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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Heather Place learns lessons from Little Mountain travesty

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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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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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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David Chudnovsky Addresses Mayor and Council in support of Tenants of Last Building

Last week, following the screening of “The Eviction of Sammy and Joan” in Council Chambers on October 3rd, 2012. Mr. Chudnovsky spoke to the subject of the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing Affordability.

Chudnovsky spoke to Task Force Recommendation 3, which aims to “Protect existing non-profit, social and co-operative housing that may be under threat and continue to protect the affordable market rental stock using the community planning process to focus on strategies to repair, renew and expand the stock neighbourhood by neighbourhood.”

David Chudnovsky at City Hall October 2012 from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

In view of Vancouver City Council’s own recommendations, Chudnovsky suggested that Council take 3 specific actions.

1. To take a public stand against the eviction. To make a MOTION, expressing your opposition to the eviction, and pass it unanimously, today.

2. To use your influence with BCHousing and the Government of British Columbia, to rescind the eviction notices.

3. To use the rezoning and regulatory powers of the City of Vancouver to encourage the proposed developer to rescind the eviction notices.

Will the MOTION based on his suggestions ever be written and passed?

With the spectre of the October 29th TENANCE HEARING hanging over the tenants heads, it will be interesting to see if this Mayor and Council takes any action. It must be noted that in some circles, this Mayor and Council are perceived to be in the pockets of Vancouver developers. If that is the case, any hint of saying “NEVER AGAIN” to developer aspirations — such as the ones that demolished the community at Little Mountain Housing — may be perceived as “ANTI-DEVELOPER.”

What do you think?

We’re waiting to see what happens next.

David Vaisbord
The Little Mountain Project.

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Oil tank removal at Little Mountain

The last of 3 heating oil tanks were lifted out of the ground last week at Little Mountain, completing the sold remediation process at Little Mountain. This was routine business. Thousands of tanks are removed by Vancouver home owners each year in accordance with environmental regulations.

Watch the short video here:

Oil Tank Removal at Little Mountain – August 2012 from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

All three were removed in a day without incident.
Environmental testing of the soil samples takes 2 weeks.

Drilling machinery was seen on site this week. Groundwater testing is the next phenomenon to occur at Little Mountain – a full 18 months early – if necessary at all. (which is doubtful)

Following the logic of the BC Ministry of Housing, it must pay somehow, to destroy communities earlier, rather than later. One must assume that if the deal between Holborn and the BC Liberals can be finalized early, and Holborn can be forced to PAY UP, then the Liberals will have some cash to throw at the debt, or other social housing committments they have reneged upon etc. etc. prior to the rapidly approaching B.C. ELECTIONS.

David Vaisbord
Little Mountain Project

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Meeting #27 Little Mountain OPEN HOUSE Analysis (Heading to CITY COUNCIL)

Little Mountain Redevelopment
Meeting #27
The OPEN HOUSE Analysis
February 28, 2012 (an intense meeting)

Heading to City Council:
The finish line has been tentatively set for June 27, 2012. That’s the date when the Little Mountain Advisory Committee, the City of Vancouver planning department, the Holborn Group, and You make your thoughts known to Vancouver City Council about the deliberations of the past 2 and a half years. At the meeting the planning department will present a policy statement on the current plans, for the approval of City Council. If approved, the policy statement will guide the future rezoning process at the Little Mountain site. The rezoning process (up to a year or more in duration) will include public and legal processes.

I will post exact details regarding time and date as I receive them from the planning department or you can click here to find them yourself.

Since January I’ve written a thesis on documentary filmmaking and new media, and as a result, postings to this blog were sporadic. But it’s written, and now time to concentrate on this process.

The series of meetings titled “HEADING TO CITY COUNCIL” represent the FINAL POSITIONS of each of the three groups as they head to Council. You will find them here, starting at number twenty-seven. So far there have been 34 meetings. Number 33, the Design Panel is already up.


