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

A new 3-part blog series on The Little Mountain Project.
Part 2

The Bad

Urban One builders enters Little Mountain with blazin’ chainsaws.

URBAN ONE - Construction or Demolition service?

URBAN ONE – Construction or Demolition service?

I’ve heard the words “heritage-trees” uttered countless times.  Three years ago, arborists painstakingly mapped every tree, noting health and potential longevity.

Development Permit shows location of heritage trees bisected by new power lines.

Development Permit shows location of heritage trees bisected by new power lines.

Subsequently, the Planning Department of the City of Vancouver, gave heritage trees prominent status within the Little Mountain Policy statement (see downloadable PDF, particularly page 35 – “TREES”).

URBAN ONE slashes through the canopy for temporary power connections at Little Mountain

URBAN ONE slashes through the canopy for temporary power connections at Little Mountain construction site.

Power Lines once followed established roads through the site.

Power Lines once followed established roads through the site.

Trees should be removed to make way for the construction of buildings, not however, to make way for temporary power lines to be eventually buried underground.

So why did tree removal crews break through the orange tree-protection fences to chop a huge wedge through the the living canopy of the proposed Little Mountain Village Square?

Detail of cuts.

Little Mountain: Detail of cuts to planned Village Square.

A power line route circumventing the heritage trees already existed. Why didn’t URBAN ONE communicate with the City of Vancouver’s Planning Department before launching their logging crew through the boulevard? And what does this say about the safety of the remainder of the “heritage trees?”

We have a lack of communication. After two years of consultation the parties involved might just be a little bit weary of Q&A. Well I have advice for everyone involved: Get used to it*.

If the HOLBORN GROUP and URBAN ONE wish to communicate with the community about what they are doing at Little Mountain and why they are doing it, I offer to them this forum – The Little Mountain Project – in order to clarify their actions.

Coming soon…the ugly.

These signs have been popping up everywhere at Little Mountain since the damage was done.

These signs have been popping up everywhere at Little Mountain since the damage was done.

*The Major Projects division of Vancouver’s Planning Department has promised the community, that the Little Mountain Advisory Group will continue to have an active role to play in the rezoning of Little Mountain. We look forward to the resumption of that process.

David Vaisbord
The Little Mountain Project
Know MORE

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: THE GOOD! The design panel looks at plans for the First NEW building at Little Mountain

A new 3-part blog series on The Little Mountain Project.
Part 1

Although I’ve written about the preparation and groundbreaking at Little Mountain in 2013, I wanted to write something about the first 6 months of this year at Little Mountain. And the activities have been so varied and bizarre that the only way to describe them was: Good, Bad, and Ugly. So without further ado…THE GOOD!

THE GOOD
Developer begins building social housing at Little Mountain for seniors!

Urban Design panel #3 – The Little Mountain Project from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

In January 2013 the plans for the construction of the 1st new building at Little Mountain were released. They were publicly revealed for the first time, to Vancouver City’s Urban Design Panel, see above. The panel was impressed. The new social housing is of moderate height and very well designed. Actually, it’s spectacular! Congratulations to the architectural firm of Glair Williams, to James KM Cheng architects and the Holborn Group for welcoming the highly competent and imaginative Glair Williams firm into the project.

Model of new building reviewed at Urban Design Panel

Model of new building reviewed at Urban Design Panel

Congratulations also to the community and activists who thwarted BC Housing’s dreams of demolishing the last occupied building, and compelled the government into thinking about the redevelopment of Little Mountain in a smarter and more humane way. As a result, 53 units of new seniors housing will be fast-tracked. This is particularly good news for senior citizens, who were among the hardest hit by the relocation process. Separated from their beloved neighbourhood, old friends and shopping patterns, many were highly stressed. Many complained of substandard replacement housing, and could not wait to return. Some have already passed away – the interminable wait for new housing was just that.

Rich Coleman at Little Mountain Press Conference 2013

Rich Coleman at Little Mountain Press Conference 2013

The announcement of the new building offered Rich Coleman and the BC Liberals a photo opportunity prior to the 2013 Provincial Election, and I was there to record the event (which I will integrate into feature documentary on Little Mountain).

This project was a huge win for both the activists AND the government, though I don’t think that Minister Coleman* sees it that way.

Exact location of new Little Mountain Seniors' Housing.

Exact location of new Little Mountain Seniors’ Housing. Click on image to enlarge.

*Rich Coleman, in a recent conversation with me, stated that I never had anything nice to say about Little Mountain, so I have proved him wrong, right here. There were good things to report. I don’t write the script. I merely observe the play.

Coming soon…with apologies…the bad.

Respectfully yours,
David Vaisbord
The Little Mountain Project

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POV Magazine features the Little Mountain Project

Hello Friends and Neighbours,

Check out the Summer 2013 issue of Point of View Magazine. A feature article about The Little Mountain Project is inside! It’s a concise overview of what I’ve been doing over the past 5 years.

You can read from here:
POV Magazine & The Little Mountain Project 2013
or from POV Magazine:
http://povmagazine.com/articles/view/the-little-mountain-project-a-hyperlocal-manifesto

POV is Canada’s premiere magazine about documentaries and independent films. If you would like to read the entire issue, you can find it in magazine shops across the country.

