The Community Association of New Yaletown has ceased operations. Visit instead.

The Community Association of New Yaletown (CANY) is no longer active.

This site is no longer updated, and is being maintained solely as an archive.

A new association, the Greater Yaletown Community Association (GYCA) now represents a larger area around Yaletown in downtown Vancouver.

For more information about GYCA and for issues relating to the greater Yaletown area, please visit

2020-04-24T19:13:28-07:00December 5, 2018|

Tell the City you are still opposed to a tower on Emery Barnes Park

An update on CANY’s legal battle vs City of Vancouver appears below this URGENT message:

Please let the City know that you are still opposed to a 35 storey tower on Emery Barnes Park by attending a community open house tomorrow (Wednesday, November 25 , 2015)4:00 – 7:30 pm at The Gathering Place, Theatre Room, 609 Helmcken St

IF YOU CANNOT ATTEND your opinion still counts! Please send an email now to with this message in the Subject Line: “I am opposed to Development Application DE419710 1111 Richards/508 Helmcken”
– Feel free to include personal comments, but know that they are not read or taken into consideration by the City
– Include your first and last name, and street address if possible


As you may know, the Community Association of New Yaletown won its case against the City of Vancouver in BC Supreme Court. This ruling struck down the the bylaws and halted the developments at 508 Helmcken and 1099 Richards.

Unfortunately, both the City and Brenhill Developments appealed that decision, and the original decision was struck down. Even before that ruling, the City of Vancouver moved to enact new bylaws to enable the developments to proceed.

CANY responded by filing for our case to be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada. We have now learned that leave was not granted by SCC. This means that we have reached the end of the road as far as a legal challenge is concerned.

Thank you all for your time, energy, ideas, and financial contributions in support of CANY’s efforts to require a fair process including community input into the City’s decision-making process.

While we lost the legal battle, we can claim some measure of success. Both City Manager Penny Ballem and General Manager of Planning Brian Jackson are no longer employed by the City of Vancouver. We can hope that the City has learned that a confrontational, non-collaborative approach to land use planning is not productive, and that more open-minded leaders will take their place.

As always, we are always looking for more volunteers to assist with various neighbourhood improvement projects.  Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or suggestions


Community Association of New Yaletown (share link via

2020-04-24T17:56:35-07:00November 25, 2015|

508 Helmcken Development Back in the Spotlight as Brian Jackson Resigns

A proposed downtown tower on the east side of Emery Barnes park was the final straw for a group of planners and academics who wrote an open letter expressing concern about the future planning direction in the city (GBL Architects); the former top city planner, Brian Jackson.

This town is a lonely town
Not the only town like this town
This town is a make-you town
Or a break-you-town and bring-you-down town

Someone should bottle a new barbecue sauce to accompany the burnt offerings of Brian Jackson’s flame-broiled reputation, which is about all that’s left after the City of Vancouver served up the juicy announcement of his retirement on a tranquil summer Sunday last week. They could call it Vancouverism, best served with sacrificial lamb.

Jackson was trapped in an impossible position, from which every apparent exit was an illusion. Except the one he finally took.

Read the rest at

More also at:

2020-04-24T18:06:42-07:00August 5, 2015|

City of Vancouver Pushing 508 Helmcken and 1099 Richards Developments Through Before Appeal

Please sign the petition now.

Vote NO to the 1099 Richards development permit and the 508 Helmcken rezoning as proposed, and ask the City to set a meeting with the neighbourhood to start looking for real solutions.

Sign the Petition



It’s shameful and downright arrogant that on the same day that Mayor Robertson admitted he had failed on his promise to end homelessness, the City of Vancouver was hosting a Public Hearing on proposed changes to the Downtown Official Development Plan (DODP) that dismantled the very concept of social housing, a change that risks increasing homelessness in Vancouver and reducing affordability in Vancouver.

On March 26, 2015, Vision Vancouver Councillors all voted in favour of changing the definition of social housing to be rental housing “in which at least 30% of the dwelling units are occupied by households with incomes below housing income limits”, increasing the lowest category of rent to $912 a month as set out by BC Housing.  This change hinders social housing development and allows for abuse of this broad definition.  More concerning is that regardless of the remaining rents of 70% of all other units, all units will count as social housing.  To break that down, if we have 100 units in which 30 is social housing and 70 is market rate, then the building is said to contain 100 social housing units.

In the now infamous case of Jubilee House at 508 Helmcken, the neighbourhood was told the density was to allow for more social housing to be built at 1099 Richards, when in fact, it was only replacing the existing 87 units.  The other 75 units are low end of market rate.  Meanwhile, the developer was granted a bonus density for an additional 488 market units.  Of the 650 units in this land-swap project, only 87 will be social housing.  This is a clear example of how these changes fail social housing and allows for abuse.

