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Spring Gillard
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How Green is Your Vision?

Photo credit: http://archive.citycaucus.com/2011/04/vancouvers-big-house-conundrum

Photo credit: http://archive.citycaucus.com/2011/04/vancouvers-big-house-conundrum

I had lunch with a friend from Dunbar this week. She was very upset about a beautiful old home that was coming down two doors from them. The house was being demolished to make room for a new home with laneway house. The new structures would take up every square inch of the 33 x 122 foot lot, leaving no green space.

“How is this the greenest city?” she asked, “if we’re demolishing a perfectly good home and taking it to the landfill?”

The original home is not quite old enough to qualify for heritage, and it’s not the only one that’s come down in that neighbourhood; it’s a trend, one that’s changing the fabric of neighbourhoods all over Vancouver.

“They’re not doing anything illegal, they have all the right permits,” she explained. “But this ecodensity thing sure isn’t my vision of a greenest city.”

I doubt that it would be any consolation to my friend to hear that the city encourages homeowners to practice “green” deconstruction of these beautiful homes.

4 comments to How Green is Your Vision?

  • James Glave

    If we do not accommodate new people in existing neighborhoods we will create more sprawl, highways, traffic, and pollution elsewhere. Change is difficult but densifying existing neighborhoods is the better option no matter how you define green.

    • Spring Gillard

      You’re right James. Still I wrestle with this idea. And how to achieve it. I do prefer horizontal development over the vertical. But I have to say, when I’ve walked down back lanes around City Hall where there are many laneway homes, the lane feels sterile and bereft of life. Whereas the Mole Hill example is vibrant and alive. They achieved a lot of density in that block and still retained a lush green feel. S.

  • Joanne

    This story really hits a raw nerve for me. Perhaps it is because community is at the heart of who I am and the loss of it in the name of greed is painful.

    I moved into a small bungalow along a cherry tree lined in lovely Cedar Cottage street 5 years ago. In the first month of living here I was completely shocked and saddened by the intensity and speed of densification that was taking place. Nearly 12 homes were being town down within a three block radius in order to make room for large multiple family units.

    The neighbours said this was being done in the name of green and to ensure the cost of housing remained affordable so that Cedar Cottage could keep/attract more families.

    Well it has been 5 years now and I see much less green and no more families.

    The sale of the house across the street is a perfect example of what has transpired. It was a larger home on a slightly larger lot – owned by a local church. In 2010 it sold for $750,000. The house was lifted, divided and remodelled. The garden and orchard in the back was dug up and a large single family dwelling was built there. The basement of the original house sold for $600,000. The top two levels went for 1.2 Million. The backyard home went for 1 Million as well. The occupants? Lower level – lovely couple without children – he is a developer. (He’s been knocking on our door to see if we will sell) Upper level – a retired couple from Point Grey (They say that they downsized to live on the east side), Backyard – another couple without children from Alberta ( he commutes every other week to to work for 7 days in northern Alberta)

    I suppose if the vision was more green (in the hands of a few lucky families) we can say mission accomplished.

  • Joanne

    This story really hits a raw nerve for me. Perhaps it is because community is at the heart of who I am and the loss of it in the name of green(d) is painful.

    I moved into a small bungalow along a cherry tree lined street in the lovely Cedar Cottage Neighbourhood about 5 years ago. In the first month of living here I was completely shocked and saddened by the intensity and speed of densification that was taking place. Nearly 12 homes were being torn down within a 3 block radius in order to make room for large multiple family units.

    The neighbours said this was being done in the name of “green” and to “ensure the cost of housing remained affordable” so that Cedar Cottage could keep/attract more families.

    Well it has been 5 years now and I see much less green and no more families.

    The sale of the house across the street is a perfect example of what has transpired. It was a larger home on a slightly larger lot – owned by a local church. In 2010 it sold for $750,000. The house was lifted, divided and remodelled. The garden and orchard in the back was dug up and a large single family dwelling was built there. The basement of the original house sold for $600,000. The top two levels went for 1.2 Million. The backyard home went for 1 Million as well. The occupants? Lower level – a lovely couple without children ( he is a developer and has been knocking on our door to see if we will sell). Upper level – a retired couple from Point Grey (they say that they downsized to live on the east side). Backyard – another couple without children from Alberta ( he commutes every other week to to work for 7 days in northern Alberta).

    I suppose if the vision was more green (in the hands of a few lucky families) we can say mission accomplished.

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