What’s going on with the Stanley Park tree cutting?

Plus, a new funding announcement for social housing

Good morning,

Someone shared a note yesterday in our food newsletter (which you can sign up for instantly here if you aren’t getting it) saying that $9 for bread was too much, and that I should be covering cheaper alternatives

I don’t disagree. Everything is expensive these days. Unfortunately the most affordable bread tends to be at places like Loblaws, which I will not be reviewing.

But I also think it’s important to highlight local businesses that are creating quality products. I recognize not everyone can afford it, which is one reason why I’ll be featuring more affordable places in the future. But for those who can, we should be buying local, even if it costs a little more. Plus those bakers are waking up very early!

In today’s newsletter, we’ve got a breakdown of what’s going on with the trees in Stanley Park and a new housing announcement by the province.

Let’s get to it!

Editor’s note: In the March 15 edition we shared a story about Vancouver’s Commercial Drive being ranked as the fifth-best street, but forgot to include the article. The story was from TimeOut and you can read it here


Wednesday: 9 🌡️ 4 | ☁️

Thursday: 10 🌡️ 5 | ☁️

Friday: 10 🌡️ 6 | 🌧️


What’s going on with the Stanley Park tree cutting?

Stanley Park

Mike W./Flickr

Stanley Park is in the midst of a massive tree cull, with about one-third of the park’s trees expected to be cut down due to a moth infestation and fire concerns. So how did we get here? And most importantly, did this really need to happen?

The situation: Stanley Park is dealing with a major moth infestation that’s killed up to 30 percent of trees with a diameter greater than 20 cm, according to the Tyee. The dead trees themselves aren’t a problem, but they can create dangerous fire conditions. Different experts have different conclusions about the correct approach to dealing with them, with some saying they must be cut down while others argue they should be cut down when falling is imminent.

  • Those opposed argue that the decision was made without any public input. So far 15,000 people have signed a petition opposing the decision.

Counterpoint: One expert told the Vancouver Sun that coastal hemlocks, found in the park, are not that combustible, and the decaying trees are needed as nutrients for the forest

Conflict: Much of the debate centres around who should have a say in the decision, whether the public should’ve had some sort of involvement and discussion, and if the park board moved too quickly in approving the cull. 

  • Yes, but: Chair of the board Brennan Bastyovanszky said that the reason the decision did not have any debate and was not at an open board meeting was that it was an operational matter, according to Vancouver is Awesome.

The decision to move quickly was partially made to reduce the number of trees in preparation for what Bastyovanszky said will be a very hot and dry summer, according to the Vancouver Sun. 

Looking ahead: Once the trees are removed, replanting will need to take place. Much of the hemlock will be replaced with Douglas fir and western red cedar. Many of the removed trees will be given to the local First Nations for processing. 

Making sense of it all: Both sides bring up fair points about the decision-making process, and the need or lack thereof, to remove the trees. In the context of the upcoming end of the park board, it does raise questions about governance, decision-making and how to preserve pieces of the city that many consider integral to Vancouver. Sadly there are no easy answers, but at the very least, staying aware of these issues and how they’re made is not a bad thing when it comes to our civic institutions.


📉 2.8%: The year-over-year inflation rate for February came in lower than expected. January’s inflation rate was 2.9 percent. Last month, grocery price increases slowed to 2.4 percent. [The Canadian Press]:

🔌 20,000: The number of people that lost power yesterday in Vancouver, around Victoria-Fraserview, Killarney, and Renfrew-Collingwood. [CityNews]

🥵 124 years: That’s how long a heat record for March 17 held up, until this weekend in Metro Vancouver. A new record of 15.1 C was hit in Vancouver, up from 14.4 C in 1900. [Vancouver is Awesome]

🏘️ 15.3%: The increase in the number of home sales since February 2023. Prices were up 4.7 percent to $987,798 from last year at $943,574. [Urbanized]


Province announces new funding for affordable rentals

What happened: The drumbeat of more housing in Metro Vancouver marches on! The province announced that the region will receive funding to create almost 2,000 new affordable rental homes through the Building BC Community Housing Fund, according to the Toronto Star. 

Background: The province has made increasing the supply of rental housing a major focus of its housing program. The fund was started in 2018, with a goal of creating 20,000 affordable rental homes by 2032 for those with low or middle incomes. So far, 40 projects around BC have been approved with funding for 12,5000 new affordable rental homes.

  • Unlike other types of housing, the funding isn’t geared towards private developers, but non-profits, co-operatives, municipalities and First Nations, according to Urbanized. 

Locations: Vancouver has four of the 17 buildings announced so far, comprising a total of 814 units. These are located at 293 East 11th Ave., 625 Pacific St.,  525 Powell St. and 405 Jackson Ave. 

How it works: One criteria is that 70 percent of the units must have rent amounts that do not exceed 30 percent of income. Of that, 20 percent must be for people with very low incomes. 