The cover looks like this:
(I’ve added the notes in RED)

POV Summer 2013 Issue - Notes by the author

POV Summer 2013 Issue – Notes by the author

Cheers,
David Vaisbord
The Little Mountain Project

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Groundbreaking Event at Little Mountain attended by Housing Minister Rich Coleman

Hello Friends,

I finally had a chance to meet and talk to the Minister today. It was a brief encounter and he made it clear that he wasn’t going to add any more words to our conversation as he bristled and walked away from my camera; but nevertheless, it was satisfying to get it done. There are mythologies passed from generation to generation about how difficult it is to capture the fleeting image and words of Rich Coleman.

Coleman meets Steenhuisen and Chang

Ingrid Steenhuisen asks the Honourable Rich Coleman for an opportunity to meet and talk about social housing issues. (Sam Chang in foreground – Ms. Steenhuisen appears partially hidden behind him) Photo by David Vaisbord at the Groundbreaking at the Little Mountain Project, April 11, 2013.

Minister Coleman shook hands with Ingrid Steenhuisen and Sam Chang,(among the last tenants of the last remnant of Little Mountain Housing) and though he did not refuse Ms. Steenhuisen’s suggestion that they meet and talk about social housing concerns, he didn’t exactly set a firm date. Let me guess when that meeting might happen:  When hell freezes over.

There was very little notice given to the press (and none to the community) about when and where the press conference would take place, but in spite of the tight time frame, some key community critics of the project managed to get there on time, including David Chudnovsky and Ned Jacobs. The developer, Joo Kim Tiah; the architect, James Cheng; the head of BC Housing, Shayne Ramsay, and all of their key associates were in attendance. Apparently, they were on the invite list.

Sam Chang performs his own ground breaking ceremony at Little Mountain, April 11, 2013

Sam Chang performs his own ground breaking ceremony at Little Mountain, April 11, 2013

In his speech, Minister Coleman answered many of my questions, so I didn’t have to ask them outright. He explained what he saw when he looked out over the wasteland at Little Mountain, and his rationale for it. I recorded it and will post it asap.

Minister Rich Coleman behind Media Scrum at Little Mountain, April 2013

Minister Rich Coleman behind Media Scrum at Little Mountain, April 2013

BTW, did anybody see any coverage of the event on the evening news? During a media scrum after the main event was over, the subject swiftly changed from Little Mountain to election politics, using the Little Mountain signage as the background. That blue-coloured background was visible in several election reports, but I did not find any coverage of the groundbreaking event on television.

ps: Vote for Little Mountain Stories web project at http://www.connectthedocs.ca/
Deadline for voting is Friday April 12, 2012 @ 9pm Pacific time.

follow me on Twitter @DavidVaisbord

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Housing Minister Rich Coleman to visit Little Mountain Today!

Hello Friends,

11:45 AM this morning (April 11th) is official groundbreaking for one new building at Little Mountain and Rich Coleman will be there! UNBELIEVABLE? Nobody can remember the last time they saw him at the project, if ever.

I’m going to be there by 11am with video camera to record Coleman, the first official appearance of the author of the destruction of Little Mountain Housing. What will he see when he casts his across the landscape. It’s hard to imagine. But not to dwell on negatives, he’s here to tell us the good news, that congratulations are in order for him and his friends, as they break ground on the building that the residents and community fought so hard for.

Yesterday I shot some footage of BC Housing, sprucing up the wasteland for today’s press conference. Here it is:

Sprucing up The Wasteland at Little Mountain from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

By the way, if you haven’t voted yet for my new web project: Little Mountain Stories, take a second and make a few clicks. If I get enough votes I’ll be able to pitch this project at the Hot Docs documentary festival in Toronto – it’s just a couple of clicks, but could mean a huge difference in getting exposure and FUNDING for this project.

Please vote, and please share!
Vote for little mountain stories web project at http://www.connectthedocs.ca/

More to come
David Vaisbord
Little Mountain Project

follow me on Twitter @DavidVaisbord

BANNER PHOTO: ASSEMBLED PRESS RECORD THE WORDS OF MINISTER RICH COLEMAN AT THE SOD TURNING CEREMONY, APRIL 11, 2013

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Little Mountain at City Hall: PART 2 of 2

Hello viewers,

This is the second half of the June 2012 Meeting where the Policy on Little Mountain was discussed in City Council Chambers.

City Hall meets Little Mountain June 2012: PART 2 from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

For those of you came to city hall to speak, who missed work, and patiently waited for your 5 minutes to arrive, this is your chance to see how well you did on camera. There are many view expressed here. Some of the speakers represent the Little Mountain Advisory Group, others come from sectors of the community who did not attend the meetings. Some are simply friends of the developer. The speakers list was open to whoever wanted to speak.
Kudos to everyone for PARTICIPATING. Politics is an exercise which (for the most part), takes place IN PUBLIC and IN PERSON.

David Vaisbord
Little Mountain Project
littlemountainproject.com

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