Meeting 27 is a good one to start with, because it was the first meeting to follow the OPEN HOUSES of January 2012. The North of 33rd Avenue citizens’ group had not attended any previous Advisory Committee Meetings and were in a state of understandable shock when they saw Holborn’s Model for the first time. They were so upset that they called their own press conference. They brought a considerable amount of drama to the meeting, most of which was warranted — some of which was due to the fact that they had not participated in the process and were not up to speed with the program. Nevertheless, in subsequent meetings they have proven themselves to be an asset.

So, WELCOME to the Advisory Group, North of 33rd residents!!!

And a note of caution to communities in Vancouver: Attend your public meetings or else…

The statistics presented in Meeting #27 are important and warrant close analysis. Meeting #28 (uploading next week) looks at them again with respect to postal codes, and correlations are made between distance from the site and opinions expressed.

I have produced 4 videos from that evening:
1. A 12 minute CLIP of highlights from the entire meeting.
2. The Heritage Report on the last standing building
3. The Complete Meeting including the Heritage Report & Open House report.
4. The 1 minute Global Television Report that was broadcast the same evening.


The Heritage Report
Donald Luxton gives a thorough analysis of the heritage value of the last remaining row house on the site, and historical background on the history of social housing in Vancouver. It’s essential information for anyone interested in the history of social unrest around housing issues in this city.

In addition, Global Television did a decent job of covering the evening event. CBC News was also there, but I did not catch their broadcast.

David Vaisbord
littlemountainproject.com

Little Mountain Neighbourhood resident speaks to TV News on February 28, 2012.

Little Mountain Neighbourhood resident speaks to TV News on February 28, 2012.

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Meeting #20 Modern Architecture slide show, UBC students & Massing exercise number ONE

Meeting #20, was the first major “massing’ meeting of 2011.

This posting will have THREE PARTS, starting with the first part,
UBC Students show their ideas for re-development in a pre-meeting event:

UBC Student ideas for Little Mountain – Meeting #20 from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

The second part is James Chengs Modern Architecture Slide Show:

Meeting 20: James Cheng’s Architecture Slide Show from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

The third part is the complete meeting:

Meeting #20 – Complete Meeting from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

Meetings 20 and 21 were formative community discussions on density at Little Mountain — without prior knowledge of the Holborn Group density plans.

The re-development of Vancouver is not a spectator sport.

Littlemountainproject.com

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OPEN HOUSE 2012: The Video

For those who couldn’t attend, here’s two nights of recording combined into an eight minute clip:

Little Mountain Open House Jan 26 & 28 2012 from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

Don’t forget to send your feedback to the city on line until FEBRUARY 10, 2012.
Check the Little Mountain site at Vancouver Planning for images of information boards presented at the Open Houses. Click on THIS LINK to got to ONLINE SURVEY.

Canal St East side - Little Mountain models

Canal St West side - Little Mountain models

A Tower Concentration in proposed development

Note: Click on the images to enlarge; then, click on “Full Size is 1440×1080” caption to go to maximum dimensions.

Little Mountain development at 37th and Ontario

Little Mountain development at 33rd and Ontario

Important to remember that an estimated 700 cars per hour will exit and enter from the site at rush hours, the traffic you see in this photo is the average flow at approx. 2am Sunday nights. A neighbour who works in childcare asked me yesterday, if the amenities, such as daycare, for preschool and after-school care especially, are in place for a development of this size? As a member of the Advisory Committee who has been to every meeting, I answered no. She has promised to attend a meeting.

Here’s a brief quote, as we contemplate the future of Vancouver, from a sociologist, named Robert Park:

“The city is man’s most consistent and, on the whole, his most successful
attempt to remake the world he lives in, more after his heart’s desire. The
city is the world which man created; it is the world in which he is
therefore condemned to live. Thus indirectly, without a clear sense of the
nature of his task, in remaking the city, man has remade himself.”

If you want to know more about cities and neoliberalism here’s a link to an interesting talk given by economist David Harvey in 2007 titled:
Neoliberalism and the City.