Zoom out: Vancouver has been moving fast on approving rental builds. They approved 12,800 purpose-built rentals in the last six years, with 4,260 in 2022 alone. Yet the challenge is actually building them, with only 65 percent of approved buildings — both rental and condos — actually starting construction, according to the Globe and Mail

What it means: Rental housing geared towards lower income people requires government involvement, so the pace of the provincial government's actions is encouraging. Vancouver is doing well when it comes to purpose-built rentals, with a goal of 178 percent achieved, but much worse when it comes to condos (43 percent) and town/coach homes (31 percent). That’s great news for renters, but less so for those looking to buy homes.


👮 Police are investigating a serious sexual assault in Stanely Park on Monday morning. Police searched the area but the man was not found. [CTV]

🚆 Pretty please? Metro Vancouver has teamed up with Montreal and Toronto to ask for funding that was earmarked for transit, the Permanent Transit Fund, to start in 2024 and not 2026. The cities are also asking for a doubling of the Canadian Communities Building Fund. Fun fact — these three transit providers account for 60 of all transit ridership in the country. [Urbanized]

🏐 The park board spiked their own idea of a beach volleyball league Monday night after outcry from Spanish Banks volleyball players that opposed the move. The decision to create a league rather than allow Volleyball BC to run their own league on Mondays has now been moved to 2025. [Urbanized]

🏗️ In what is a very unsurprising move, some residents of Point Grey are opposing a high-density project, that they say is too dense for the area, located at 10th Avenue West and Tolmie Street. The building would be 100 percent secured rentals, with 20 percent below market rent. The two towers would be 17 and 19 storeys. [Business in Vancouver]

🚗 Vision Zero has released an interactive traffic violence map so you can see the most dangerous roads and intersections. It’s based on the severity of the incident, broken out by deaths and injuries. [Vision Vancouver]

🍺 More parks around Metro Vancouver could legalize drinking, including, “Boundary Bay Regional Park; Brunette Fraser Regional Greenway; Campbell Valley Regional Park; Capilano River Regional Park; Derby Reach Regional Park; and Iona Beach Regional Park.” [Vancouver is Awesome]

⚖️ No charges have been laid against a man who defaced murals in Chinatown two years ago, even though the person was caught on camera. The decision was made because prosecutors said there wasn’t a substantial likelihood of conviction. [Global]


A cafe for every occasion on Carrall Street

Cafes hold a special place in cities. They’re a convenient meeting location, a place to hunker down and work, a space to spend a few slow, easy minutes grabbing a coffee before continuing with a busy day. 

Parisian cafes, Dunkin Donuts, you can tell a lot about a people and a city by the cafes. I’ll never forget the level of precision, craft and care during a coffee tasting in a Japanese cafe, the meticulous attention, and how it came to symbolize so much of my trip.

Vancouver is no different. From the consistent quality of 49th Parallel donuts, to creative matcha beverages at Matchstick, or even a quick visit to JJ Bean, if you spend enough time at these places, you come away with a deeper understanding of Vancouver.

One stretch of blocks downtown on Carrall Street exemplifies Vancouver's cafe culture. It’s a combination of high-quality coffee shops, bakeries, and cafes that are hard to find elsewhere in the city. If even one of these places was a block away from your home, you’d call yourself lucky. 


Lookout readers’ favourite street

A big thanks to the 250+ people who voted on their favourite street. Here’s the results!

I thought I’d share a few of my favourite spots along Main, in case you haven’t visited them. I’m not including the well-known popular spots like Anh and Chi since many people already know them:

  • Afra on Main — so far this is the best place I’ve found for Middle Eastern and Balkan food.

  • The Watson — a new(ish) cocktail bar getting rave reviews

  • Como Taperia — amazing happy hour deals, with a wonderful selection of tapas and tinned fish

  • Courtside — if you love basketball, there’s no better place to visit 

  • Vancouver Special — expensive, but modern home designs to make your place shine

  • Welk’s General Store — the best general store you’re ever likely to find

  • Congrats Vancouver — the city has dropped from second- to sixth-worst when it comes to bed bugs. [Straight]

  • I’m not sure why this cafe isn’t more popular because they’ve got an incredible lineup of lunch options.

  • CKNW reporter George Garrett, who reported on the radio for more than four decades, has died. [Global News]

  • Over in West Vancouver you can get bees with your books. Here’s why. [CBC]

  • Soon you’ll be able to see Vancouver in your favourite TV shows. So many are filming here, including The Last of Us, Suits L.A., Superman and Louis and the Good Doctor. [Vancouver Sun]


Congrats to everyone who guessed Monday’s news quiz about how much of the region’s operating shelter space does Vancouver provide. The answer was 75 percent.

Today’s Vanouver Guesser is an intersection. Can you guess where this is? Reply with your name and correct answer to be featured in the newsletter.

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