RE: The Rize Proposal on Broadway and Kingsway
We are writing on behalf of constituents who have expressed concerns with The Rize development proposal at Broadway and Kingsway. This project would create a fundamental, not just cosmetic, change in the community.
Our main concern is the threat of rising rents, and the subsequent displacement of renters who live in our community. These renters – many of them seniors, workers, artists, and immigrants – depend on the barely affordable rental stock that does exist, and they will be made vulnerable. Density and increased housing stock in and of itself does not translate into affordability.
Moreover, we are worried that smaller businesses will be subject to higher rents. They, too, may be forced to move out if business rents escalate.
We recognize that the overarching issue is the lack of affordable housing in Vancouver. We know that the battle for affordable housing is one the City cannot fight alone; and we are doing as much as we can at our respective levels of government to secure funding for this long neglected issue. We are all on board for an affordable housing strategy. But when it comes to a proposal like The Rize, the City wields significant authority to determine land use as it relates to affordable housing.
Another issue concerns the scale of the proposed development. Residents have told us that the height of the tower is excessive, and that it will negatively impact the historic character of Mount Pleasant.
We know that The Rize controversy represents the classic conflict of improvement versus displacement in a rapidly growing and transforming city like Vancouver, and that the proposal has become the flashpoint for the highly charged issue of gentrification. The project’s proponents tout potential benefits such as economic opportunity, a broadened tax base, sustainable growth patterns, and neighbourhood renewal – there is nothing inherently wrong with that. However, our constituents’ concern is that gentrification would come at the expense of the existing population. Our view is that it is key that new projects integrate with, cooperate with, and respect and trust the existing community. Herein lies the real opportunity.
We know that Mount Pleasant’s residents are fully committed to their community’s revitalization. Theirs is a strong, cohesive, and influential voice that wishes to help shape, rather than oppose, development.
We’re not surprised people want to live in Mount Pleasant. It’s a great community. We all want the same thing, to live and work in a great community. We can all reap the benefits. We think that this is achievable with the tools that the City has in hand.
We believe that solutions can be found between the community and the developers on The Rize proposal. We are willing to help in any way in an ongoing discussion to help Mount Pleasant remain as one of Vancouver’s more affordable communities.
Libby Davies, MP (Vancouver East)
2412 Main Street
Vancouver, BC V5T 3E2
Jenny Kwan, MLA (Vancouver Mount Pleasant)
T: 604-775-0790 F: 604-775-0881
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