There will never be enough density, no city in the world can win this particular race.

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The spirit of Vancouver, on the theme of “Vancouverism” by former city planner Larry Beasley, disappears in the shadow of condo towers, rampant greed and over-densification. The story is the same all over the world in all the cities affected: invasions of unrestricted global capital in the real estate market, hyper gentrification, massive loss of affordable housing, invasion of tourists, death of small local businesses and rise of monoculture. ‘business.

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Under the banner of affordability, already affordable and functional neighborhoods with a variety of custom architectures, properties and green spaces, the new zoning creates what we have already seen in Yaletown and downtown: an aesthetic anesthetized.

It will be the same everywhere: same tower architecture, same shiny surfaces, same steel and glass facades, facing each other up to 50 floors along the streets of the city. Residents can see their reflections in the building opposite, thanks to minimal separation from the towers. Views of the surrounding Vancouver landscape will only be available to a few at the top of the towers. There will be nothing for residents in the public realm except 24 hours of overcrowding on glorified “boulevards” flanked by the same chain stores and company restaurants, and overloaded with car traffic. As if everyone who lived in the corridor worked there and used public transport or bicycles.

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There is no significant planned escape from the new density and glorified “vibrance” in the form of large new designed parks and green spaces that are more than just pocket parks, dwarfed by adjacent towers and surrounded of massive traffic.

The city is poised to squeeze its current and future population (and millions of tourists) into the same green spaces, public swimming pools and waterfront walkways created decades ago for a population several times smaller than proposed. . There will be no more serenity in Vancouver except for the wealthy who can exclusively enjoy their decks and patios and enjoy the remaining views of the mountains and water. There will be no chance of cultivating high street businesses such as Main Street, West 4th, Commercial Drive or West 41st in Kerrisdale due to business rental mechanics.

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There will be no more quiet, green yards and lawns that still exist for tenants in signature neighborhoods like between Oak, Granville, Broadway and 12th Avenue. The nature of the replacement buildings is determined by funding and timelines, not by the principles of urban design, beauty and the sense of place of its residents. Instead, maximizing building footprints and heights will overwrite the only open spaces available and the visual variety of its existing buildings.

All of this is deeply unfair and cynical towards the population that already lives here and is considered a disposable mass in order to achieve more and more density and so-called accessibility. Their views are criticized as “nostalgic”.

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However, this is all man-made, intentional and therefore stoppable. The next Vancouver City Council and its Planning Authority should develop a mindset, process and policy that everyone who plans and builds in the city must adhere to the strongest qualities of urban design and quality density, or leave.

There will never be enough density, no city in the world can win this particular race. Simply following an open door approach to simply building large tower formats – with some so-called affordability rate – and enabling global hyper-gentrification at the same time is easily giving up the valuable location of this city to the highest bidder instead of the highest bidder. It is worth fighting for. There is only one Vancouver.

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Lothar Wiwjorra, Urban Designer/Retired City Architect, Vancouver

Regular dredging necessary to protect our communities

As a farmer who was affected by flooding in Abbotsford, I wonder why there isn’t more talk of dredging rivers versus better dikes. Ongoing maintenance of our dike and drainage systems is essential, but all of that work is wasted if we don’t allow the river waters to flow freely. The accumulation of sediment in our rivers is a normal phenomenon and is not the result of climate change. In order to protect the Lower Mainland, the Nooksack and Fraser below Hope should be subject to a regular dredging program.

I understand that some fish habitats are disturbed, but we must turn to the greater good. As a bonus, the amount of gravel that can be mined would likely pay for the cost.

Armand Vander Meulen, Abbotsford


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