On Aug. 24, Mission Council held a public hearing that consisted of seven items, one of which was a rezoning proposal which would erect a six-story apartment building smack dab in the middle of 3rd Ave. a residential area made up of single-family homes.
Only Coun. Ken Herar took into consideration the protests of residents of 3rd Ave. as well as neighbours from 2nd and 4th Avenues and voted against the proposal. The others did not.
I am livid. This decision affects me deeply as it will impact my future. It will affect the investment I made in my home, it will affect my quality of life in the place I was born and raised, it will affect my ability to sell, if I so choose, and take a deep loss in the process. These feelings are personal and are not unique to me in this particular situation.
Personal biases aside, I am also incredibly angry at the blatant hypocrisy the whole meeting displayed. I am disappointed in the Council’s dismissal of those who will be deeply affected by this proposal. I am appalled that they have the gall to assume they understand the area better than those that have lived here.
One of the items discussed during the meeting was the future of Mission’s Waterfront district. For years, plans have been tossed back and forth that would rejuvenate and create jobs and potentially industry for the residents of our community.
During the deliberations, Mayor Pam Alexis said that considerations must be made to ensure the area stays “congruent” to its neighbourhood feel, and I agree.
Her feelings, however, did not seem to extend to the proposal for 3rd Ave., whose neighbourhood feel is one of single-family dwellings, most of which have a heritage feel as it is the older area of Mission.
Pictures of the development provided in the original proposal show a six-story building that is demonstrably incongruent with 3rd Avenue’s neighbourhood character.
It was also noted during the meeting that the sign board announcing the proposal with the Public Hearing’s date and time was obscured from view (in actuality, by a big, tan, Winnebago Camper). Our neighbours from Kathleen Courts on 4th Ave. were shocked to hear of the proposal and were unable to submit their letters of opposition due to the sign board’s obscurity.
The council dismissed this as a reason for further debate.
Alexis reasoned that the approval of the project was in the hopes of generating foot traffic to the downtown core. Clearly, she is out of touch with the layout of the area, as 3rd Avenue is in the middle of a hill. A hill one does not typically walk for fun. Following her logic, a resident at this new 6-story high rise would walk down to the downtown core, which is a step above a ghost town as high rents keep any charming mom and pop shops from succeeding in the area, browse through the meagre places there are, then trudge up-hill with all their shopping bags.
The council seems to think that $1,950 per month (before apartment extras such as strata, parking, utilities etc.) for a rental in an area with a dead downtown district and even more dead transit into the city is reasonable.
They believe it is entirely attainable for Mission residents of middle-income. While working two jobs out of town (one of which was full time), with a working partner I still do not believe I would be able to comfortably afford a unit in their new building.
I am not asking you to sympathize with the personal aspect. I am asking you to be angry at a Council that has openly and on record shown that they do not care about us. They do not care about making Mission a better place for those that live here. They have no problem pursuing their own personal interests in the face of their constituents resounding cries of “no.”
Elected officials are supposed to act on behalf of the community they represent; they are supposed to listen to their constituents. Mayor Pam Alexis and her Council have, on record, shown how out of touch they are with the “neighbourhood character” of the downtown core.
Moving forward, let’s do better. Let’s hold those who are supposed to be working for us accountable when they don’t. Let’s use our anger to make positive changes in our community.