The NPA Team, including Mayoral Candidate John Coupar, City Councillor Melissa De Genova and City Council Candidate Arezo Zarrabian are disappointed by Vancouver City Council. Mayor Kennedy Stewart didn’t listen to the concerns of residents, parents, and experts and rammed through a new development for people with complex care needs without any requirements for appropriate support.
Hundreds of speakers presented to City Council, and many waited weeks to share their opinions, hoping the vote would reflect their vision for their community, including social and supportive housing for families in Kitsilano. The contentious development application proposes 129 units located between 7th and 8th Avenue on Arbutus Street in partnership between BC Housing, the City of Vancouver and a non-profit. BC Housing would not commit any level of care or staffing on-site for residents with complex care needs.
“Kitsilano is not against social housing, in fact, many neighbours spoke of their wishes for family-sized units to support families, reunite parents with their children, especially those with complex care needs.” Said Arezo Zarrabian, who lives in Kitsilano with her family. Working as a crime analyst in Metro Vancouver, Zarrabian believes the fears of speakers in the neighbourhood are founded.
“After the opening of a similar supportive housing project at 215 W 2nd, one that uses the same model as the proposed Kitsilano housing project, the rise in 911 calls went from 55 to 972. That’s a 1600% increase in emergency calls to police in the Olympic Village neighbourhood since the opening of the Marguerite Ford apartment building.
This jump of reported calls was in the first two years of opening and it has hovered around the high 800s for calls which was never the norm. Developments like this will impact the families in our neighbourhood.” Zarrabian said.
“Four schools and a toddler playground are located within 500 metres of the proposed housing site, with one school located against the street.”
Councillor Melissa De Genova who opposed the vote that passed 8-3 said “This is a sad day for Kitsilano, we need to make it easier and more affordable for families to live and work in Kitsilano and all Vancouver neighbourhoods.” De Genova notes the disappointment and concerns of speakers from Sancta Maria House, “There was an opportunity here to work together with BC Housing and the operator to include families and respect the work of Sancta Maria, the families at the schools nearby and the community. Instead, this Council felt the need to tell the community what is best for them, I know we can do better and that is why I voted against this proposal.”
The NPA Team would have preferred a referral back to staff or for Council to refuse this rezoning and instead consider building integrated social housing, including family housing, community consultation and input from emergency services, including the Vancouver Police Department.
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