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Media Release: Community Concerns Ignored Again

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When the city council stops listening, voters need to speak up even louder at election time: Cheryl Grant, Kitsilano Coalition.

Vancouver, BC (July 27, 2022): The community-based Kitsilano Coalition says it is deeply disappointed that Vancouver city council has approved BC Housing’s proposal for W7/W8th and Arbutus, even though 90 percent of almost 300 registered speakers at the public hearing were opposed, including experts: Dr. Julian Somers of SFU, retired judge Tom Gove, and the team from the adjacent Sancta Maria women’s recovery home.

“The BC Housing proposal is a failed model. The experts spoke clearly to that point, but the mayor and the councillors who supported this rezoning settled, instead of demanding something better for the community and future residents,” noted Cheryl Grant, a spokesperson for the Kitsilano Coalition. “City council had the chance to send this proposal back to the City staff, but they decided to accept it. Everyone loses when BC Housing threatens communities and pressures City Councils as happened here.”

“BC Housing’s CEO, Shane Ramsey, stated the feedback of the residents was “NIMBYism” based on ‘ignorance’,” adds Cheryl Grant. “It is clear BC Housing’s lack of interest in meaningful community engagement or consideration for children, and existing non-profits in the area, was driven from the top down.”    

Karen Finnan, a spokesperson for the Coalition, said mayor and council were given the facts, and they decided to ignore them and the community.

“BC Housing and city staff provided misleading information and will not confirm questions about tenants, services or many key details about the project, until it has been approved,” added Finnan. “Would a for-profit developer get away with that approach? When you’re a citizen who feels like you haven’t been heard, it means you have to speak louder at election time. The local community met with the Councillors, MLAs and MPs who choose to ignore the voices of their constituents. Our local representatives had the chance to work with an engaged community to build housing for the most vulnerable in BC, but instead they have ignored the experts and the voters.”

The Kitsilano Coalition thanks the thousands of neighbours who wrote and spoke to council, as well as Councillor De Genova, Councillor Hardwick and Councillor Kirby-Yung, who stood up for Vancouverites and a better project.