The City argues that the 30% in the definition is an incentive to build social housing.  Section 3.1 already allowed the Development Permit Board (DPB) to permit an increase in floor space ratio (FSR) up to the allowable maximum if the building has 30% social housing.  There is no need to have it in the actual definition of social housing, as it serves only to falsely count market rental units as social housing.  More concerning,  Section 3.13 goes on to allow the DPB to permit an unlimited increase in density beyond allowable maximum FSR, thus bypassing the rezoning process and eliminating the requirement for an Open House, a Public Hearing and any other opportunity for public input.  It places sole discretion for the allowable density in the hands of unelected officials.

Caught breaking the law, the City’s response is to change the law and remove the need for public input.  Residents have received their notices regarding the separate 1099 Richards DPB meeting on April 7, 2015 and the 508 Helmcken rezoning Public Hearing on April 14, 2015.  The City is rushing to push these through before the appeal court dates.  Please email the Mayor and City Council and demand that they respect citizens’ rights to be heard and considered.

1099 Richards DPB meeting – April 7, 2015

508 Helmcken Rezoning Public Hearing – April 14, 2015

Please sign opposing the 1099 Rirchards development permit and 508 Helmcken rezoning as proposed.

Here are the reasons the proposed developments do not work:

1099 Richards

  • The proposed building is also too big and too dense for the site, and would be a non-conforming third tower on the block.
  • It exceeds the FSR 5.0 limit set out by the Downtown Official Development Plan (DODP) for social housing in our neighbourhood.

508 Helmcken

  • The proposed 36 storey tower is too tall and too dense for the site, and it violates numerous provisions of the Downtown Official Development Plan (DODP)

The combined impact of these two buildings is a way too large for the neighbourhood and must be considered together as per the court ruling.  Any leniency granted because they are “social housing” should be the absolute minimum as they don’t add true social housing as defined by CMHC and accepted Canada-wide.

We ask that the City keep its promise and duty to fair public consultation and work the community to find a solution that works for neighbours and keeps the Jubilee House residents in their neighbourhood.  Vote NO to the 1099 Richards development permit and the 508 Helmcken rezoning, and set a meeting with the neighbourhood to start looking for real solutions.

2020-04-23T17:24:26-07:00April 4, 2015|

Say NO to Downtown Official Development Plan amendments

Now is the time to tell the Mayor and City Council to vote NO to the proposed amendments to the Downtown Official Development Plan (DODP).

The amended development plan would set a bad precedent for all of Vancouver. If this amendment passes downtown, your neighbourhood may be next.

Sign the Petition

Please sign the petition now. Your signature is needed by 5pm on March 26, 2015.

Sign the Petition



Why the proposed Downtown Official Development Plan must be defeated

The Community Association of New Yaletown strongly supports more social housing in our neighbourhood. However, we must oppose the proposed amendments for the following reasons:

  • The new definition of “social housing” removes support for those most in need. Under the proposed changes, the new lowest category of rent will require an annual income of up to $36,500 for a studio apartment and $40,000 for a one-bedroom outside the DTES (Source: BC Housing 2015 Housing Income Limits).  This moves “social housing” out of reach for anyone working full-time at minimum wage ($22,000 per year).

    The proposed new Jubilee House demonstrates the City’s vision: the “low cost housing” units transferred from the old Jubilee House rent for an average of $436/month while the new “social housing” units rent for $1,142/month (source: City of Vancouver Administrative Report, February 6, 2014). These changes risk increasing homelessness and reducing affordability in Vancouver.

  • The changes benefit developers, not people in need of affordable housing. The threshold for a building to gain huge density bonuses for “social housing” is unreasonably low. Only 30% of residential units are required to meet the too-expensive levels described above. The remaining units are not required to be affordable at all.
  • The DODP and its proposed amendments are not “intelligible” or “simple and direct” as required by law. Instead, the documents use technical jargon, confusing wording and contain inconsistent and conflicting statements. The recent Supreme Court ruling requires the City to provide information in “a form that is understandable.” You can read the Downtown Official Development Plan and judge for yourself.
  • The City provides insufficient detail for the public to understand the pros and cons of the proposed amendments. The City provided no models or drawings showing the potential impact of the proposed changes. The recent Supreme Court ruling requires the City to provide sufficient information to enable the public to “fairly evaluate the pros and cons” and to “scrupulously consider” public input.
  • The proposed DODP increases the power of the (unelected) Development Permit Board, reduces City Council oversight, and reduces the public’s ability to provide input regarding their own neighbourhood. It allows the DPB to grant unlimited density without requiring rezoning.
  • The proposed amendments to the DODP were drafted without any public input. Neighbourhoods and social housing residents were not consulted as part of the drafting process. The public deserves a voice in our own communities.

The Community Association of New Yaletown fully supports increased social housing that truly benefits the needy. However, the proposed amendments fail to achieve this objective, and bypass public input while allowing unrestricted developments.

Downtown Vancouver deserves a better, fairer, clearer Downtown Official Development Plan.

Say NO to the proposed Downtown Official Development Plan amendments. Your signature is needed by 5pm on March 26, 2015. Please sign the petition now:

Sign the Petition
2020-04-23T17:24:28-07:00March 23, 2015|