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.

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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