Meeting Notes: January 2017

We had another great turnout for our first meeting of the year last night, and we managed to cover a great deal of ground.

  • Eric began with his regular What’s Happening in the Neighbourhood review
    • The Cultch’s Green House on Venables appears to be occupied now after an excellent program of renovation and restoration;
    • The old Bottle collection building on the corner of William and Victoria is now partially demolished and the structure cab be seen as being constructed on concrete blocks;
    • It was noted that a large land assembly has been achieved at 11th & Victoria;
    • The continuing fine restoration work at 765 Victoria was noted;
    • Excavation seems to have started down at the old Iron Works;
    • The buildings at the old Bosa store at 540 Victoria, the condos opposite, and the Co-Housing development at 1st ad Victoria are all proceeding quickly;
    • the stumps for the trees removed at Grandview Park have now been ground down.
  • We discussed the potential for land assembly and development in the 1800-block westside of Commercial Drive (the Wonderbucks building) and Jak gave a brief history of the two buildings. It was agreed we should celebrate the history of the Wonderbucks building if it is threatened with demolition;
  • We reviewed the first proposal for the wording on the plaque to be placed at 1550 Graveley, site of the oldest house in Grandview. More editing required. There was also some discussion regarding grants for heritage restoration;
  • Following on from this discussion, and the fact that the house used to sit where a gas station stood for decades after, we had a long and interesting discussion about contamination in lots that were gas stations, dry cleaners, etc.;
  • After discussions with Via Tevere and acceptance of a budget of $1,025, it was agreed we will remediate the Shelley’s sign. Victoria will be the artist, with assistance by Michael and Penny. The work to start when the weather settles;
  • We noted once again the continuing decline of the physical fabric at Brookhouse, 1870 Parker. There seems to be a dispute as to whether the City or the developer is causing the delays;
  • We briefly looked at the “temporary social housing” being installed at Main and Terminal;
  • We have been unable to secure a student this year from UBC Geography/History. We offered two possible topics for study (the 1979/1980 Community Plan process; and, GWAC in the 1970s) but neither were picked up. We will look for opportunities next year;
  • Neville reported on continuing developments at St Francis of Assisi and their desire to build a bigger and better school on Wilga gardens. There will be an open community meeting in the church hall, 2021 Napier, at 7pm on February 2nd;
  • It was noted that Wednesday 25th January is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Grandview Woodland Area Council;
  • Johhn raised the possibility of a federal tax incentive for retention of heritage homes. We look forward to more details later.

Update:  Re-examined research notes corrects the GWAC anniversary to Oct 25th rather than January 25th. My apologies for the error.

 

Our Racist Past

Ninety-eight years ago today, the Grandview Chamber of Commerce, supported by the Grandview Ratepayers Association, held

“an enthusiastic gathering of merchants and prominent men of the district, gathered to unite their efforts to drive out of the district of Grandview the Oriental … Speakers said they did not want Grandview to be overrun with Orientals, and they intended to see that it was not … Efforts are being made to induce the real estate dealers and owners who have already rented their premises to Orientals to give them notice to vacate, otherwise the names of those preferring a few dollars to the welfare of their district will be made public” – World 1919 Jan 14, p.12

It is often hard to interpret history without using the guiding views of our own age. It has to be remembered that discrimination against the Chinese, Japanese, and others was rampant throughout BC in 1919 across all classes and political beliefs. Less than a dozen years earlier, Vancouver had witnessed huge riots against immigration and the Komagata Maru incident was only five years before.

From today’s perspective, most of us would find this unacceptable. But in 1919?

Townsend & Townsend

Here is an interesting post from Scout magazine about the architects Townsend & Townsend and the “diapering” design they became known for during the golden age of Vancouver building before the First World War.

Although they are not mentioned in the article, the Drive has three Townsend & Townsend buildings, none of which have the famous design.  In fact, only one – the Alvarado Block on the corner of Commercial & Graveley — is in the their usual block style. The other two — 1511-1517 where the Shoppers Drug Store now is, and Joe’s Cafe — are very different creatures.

Good to know more about these folks.

 

Character House Review

To assist with some important work between now and the next GHG meeting, why not join Caroline Adderson in studying the City’s proposals for “character houses.”  Here is what Caroline has to say:

I just want to make sure you all know about the Character Home Rezoning review open houses which are winding up next week.  Rezoning is powerful tool that could save some of our remaining original housing stock; we only have 24% of it left.  In short, the reason these beautiful, enduring houses are being destroyed is that the lot they stand on is zoned for a bigger house.  Reduce the size of the new build, then the folks looking for a redevelopment site may look elsewhere, as currently happens in our RT zones.  As an added incentive to retain, and to balance the economics, the city proposes to offer “extras” for retention in the form of additions, infill, extra suites, etc.