The Little Mountain Project

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Open House 2012: Bigger turnout on DAY 2

The Open House on Saturday January 28, 2012 had an even bigger turnout than the first night. Here are a few photos from the successful 3-hour event. I’ll put up more detailed photos of the development up when I upload THE VIDEO next week.

Don’t forget to send your feedback to the city on line until FEBRUARY 10.
Check the Little Mountain site at Vancouver Planning for images of information boards presented at the Open Houses. Click on THIS LINK to got to ONLINE SURVEY. Of course, watch the short video of the last meeting prior to the Open House HERE, before you sign anything.

Note: Click on the images to enlarge; then, click on “Full Size is 1440×1080” caption to go to maximum dimensions.

Entrance to Little Mountain on Main street showing proposed community square

As densities and towers rise around it, this community square gets smaller. Previous versions of this model had a much larger community space.

City Signage for Little Mountain Open House

Little Mountain community members greet public and hand out information at the door

Public Scrutiny of Little Mountain FSR 2.8 model

A large screen creates virtual tour through Little Mountain

Developer Speaks to Press about Little Mountain Plans

Little Mountain community members discuss options

Below are the handouts that community members hand-delivered to hundreds of houses in the neighbourhood.

click to enlarge

Many more detailed images of the models, and commentary to come….

Cheers,
David Vaisbord
Self appointed documentary filmmaker in residence
Little Mountain

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Meeting #26 Heading to OPEN HOUSE 2012 – It’s HOT in here.

Little Mountain Development
Meeting #26
December 2011


1. Meeting #26 — The 10 minute highlights clip.

GET INFORMED prior to the Little Mountain OPEN HOUSES, scheduled for next week – info at the bottom of this posting.

The Holborn Group’s Final Submission to the Community
I’ve connected 2 videos to this posting, which are as follows:

1. A ten-minute Highlights video – watch this for a quick overview.
2. The complete two-hour public meeting.

PLEASE NOTE: If you’ve watched the 10-minute clip, and want to hear more of what the community has to say about this development, start viewing at roughly the one-hour mark. Highlights of the complete 2-hour meeting are listed further down this page.


2. Meeting #26 — The Full two-hour meeting.

Escalating tension and conflict.

Was there any doubt, when this whole thing began more than 2 year ago, that in the end the developer would be wanting massive density levels at Little Mountain? It only took them 2 years to get around to mentioning it. To their credit Vancouver planning department have their own criticisms of the Holborn proposal, and appear to be listening to the public throughout.

Model of Fsr 2.8 - for THIS Open House


Model Preview Photos
You will not find photos of these models anywhere else but here, prior to the Open House. So take a good look at them before you attend the Open House. The top of each building has a sticker that indicates the number of stories.

Images at left: Top image is the FSR 2.7 from the July 2011 Open Houses. Lower image is the FSR 2.8 (Higher density) proposed in the presentation destined for the upcoming Open House. Click on them to see greater magnification and then chose Full Size.

Note that FSR 2.8 in this new model, though higher density than FSR 2.7 accomplishes this by slightly lowering building heights, and reducing green space between the buildings. Top height is 14 stories on Ontario street, which is two stories higher than Queen Elizabeth Park. To put FSR 2.7 into context link to Density Models – The Movie! which I shot after the July 2011 Open House, when 6 density models were presented, from the base concept at 1.45 to the developer’s dream density of 3.25 FSR. According to an independent financial analyst (Meeting #23 Part 2) FSR 2.25 should be sufficient to ensure financial success of the project.

Special guest at this meeting was city councillor Adriane Carr, (Green Party). We hope that she came away with some new insights. Joo Kim Tiah (The Holborn Group President – who makes a rare speaking appearance here) has stated his intention to take this plan before City Hall.

Projected view from duck pond at QE Park

Also, check out this Mainlander New article about Meeting #26 at this URL: http://themainlander.com/2011/12/12/little-mountain-why-the-struggle-for-social-housing-is-more-pressing-now-than-ever/

Connect to the The City of Vancouver’s Little Mountain Site Planning Program, and their NOTICE OF THE OPEN HOUSES.

