BC HOUSING PROPOSAL & BROADWAY SUBWAY PROJECT
Dear School Parents and Parishioners,
We have a call to action and need your help.
For 110 years, St. Augustine School and Parish has been a cornerstone of the Kitsilano community having embraced and often led positive change in our neighbourhood. We understand Kitsilano will undergo significant change in the years ahead as the Province, City and other agencies address transportation, homelessness, and densification challenges. We are prepared to work through these challenges as we engage all levels of government to assess their plans, identify shortcomings, and offer solutions that work for everyone.
Over the past two weeks, the parish and school leadership received feedback from a cross-section of our community related to BC Housing’s recently proposed 12-storey supportive housing complex on a small lot immediately across the street from St. Augustine School, close to a toddler park, nearby day care, and the Sancta Maria women’s recovery home. Your feedback has helped us to prepare our response.
Given that the public consultation process for the supportive housing proposal will close on March 15, we have developed messages below for those who wish to provide written input and those who are participating in the web-based dialogue sessions this week. Please, share a copy of your comments with our elected representatives and other officials at the City, Province and the Federal Government.
We strongly encourage you to engage in this process and hope these messages can help you develop your response. Our voices need to be heard.
WHAT YOU CAN DO BEFORE MARCH 15 EXTENDED TO MARCH 31!
Step 1: Use the key messages, along with your own experience, to craft your messages. Make your messages passionate, constructive and solutions-oriented. Many of you will have experiences in other parts of the City and elsewhere that can also be shared.
Step 2: Provide your input to the BC Housing website by March 15, 2021 (DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MARCH 31).
Step 3: Once you’ve provided your input to BC Housing, take what you’ve written or expand on it and email your comments to all identified below:
Province of BC
Note: School is located in Vancouver-Point Grey riding and the Parish, proposed housing project and Arbutus station and loop are in Vancouver-Fairview
Honourable David Eby
MLA Vancouver-Point Grey
Attorney General and Minister of Housing
Honourable George Heyman
Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Honourable Rob Fleming, MLA
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure
Honourable Jennifer Whiteside
Minister of Education
Government of Canada
Note: School is located in Vancouver-Quadra riding and the Parish, proposed housing project and Arbutus station and loop are in Vancouver-Granville
Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould
Honourable Joyce Murray
Honourable Ahmed Hussen
Minister of Families, Children and Social Development (includes housing)
Honourable Omar Alghabra
Minister of Transportation
City of Vancouver Council
Mayor Kennedy Stewart
Vancouver Police Department
Interim Chief Executive Officer
ST. AUGUSTINE SCHOOL & PARISH RESPONDS TO DEVELOPMENT
MULTI-STORY SUPPORTIVE HOUSING PROPOSAL AND BROADWAY SUBWAY PROJECT
Advocating for social justice has always been a priority for St. Augustine’s parish. It’s why we continue to work with vulnerable people and understand the importance of supportive housing. We are already deeply involved with our longstanding supportive housing initiative -- Sancta Maria House. Sancta Maria House has assisted nearly 200 women recover from problematic alcohol and drug use over the past 18 years. Both the church and school are active in their recovery process.
Based on our experience with this work and our knowledge of the neighbourhood, we offer these recommendations:
We believe in a model of care and support that is less institutional, smaller in size and more home/community based than being proposed by BC Housing. We are prepared to be involved very early in the supportive housing process, to serve on its community advisory board and to be part of the recruitment of the organization that will operate it.
There should only be modest building height increases from current standards, consistent with recommendations in the Broadway Plan to ensure the building fits into the neighbourhood. The school and nearby buildings dwarf in comparison to the proposed 12-storey complex.
There should be sufficient and consistent support for residents of the supportive housing site. Making a successful transition from homelessness to the first steps in recovery requires significant direct care, including appropriate indoor and outdoor amenities. We believe that the BC Housing proposal does not provide the level of effective care for the number of people who would live there.
The supportive housing proposal should ensure a mix and diversity of tenants, including single parents, seniors and those with accessibility issues. This means living spaces need to be much more diverse than exclusive single resident units as currently proposed.
The safety of our children is our top priority. We are being rushed to provide feedback while, at the same time, risks associated with the proposed subway station and bus loop have not been addressed. More than 400 elementary school-aged children at St. Augustine School and Montessori preschool will be subject to these public safety, environmental health, and traffic management impacts.
Our community has proposed a package of measures to reduce the traffic, safety. and health risks associated with the station and bus loop and future developments in the neighbourhood. We call on the City, TransLink and the Province to immediately commit to these practical, low-cost measures.
Establishing a “safety culture” early in the densification of this area will have long-term positive impacts for the neighbourhood.
Any application for rezoning of the property should NOT go forward until the neighbourhood has been properly consulted. The BC Housing proposal, as currently designed, should not proceed to rezoning. BC Housing’s two-week public input period is not consistent with good public consultation practice and should not be accepted as adequate consultation. The short duration runs counter to BC Housing’s advice that enough time is allocated for public engagement well in advance of such projects.