The details of the open houses are below.  You can also fill out the survey on-line, though the implications of what they are asking are not always clear.  I found it helpful to be able to ask questions of staff in person.  There are also PDFs on the website to refer to.

Here are two recent articles that you may also find informative:

http://vancouversun.com/opinion/opinion-city-hall-must-act-quickly-to-save-vancouver-heritage-homes
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/real-estate/stop-the-clear-cut/article33052442/

It is crucial that the public support these changes or they will not happen.  Please, please, please participate.  Feel free to share this email with concerned friends.  No need to reply to this email.

Sincerely,

Caroline Adderson

Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, 5 – 9 pm 
PNE Hastings Room, 2901 East Hastings St. (Gate 2, Forum Gate)
 
Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, 5 – 9 pm 
Town Hall Hellenic Centre, 4500 Arbutus St

ONLINE SURVEY FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO JOIN THE MAILING LIST
A survey will also be available on our website starting November 21. vancouver.ca/characterhomereview

Soundscapes

This morning I received the following email from BC Studies: The British Columbian Quarterly regarding a call for soundscapes and associated materials. I thought it would be of interest to some readers:

“BC Studies: The British Columbian Quarterly is seeking sound clips, soundscapes, or other types of audio accompanied by a written component (article, essay, poem, story, etc.). Contributions will be peer reviewed and published online and in print. They should engage with sound studies, anthropology of sound, musicology, ethnomusicology, urban studies, storytelling, communication or any other disciplines / approaches that engage with the topic of sound. Projects may be approached from various perspectives (environmental activism, phenomenological, historical, sociological, political, ethical, etc.) and through various forms (narrative, storytelling, sounds of the environment, noises, urban sounds, etc.). Sound clips may be submitted in raw and/or processed form(s). Yet, they should all be connected to sonic expressions, phenomenon and explorations in/about/of British Columbia.

Sonic components (wav. format) will be published on our Soundcloud page. Written components (max 1500-2000 words) should relate directly to the soundscape(s) / sound clip(s) submitted.

Please send questions and submissions to Dr. Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier (alexbf@uvic.ca).

 

BC Studies: The British Columbian Quarterly http://ojs.library.ubc.ca/index.php/bcstudies

Meeting Notes: November

Another good gathering last Thursday, and more fascinating discussions.

  • We looked at various property assemblies being created in the south end of the neighbourhood; we also noted the falling state of the RE market; and then we were still surprised to find 1976 still priced at less than $1 million;
  • There was a fine discussion regarding the plans for the lot immediately behind the Florida Building/. It appears that what the developer wants is so close to what is already allowed that it is small change in exchange for guaranteeing the protection of the Florida Building itself,
  • It was noted a potential good use had been found for the Urban Empire storefront at 1108 Commercial which has now been vacant for more than three years. Unfortunately the agent listing the property has not returned any messages.
  • Eric reported on the renovations being made to the heritage apartment building at Adanac and Victoria;
  • There has been some, though slow, progress on the Bosa Building on Victoria;
  • The Shelly’s sign at Victoria & Williams which GHG salvaged some years ago, is now showing signs of disrepair and weather damage. Between now and the spring when the work could be done, Penny, Michael, & Victoria O., will come up with a repair plan and budget;
  • The replacement heritage plaque that we have at the sign is also in the process of being replaced and improved to better stand up to the UV damage;
  • We looked at the twin heritage houses at 1962 and 1968 Turner. Both built by Joseph Barlow with building permits dated 1912 but still vacant at time of Goad’s map at the end of that year. They were, I assume, built in 1913 when Barlow was building other houses on Turner and Harris Streets.
  • We examined the deterioration of vacant building during this winter. Brookhouse, for example (process delays), and 2145 Parker (no known reason);
  • Eric showed some information on the Haney Brick Works, from which came many of the bricks used in Grandview;
  • Future events noted included:
    • Open house re: Safeway site (11/19)
    • VHS lecture on the Kits Indian Reserve (11/24)
    • Open houses for Community Plan zoning (11/26 and 11/30)
    • Vancouver Heritage Christmas Party (12/6)
    • VHS lecture on Civic Politics (1/26)