Here are some of the MAJOR TOPICS and HIGHLIGHTS of Meeting #26 (complete two-hour meeting) and where to find them:

00:02 – Joo Kim Tiah explains why iconic Social Housing defender James Green resigned from The Holborn Group.

00:07 – Ben Johnson briefly discusses the pocket of single family residences to the North and East of Little Mountain (bordered by Main and 33rd) known as the NE Quadrant, and plans to integrate them into the larger development plan. Ben goes on to give short overview, interesting if you’ve never heard it before.

00:10 – Johnson explains the consequences of a “disconnect” between where the community wants to be, and where Holborn wants to be — it will go to City Council.

00:12 – Johnson answers question: “How far is this plan from the community vision?” You can find out for yourself by viewing Meeting #25, the analysis of public opinion gathered from the last July 2011 Open House.

Little Mountain Redevelopment: Meeting #25 Public Comments Analysed from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

00:14 – Architect James Cheng presents overview of the last 2 years. If you’re new to this process you may want to review this. Cites the Stanley King process, viewable at Meeting#1 The Stanley King Experience (short version) and Long Version.

00:24 – Cheng suggests that the Community Advisory Committee accept responsibility for the hardship of the former residents of Little Mountain, who have been waiting 2 years to return to their homes – since the BC Gov’t demolished them. Translation: “Hurry up and approve this development.” Also see David Chudnovsky (1:02).

00:26 – Cheng suggest that saving trees on the site preserves the “memory” of the site as the first major social housing project constructed in British Columbia. Also see Ingrid Steenhuisen on memory (1:09).

00:33 – Christopher Phillips landscape presentation – green elements.

00:40 – Traffic projections on the new site plan – only for people who drive.

00:46 – Views of Models and Presentation materials – take a look at ‘em. Put them into context by linking to Density Models – The Movie! which I shot after the July 2011 Open House, when 6 density models were presented. You’ll understand what densites of 1.45 to 3.25 FSR look like.

Little Mountain Redevelopment: Density Models – The Movie! from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

00:48 – Pat St. Michel presents the planning department’s critique of plan. Lot’s of height – no daylight.

1:00 – Neighbour comments on shadow impacts, and that presentation materials only show March, but not December shadows. Say goodbye to the sun.

1:02 – Former MLA David Chudnovsky makes compelling arguments for the rejection of the plan and the developer, owing to absurdly high density, lack of affordability and transparency. Among other things, he refutes James Cheng’s plea for the suffering of the ex-tenants. (00:24). He reminds the assembly that it was his community that fought long and hard against the premature demolition, and that the responsibility for the suffering of former residents should be borne by those who destroyed it: the Liberal Government of British Columbia and The Holborn Group.

1:09 – Ingrid Steenhuisen (Little Mountain project resident) asks why memory of the housing complex – in the form of the preservation of the last building currently standing on the Little Mountain site – has not been thoroughly investigated. A rebuttal to Cheng’s idea that tree preservation is sufficient. (00:26)

1:13 – RPSC’s Norm Dooley, makes compelling arguments for the rejection of the plan and the developer citing lack of sustainability on any level. In particular, he contrasts the Holborn plan to similar successful re-developments across Vancouver which densified — within reasonable limits. Norm mentions Arbutus Walk, which was toured by the Advisory Committee in 2010 and viewable on Vimeo at Meeting #15 Arbutus Walk – Touring a major housing site.

Little Mountain Redevelopment: Meeting #15 Arbutus Walk – Touring a major housing site – Low Res/Standard Def from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

1:22 – Ned Jacobs challenges the notion that there will be sufficient civic amenities to service a project of this scale, owing to current overcrowding at the new Hillcrest centre.

1:26 – Community member recalls the past 2 years of meetings, and reminds the architect that the community has waited for 2 years for him to lay down his cards with respect to the scale and scope of the project. She argues that the community has come a long way to accepting higher density, but that the scale of the proposal is impossible to accept.

