The Battle For Mount Pleasant

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The stage is set, tonight at city hall the battle for Mount Pleasant will take place. In one corner you have the NIMBY’s, RAMP (Residents Association of Mount Pleasant). In the other corner you have the developer, Rize Alliance. At 7:30pm the two will duke it out in a verbal war, one that will set the tone for future battles. One side will remain civil as they juke and jive to get to the end, the other will probably shout incessantly demonizing the other, throwing nonsensical jab after jab. Ultimately, the fate will lie in the hands of the judges as the future of Mount Pleasant is at stake.

The fight is over Rize Alliance’s proposed development on Kingsway and Broadway, a corner that has been designated by the city as a site for higher density. This is something that sooner or later we need to see more of take place outside of downtown.  The harsh reality is that mid-rise development needs to be brought to most of Kingsway and other main streets in the city. The project is not perfect but it isn’t exactly high density either, but that’s not what RAMP would lead you to believe. In fact it has less density than this proposal in East Hastings.

Mid-rise development (Sorry RAMP, 19 storeys doesn’t qualify as a high-rise) is nothing new to Mount Pleasant. There is the the 13 storey Stella ( the building built over top a Honda dealership), the Lee building that was built in 1912, which comes in at 110 feet high to the top of the ex-billboard and The Kingsgate Mall site is slated to be another location for mid rises. Just north of Broadway there are a handful of mid-rises built and more on the way. Thus, for those that claim this project deviates immensely from the norm, they need to take a look around. The people at RAMP fail to realize this as they take out their personal vendetta on this project.  Furthermore, RAMP should look to the community plan. In that plan 3 sites have been designated for taller than usual buildings, this is one of those sites.

To the residents of Mount Pleasant here are the facts:

  • People are moving to Vancouver and the recent census found that the Mount Pleasant was one of the fastest growing neighbourhoods in Vancouver between 2006 and 2011. So be prepared for more people and developments.
  • In order to accomodate this demand, Mount Pleasant is a community that is going  start seeing a few more mid-rise buildings. It’s really as simple as supply and demand.
  • The city has to have the foresight to allow a decent scale transit oriented development around Main/Kingsway/Broadway as a future rapid transit will be there sooner than you know it.
  • Gentrification of Mount Pleasant is already happening. Stopping this development is not going miraculously stop it. People want to live there, not just you. Your rent will go up more if this project isn’t built not if this project is built.
  • This corner was an urban dud. It needed revitalization. Next up the Buy-Low foods site.

Having said all that, the development is not perfect.  Developers need to build larger units so that families of 4 or more can live in apartment/condos comfortably. You see this in other cities in North America, I think family units (along with social housing, artist spaces etc…) need to be part of all future residential buildings.

In the end the reality is that housing is extremely expensive  in Vancouver (we’re the most expensive city in North America) and multi-unit housing is the future. Neighborhoods need to adapt, not just Mount Pleasant, all neighbourhoods. What this and other developments do is allow people to move into a neighbourhood they covet. This project is the right thing to do for the city of Vancouver.

Editor’s Note: I wonder how many of these RAMP members will be losing views because of this development. Lost view means less money when they want to sell.

 

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