January 9, 2018

Gordie Award 2017~Moments of Courage~YIMBY Marpole

The last Gordie Award of 2017 goes to the people and youth of Vancouver that stood up to ensure that the disenfranchised could have a shot at temporary modular housing that was to be located in Marpole. The  owner of the site at 59th and Heather had agreed that the city could build two temporary structures of 39 units each to house tenants that were over 45 years of age, with many with physical and medical disabilities. Fourteen of these units would be wheelchair accessible and staff would be available around the clock. Priority was to be given to the local homeless that rely on St. Augustine’s Church nearby to eat.
Local residents received notification from the City about the location of the modular housing and several reacted in protest not wanting this housing located in their community.
Kudos to the students at neighbouring  Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School who researched the issue and then spoke out.  They believed in YIMBY, “yes in my back yard”. As a member of Marpole Students for Modular Housing stated “I do understand that people can be set in their ways and they aren’t open to that kind of change. But I think this is one of those changes that is important for the benefit of our society as a whole and for our community being a better place in general…“I think the majority of the fear is not the fault of the individual, but the fault of society as a whole.”
The students held their own rally supportive of the modular housing and spoke for the inclusion of the people who will be living in the housing .The project is expected to be operational in early winter 2018.

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  1. Sometimes we hear complaints about Millennials. I am as guilty as any. Then a group of youth take hold of an important social issue like this one and counter the shameful majority narrative on a point of ethics.
    Further, some of these youth have direct experience working with the homeless, and their voices of experience have no intelligent counterpoint amongst their supposedly older and wiser upper middle class protesting elders.

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  3. The devil is in the details.
    The protesters really just wanted the modular housing moved to the Cambie side of the Pearson site (away from the elementary school across the street of the proposed site) because the service agreement between the City of Vancouver and VAHA requires the tenant mix in the modular housing to have a minimum of 20% tenants under the “Service Level 3” category.
    “Service Level 3- Medium / High Needs” is defined to include persons with “Extensive criminal history with high risk to re-offend”.
    See Appendix 3 here for the service level definitions and the “Preferred Tenanting Plan” which states the minimum 20% requirement:
    This is across from an elementary school. The secondary school kids could probably handle it.
    So while you can’t open a liquor store near an elementary school, you can place high risk – by VAHA definition – across the street from a school, without public consultation.
    That’s what the residents were complaining about.
    I suppose that you’ll now see many more parents DRIVING their kids to school in their gas guzzling SUVs (as well as needle sweeps of the playground).

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