Over the past few months a rezoning application has divided the neighbourhood that I live in in Vancouver. Essentially, a highrise development is being proposed and there have been some very thoughtful arguments for and against it, with passionate voices speaking their opinions from both sides. I am 100% in favour of this development and the rezoning. Below is what I presented to City Council in the public hearing.
“My name is Bob Kronbauer and my family and I rent a home in Mt Pleasant.
I publish a popular web site called Vancouver Is Awesome.com which for the past 4 years has been highlighting all of the great things going on in our city. Our mandate is to deliver only positive stories to the residents of Vancouver in order to increase civic pride and remind people of what keeps them living here. We get an average of 90,000 visitors to our web site every month, for a total of 3 million page impressions every year.
I make my living off of this, so you could say that I have a vested interest in the continued “awesomeness” of Vancouver. I’ve studied the Mt Pleasant Community Plan and over the past few months I’ve looked very carefully at both sides of the arguments for and against this development and one of the things that I keep coming back to is that giant X MARKS THE SPOT where the community, and your staff, says a highrise should be considered, right there at Kingsway and Broadway. In fact there’s a sketch of a “possible development” in the plan that is practically identical in height and scope as what Rize has put forward. Does everybody here have the same copy of this?
The community has suggested increased density there and the developer has done more public engagement and consultation than we’ve seen ANY do in recent years. Have developers ever really asked for our opinions? And beyond asking have they ever worked that input into their projects in order to meet an almost absurd amount of requests from residents? Because Rize has done just that. This application in front of you is hugely different than the one originally proposed, but it seems that the neighbours who are still not happy will never be pleased with whatever does or doesn’t get approved by you for that chunk of land.
Your staff have recommended this gets approved and I hope that the saving grace is that back in November, the entire city re-elected you, our progressive mayor and the majority of this council, based on a platform where one of the main issues was sustainability and becoming the Greenest City by the year 2020. The Greenest City initiative is so awesome, I am so impressed by what it’s already achieved in making Vancouver a leader in sustainability, and I’m going to quote you Mister Mayor from a February 1st interview you did with Stephen Quinn on CBC Radio where you said a big part of the plan to do that includes “adding density along the transit lines”.
The way I see it this is one of your first real visual opportunities since the election to follow through on that, to allow more positive steps towards adding density and, in-turn, sustainability at just the right places, to allow the construction of more housing, and to follow a recently-approved community plan to a tee while doing that. I feel it would be a giant step back for the neighbourhood and the city as a whole if this rezoning application doesn’t get approved.
Thank you for your time.”