1:42 – Community members suggest that community and developer may part company.
_________________________________________________________________

Little Mountain Public Open Houses:
Thursday Jan 26 @7pm – 9pm
Saturday Jan 28 @11am – 2pm
Brock Elementary School – 4860 Main street (at 33rd Ave)

_________________________________________________________________

David Vaisbord
Self-appointed documentary filmmaker-in-residence.
Little Mountain Community

Note: If you have questions about FSR and the economic arguments mentioned in discussion please view Meeting #23 – PART 2 The Economic Analysis in this video series. In this meeting, the independent financial analyst identifies FSR 2.25 as being sufficient for the developer to make a profit, and public amenities to be constructed. Watch it here:

Little Mountain Redevelopment: Meeting#23 – PART 2 The Economic Analysis from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

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Meeting #25 The Summer 2011 Open House Analysis

Meeting #25
(Little Mountain Neighbourhood House Sept. 20, 2011)
The Analysis of Comment Forms from the July 2011 Open Houses

This thumbnail photo below, is a graph that shows strong community opposition to an element of Holborn’s (the developer) July 2011 site plans.

Little Mountain Redevelopment: Meeting #25 The Community Voice & the July 2011 Open Houses from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

Note: If the size of this video image is too small, by clicking on any of the blue highlighted links above you will connect with my VIMEO site, which allows you to chose from a wide variety of screen sizes.

If you were one of the 500 people who attended Little Mountain’s July 2011 Open Houses, you have to watch this presentation. Here you will find some of the results of the Comment Forms YOU FILLED OUT resolved into easy-to-read graphic representation. Much to think about.

In the second part of the video the architect, James Cheng gives the committee a lecture on density and our growing city. He warns the group that the proposal that received the highest approval rating – the lowest density proposal – will never be built. Mr Cheng states that Holborn Properties would rather “walk away” from the housing project.

So where do we go from here? Does the community’s aspirations for this property match those of the developer, or will they always be at odds? And why did Jim Green, one of Vancouver’s most notable social housing advocates, recently resign as Holborn Properties’ representative for this project? Mr. Green appears at this meeting but does not address the group. I wonder if he will return to the project as an independent observer or participant?

James Cheng promises to go back to the drawing board, and come with new ideas as soon as (rumour has it) the end of November, so MORE COMMUNITY MEMBERS need to come out to the next meeting. Big decisions ahead!


Here’s more interviews from the Open House not previously uploaded to this site, including voices of a couple of visitors to the Open House, the architect, and an urban planner.


And if you haven’t seen it yet, don’t forget to watch my favourite video from OPEN HOUSE 2011.

I’m looking for fresh ideas on how to include more community voices into this web-based project. If you are interested in sharing your opinions by appearing on video, on this site, email me at vaisbord@gmail.com and we can talk about where and when we can record it.

Please leave your comments below.
littlemountainproject.com

Best,
David Vaisbord

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Little Mountain Redevelopment: Meeting #1 // The Stanley King Experience

Meeting #1
The Stanley King Experience
Originally Experienced: Feb 3, 2010

In the words of the immortal Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein ll: “Let’s start at the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start…”

In recent meetings of the Advisory Committee I’ve heard a tone that mixes exhaustion and authority in the voice of architect James Cheng, when he proclaims that: “We’ve been meeting for a year and half…!” And he’s right. The community knows that – they’ve attended all of them, unpaid. The community also attended both Open Houses in June of this year, and the reaction to the density models was unanimously negative. I’ll link to the charts in the next posting. But let’s get back to the beginning…

In February of 2010, the community of Little Mountain came out on mass, put aside preconceptions or prejudices, and 3 hours of their time to engage in a workshop led by Stanley King. The ideas generated were fresh and inspiring. 20% of those ideas were incorporated into the architects current (July 2011) plans. The other 80% vanished. What was the point of that exercise?

WHERE CAN YOU FIND THE RESULTS OF THAT MEETING?
Right Here. I’ve provided a link to the City of Vancouver website: Little Mountain Site Design Workshop hosted by Stanley King
You just won’t see most of these images and comments mentioned anywhere else. That’s why I’ve subtitled the short clip “the feel-good exercise”.

