More than 100 citizens showed up on the steps of city hall today (Nov. 16) to protest densification in Dunbar and around Vancouver without the city first offering adequate consultation.
The rally was organized by neighbourhood group Dunbar Re-Vision – a group that’s rallying around the idea of “no densification without consultation.” The group formed last month in opposition to a proposed retirement community development in Dunbar called Pacific Arbour that would be as tall as six to seven storeys high.
One of those protesters, Dunbar resident Marina Hislop, said she was there because she doesn’t like what is happening in her neighbourhood,
“I really want Dunbar to remain the way it is. It's very important not just for me, but for my children who want to continue living in Dunbar,” said Hislop.
But the protest has expanded beyond just the development – protesters at city hall held signs that read “stop Vision,” “unHappy Planet,” and “Vancouver Vision is short sighted.”
Even Green Coun. Adriane Carr voiced opposition in a speech she gave at the event.
“Virtual, de facto rezoning that will mean higher density without any public consultation of any meaning in terms of that,” said Carr.
She mentioned a task force formed by Mayor Gregor Robertson surrounding housing.
“I'm saying the experts on the mayor's task force were experts, but they are not citizens. You are the citizens and your point of view is just as valid and important and as expert-based,” said Carr. “You have a vision and you deserve to have people at city hall recognizing that your vision for your neighbourhood is the right one to follow.”
Dunbar Re-vision representative Mike Andruff said people were there to stand up for their rights. He called the task force’s rezoning a disaster for the city, and called this protest as evidence that the people want a voice.
For Hislop, she feels that voice can be given to residents of Vancouver by offering more public consultations. She hopes the protest today leads city hall to change its mind about the development’s location.
“I hope that maybe it's a four storey or somewhere else where they're not going to disturb the neighbourhood, somewhere where there's actually an area for this kind of development, not in the middle of where people are living.”
Dunbar is currently zoned as a one family dwelling district. Developments such as Pacific Arbour need to be approved for re-zoning by the city council before construction can begin.