn’s Joo Kim Tiah and Donald Trump – we’re trusting them to build the new Vancouver

Two mid-century HERITAGE LAMP POSTS have laid undisturbed on a roadway close to the new building site at Little Mountain for past last three years.

Two mid-century heritage lamps at Little Mountain lay undisturbed for 3 years .

Two mid-century heritage lamps at Little Mountain lay undisturbed for 3 years .

Little Mountain Policy statement - showing the street lamps as they once were.

Little Mountain Policy statement – showing the street lamps as they once were.

The Planning Department chose one of the lamp posts for the title page of their Little Mountain Policy statement, because it said something about the history of the place – because it was a landmark.

The demolition company which laid most of Little Mountain Housing to waste was, inexplicably, responsible for the preservation of those two heritage lamp posts. One of the lamps was the focal point of a short film I made in a snowstorm in the winter of 2009. In the film the streetlamp flashed intermittently, resembled a lighthouse emitting a  distress signal, a warning of things to come…

And then last month, a construction company named URBAN ONE started work near that part of the site.  I had noticed that they were missing from the roadway.  I went to look for them, and found them in the grass nearby.

Wasted heritage at Little Mountain, courtesy of the Holborn Group

Wasted heritage at Little Mountain

At Little Mountain Housing nothing of the past is worth keeping.

Thinking about the details at Little Mountain.

Little Mountain's heritage - it's in the details

Little Mountain: Detail of leaf-forms on capitals.

Perhaps it’s my fault.  I never lived at Little Mountain but after 5 years of filmmaking I’ve become attached to a few things.

So I’ve got some questions:

  • What constitute civic heritage for you, at Little Mountain?
  • How would you represent it in a civic art project?
  • Would a poodle on a pole be good representation of the gentrification of the site?
  • Send me your ideas and I’ll post them.

Respectfully yours,
David Vaisbord
The Little Mountain Project

 

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