The exercise was one of documenting “community values” which were to become the “performance criteria” of the developer’s vision as reflected through the work of the architect. Stanley King urged us to: Look at OUR drawings, compare them to the ones James Cheng is NOW showing us and ask, “how did he incorporate our drawings into his housing plan?”

To take one example: Where are the community gardens? Even the Olympic Village now has a community garden.

Below, is the 2 short minute clip. You can access the longer 20 minute version of Meeting #1 by clicking on this link.

Little Mountain Redevelopment: Meeting #1 The Stanley King Experience! from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

Best,
David Vaisbord
Filmmaker
Little Mountain Housing

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Little Mountain Redevelopment: Meeting #23 // The Tipping Point

This Little Mountain Advisory Committee meeting is particularly important to an understanding of the planning process, prior to the official Summer 2011 Open Houses. WHAT EXACTLY IS GOING ON*** with those density models can be answered by watching the 3-part series below. I’ve divided the meeting into three essential subjects for your viewing pleasure.

***How the developer’s proposed density models went from sane to insanely dense.

This is how they divide:

Part 1: The Density Reaction.
Deals with the community’s first reaction to density models.

Part 2: The Economic Analysis.
The redevelopment economics of Little Mountain is essential viewing for anyone living in the most expensive city in the world, and surprisingly easy to understand. Learn essential city planner jargon such as “land lift”. Compliments to Mr. Blair Erb of Coriolis Consulting for a compelling performance.

Part 3: A Memorandum to the Community of Little Mountain.
The architect reads the “Memorandum of Understanding” (signed by Mayor Sullivan in 1997). Floor opens up under participants. Warning: Watching this last act of the series may raise your blood pressure!

Make sure you’ve watched part 2 (financial analysis) before you watch this one. The question arises: Will Holborn Development, with the implicit support of the Liberal government force another 1000 units onto the Little Mountain site (condo heights will rise from 8 stories to 18 stories) to “PAY” for the replacement of pre-existing social housing? Housing that was GUARANTEED by the provincial government and BC Housing as a “GIVEN” owing to its destruction in the first instance?

The community takes a collective gasp, but the story has not yet reached its climax. Hold onto your seats for the surprise ending!

Note: Next week I’ll post the First Meeting of the Advisory Committee, in which the community was asked what the wanted to see in the redevelopment plans. It all began with the Stanley King Experience…

David Vaisbord

THE MEETINGS:

 

Little Mountain Redevelopment: Meeting#23 – PART 1 The Density Reaction from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

Little Mountain Redevelopment: Meeting#23 – PART 2 The Economic Analysis from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

Little Mountain Redevelopment: Meeting#23 PART 3 – A Memorandum To the Community of Little Mountain from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

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Little Mountain Density Models: The Movie!

OK.

Here are the density models you’ve asked for. I’ve shot the 7 density models in sequence, from 7 different angles. After watching this video 7 times you’ll be ready to fill out the survey you received at one of the Open Houses or found HERE, on line. And check out all of the photographs of Open House Presentation Materials also. Just make sure that the City of Vancouver Major Projects Planning dept. gets it by July 25th!

DID ANYONE NOTICE, that there’s something seriously wrong about the scale of the trees on the model? I mean, how many trees along 33rd Avenue are 8 stories tall? An error of this kind, makes the size of the buildings appear much smaller.

Also, David Chudnovsky has informed us that the planning department’s PDF is non-interactive. Check out his comments on this blog. I discovered that it’s also non-printable. I suggest, that you email The City and ask them to repost the survey as an 8.5 x 11 inch document, so that’s print, scan and fax ready by standard business machines.

UPDATE!
Ben Johnson has posted an 8X10 PDF on their site, that functions adequately, though it does cut a few pages in half. But I think that you can figure it out.
Get those surveys in.

Best,
David V

7 models, 7 angles, 7 minutes.

