Frances Bula Profile picture
Cities fascinate me. Urban issues and politics writer for Globe + Mail, various magazines. Blogger, tweeter, instructor Langara J-School, adjunct prof UBC SOJ
Jun 22 184 tweets 23 min read
Feeing a bit teary-eyed after I just took the lovely art-deco elevator at Vancouver city hall for the first time in well over two years. Here for the Broadway Plan vote. (Please let it happen before noon.) Entering council chamber a bit like being transported into the matrix, because a door broke (apparently just cracked and fell apart while no one was around) and they covered the space with some translucent paper that glows like the light you see just before dying.
Jun 9 95 tweets 11 min read
Checking in to the Broadway Plan questions and debate at council. Alert: I will NOT be tweeting the entire proceedings, but I'm here for now Just a preliminary note. Some people are seeing it as a negative that there are apparently 42 amendments being proposed and possible a second day of debate before voting. With something so big (500 blocks) and city-altering, it seems reasonable to take that amount of time.
May 18 33 tweets 5 min read
#19. William Dawson. UBC student, 21. Supporting the plan. "I do not see the plan as a radical departure, but a correction to put us back on the path we should have been on." Most common comment I'm hearing from supporters, besides the support. "It's not a perfect plan. But let's move ahead and fix other stuff later."

Dismayed by the opposition that would deny housing for people based on some kind of aesthetics. (Big paraphrase.)
May 18 10 tweets 1 min read
Speaker $12. Peter Andreassen. This is a 30-year plan, many opportunities to tweak it and make it better. With this, we need to go ahead and expedite this and get some much-needed spaces for younger people Speaker #13. Mark Trischuk. In support. "Density in tall buildings close to stations for an efficient, organized city."
May 18 42 tweets 5 min read
Buchanan: Pass the plan as soon as you can. Can make amendments. I'm really asking council not send this back to staff for minor issues. I feel like the city puts citizens in a "consultation endurance contest." It's how you shut out parents like me. Buchanan: Begging them not to listen to the small core of opponents who are against everything, make themselves sound like more than they are.
May 18 96 tweets 12 min read
Okay, kids, checking in for the day to Broadway Plan Motel. Currently staff are talking about the re-design of the street. There are 202 names on the final speakers list for the Broadway Plan.
Jun 30, 2021 69 tweets 9 min read
Listening in to Vancouver public hearing. First item is the new office tower at Richards and Georgia, which will give the city $11.3 million in developer fees. Councillor Colleen Hardwick asking the architect whether demand for office still there. Councillor Lisa Dominato asking if building is being designed to potentially convert to residential if needed at some point. First speaker objects to "wall" of office towers going up on this east end of Georgia.
May 26, 2021 95 tweets 11 min read
Checking into the 12-storey social-housing debate at council. Elizabeth Murphy was just up saying the problem with allowing these buildings at this height is that it will then open the door to private developers wanting the same height. Next speaker, Larry Benge, a frequent speaker with the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods. He is concerned about the loss of democracy if there is not a public hearing on each building, plus allowing these taller buildings overrides community plans.
May 25, 2021 6 tweets 2 min read
Something I’m seeing as Kingsway, a treasure trove of small food and other businesses, gets redeveloped — the new buildings seem to be providing homes for those types. That’s different from the developments to the west, with their endless banks and Shoppers Image Someone at the city should talk to these builders about how they're managing to do this. When I've done stories about retail in new developments before, I was frequently told builders had to put in the big, boring chains because that's what the bank required of them.
Mar 24, 2021 9 tweets 3 min read
One argument made recently in a BIV/Lapointe column was that council members need to be paid a professional salary because it's a full-time job. Just a reminder -- they are. Financial statement just released for 2020 Vancouver. These amounts don't include Metro committee pay. Image Financial statement shows that, oddly, just-departed city planning director Gil Kelley made $10,000 less than the previous year. City manager clocked in at around $350,000. Image
Oct 6, 2020 14 tweets 2 min read
Just tuned in to council to hear Councillor Colleen Hardwick ask staff whether they haven't made a mistake by "putting special-interest groups before the general public" in coming up with priorities. No idea which ones she means, trying to figure it out. Sorry, and to explain more, this is in relation to staff giving an update on Vancouver City Plan process.
Mar 19, 2020 16 tweets 2 min read
City manager Sadhu Johnston spelling out specific powers city asking for in state of emerg: take over any spaces needed temporarily, get priority for personal protective equipment or supplies, and restrict use or occupancy of any space, so could, e.g., close some biz in 1 area Mentioned community centres, hotels, etc., as spaces might need.
Nov 9, 2019 9 tweets 2 min read
I can't help but feel that there's is an inevitable counterpoint coming to this first wave of euphoric enthusiasm over the Senakw development. There is much to praise about the first, utopian phase, but so many details still to come and some likely readjustments on the horizon. There will be a lot more scrutiny once the public knows more about what the rent levels are likely to be. The Squamish are rightly not in the business of subsidizing housing for non-nation members, but 4,000 or so apartments at very high rents would leave a sour taste.
Sep 18, 2018 89 tweets 25 min read
First question in mayoral debate tonight on housing: More than 50 per cent of Vancouver residents are renters. What measures will you implement at the city level to bring relief to renters? #vanpoli @vanelxn18 Bremner: Three-year action plan, 50,000 to 70,000 new units on the books. Drop the red tape, get rid of the CACs that were turning rentals into condos. "We cannot wait." #vanpoli #vanelxn18