Little Mountain Redevelopment: Density Models – The Movie! from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

Little Mountain Housing – New computer simulation from David Vaisbord on Vimeo.

You probably watched this computer simulation of a walk through the site. Here it is again.

ACTUALLY, to Click on “FOLLOW ME” (at the top-right of this web-page) does not automatically keep you informed of new postings. You need to set up RSS (Really Simple Syndication) on your own computer. Click on this link for a YouTube video about it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0klgLsSxGsU
The beginning of the video is sort of hokey, but it more or less explains why and how it exists, and why you should have it. Setting up something like Google Reader is simple and free. There are dozens of info sites on RSS feeds on the web.

David Vaisbord

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Last Open House (2011) is tonight!

Welcome to The Little Mountain Project,

The Last Open House for Little Mountain is TONIGHT (Tues July 12) at the Riley Park Community Centre from 5:30 – 8:30 pm. The city planning department wants YOU to look at 6 plans that the developer has proposed. Check out what one neighbour said to me after seeing the plans.

You may not share her views, but you have to attend in order to have an opinion. Right? I’ll be there with my camera, and IF you would like, we could talk about Little Mountain. By the end of the week I’ll stream those clips.

Holborn plays Little Mountain demo video at the Open House.

Holborn plays Little Mountain demo video at the Open House.


David Vaisbord
Filmmaker
Little Mountain Community Resident

NOTE:  This post is the 2nd blog post of my new blog.    Check out my first post below for some important short video clips from the last Advisory Meeting, and links to other current info.

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Welcome to the Little Mountain Project – a documentary video streaming site.

Welcome to The Little Mountain Project.

This is the premiere of my documentary video streaming site.
Call it what you like, a blog, a webisodic web-doc, whatever. It’s all part of the evolution of the documentary film, and definitions don’t matter any longer.

I’ve been a documentary filmmaker for 20 years, and I’ve been shooting a documentary film on the Little Mountain Housing Project since 2008. I felt it was time to release the tapes of the Advisory Committee Meetings I’ve been shooting since 2009. BECAUSE, the months of work that the community, architects and planners have put into the project are now bearing FRUIT. What KIND of fruit it’s up to you to decide. Vancouver is your city too, not just the private sandbox of developers and real estate speculators. It’s time to jump into the box. So watch the clips and videos, and then ATTEND the next Little Mountain Advisory Committee meeting! All videos are also viewable on VIMEO. Google “Vimeo” + “Vaisbord”.

The next OPEN HOUSE DATE IS TUESDAY JULY 12, 5:30PM TO 8:30PM. In the Riley Park Community Centre Gym.

Click on “Video Streaming” to watch entire Advisory Committee meetings. I am constantly adding more meetings to the list. Meeting #10 is a good place to start, as the community clearly states its position, and the cut is only 45 minutes in length. Less than the average TV show!

On the subjects of DENSITY and MONEY, I’m in the process of uploading short Q&A CLIPS*** of the most important Q&A commentary from the last big meeting on June 28th, 2011, prior to the current open houses. The clips are just below. They’re very short, and give you a glimpse into the issues.

Question asked: The lowest density model is missing. Where is it?

I call this clip “We are completely screwed” because that’s how some members of the Little Mountain advisory council feel – especially those whose homes are directly across roads or laneways. If you were at the Open House on Saturday afternoon (July 9) what you saw would have strongly reminded you of the Olympic Village. Check out my video of the tour of “Arbutus Walk”, to see a gentler form of community architecture played out.

Complete your understanding of this process by viewing these Websites, Blogs, and PDFs:

City of Vancouver Planning Department

DENSITY 101 – A primer in which the term FSR -FLOOR SPACE RATIO is demystified.

RPSC – Riley Park South Cambie Visions – A core community group who organized Meeting #10

City Hall Watch – for photos and some analysis of the first Open House.

Ned Jacob’s post on Michael Geller’s blog

Thomas Thomson’s Thesis on Little Mountain.

I welcome your comments.

Best,
David Vaisbord

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