Important Park Board meeting Monday, Sept 29: $154.5M 4-year Capital Plan. How does the West End do?

An important meeting of the Vancouver Park Board will be held at its office in the West End on Monday, September 29, 2014. Anyone interested is encouraged to attend and speak, or write in advance to Commissioner(s).

The Park Board will be deciding on the allocation of $154.5 million worth of infrastructure spending proposed over the next four years. The meeting agenda includes a link to the 2015 – 2018 Final Capital Plan report, and further details are in the City Council report.West End Community Centre, Joe Fortes Library. Photo CoV

The Capital Plan is really about who will be winners and the losers in the upcoming round of infrastructure spending. How will the West End fare, especially having gone through the consultation process of the West End Community Plan. We encourage residents to review the information and share their comments with Park Board Commissioners.

Ironically, it was discovered in August 2014 that the City of Vancouver is entertaining proposals from developers to build a new Aquatic Centre at the north end of the Granville Bridge as part of a tower. This, presumably would mean demolition of the existing Vancouver Aquatic Centre, and the loss of this valuable facility in the West End. People may wish to quiz Park Board Commissioners on this point.


In the City’s report,  the only apparent mention of the West End is excerpted below:

Capital Plan response to Phase 2 specific comments:

Renew community facilities in West End – West End Community Plan public benefits policy states that the Park Board should develop a long-term strategy with the Vancouver School Board, Vancouver Public Library and other partners to renew and expand the West End Community Centre, Joe Fortes Library, and King George Secondary School. It also states that the Park Board should explore opportunities to co-locate other community facilities, and to explore opportunities to rebuild or replace the Vancouver Aquatic Centre to service the local, city, and regional population. Funds have been allocated in the 2015-18 Plan to deal with capital maintenance items at the West End Community Centre.

But that is it. We did not conduct a detailed analysis of the documents, but did not yet discover any other concrete or major commitments to the West End. Please send a message if you discover anything of importance.

For reference, here is an excerpt from the West End Community Plan, adopted in 2013. (Reference:

Section 14.1 Recreation Facilities
The Vancouver Park Board operates and maintains a number of recreational facilities in the community, including the West End Community Centre, Aquatic Centre, and six parks. Barclay Manor offers important programming space for adults as well as the West End Seniors Network, who rely heavily on this place.

The West End Community Centre and Joe Fortes Library are the most well-used city facilities in the community. The community centre provides public recreation facilities, while ensuring financial and physical access to capacity-building and recreational opportunities. It is especially important for seniors and newcomers, yet its size restrictions means limited and underutilized community space (e.g. rooftop). Facility upgrades are required to better support the large number of users.

… While well-used, the aging Aquatic Centre requires building renewal to ensure better access for residents to enjoy safe recreation spaces.


Policies (West End Community Plan, page 87)

Improve and expand recreation facilities to support residents of all ages in a growing community.

14.1.1 Partner with Vancouver Park Board and Vancouver School Board to identify sites for increased and improved park and mini-park opportunities.

14.1.2 Ensure adequate, high quality, and neighbourhood-specific programs and services for children, families, and seniors, with continued connections to the West End Community Centre and Barclay Manor.

14.1.3 Explore opportunities to upgrade or renew the community centre and library.

14.1.4 Ensure that community facilities have strong transit connectivity and are adapted to consider the ease of mobility, location, and affordability for seniors.

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West End Food Festival, Sept 18-22 (Thurs-Mon): Program details

Public service announcement.
West End Food Festival 2014 - poster, p1

West End Food Festival 2014
September 18 (Thursday) to 22 (Monday) 2014

All events are at Gordon Neighbourhood House (1019 Broughton Street) in Vancouver’s West End.

A fun weekend of activities is planned. Celebrate, explore and learn about food!

Thank you to presenting sponsor: Vancity Credit Union (WE Branch), and to our partners in the event: Village Vancouver, West End Neighbourhood Food Network, Office of Spencer Chandra Herbert (WE MLA), The Attic Thrift Store and Homesteader’s Emporium. Host Gordon Neighbourhood House.

Poster: West End Food Festival 2014 Pamphlet- Revision 4 (PDF download)

Thursday, Sept. 18th
Community Lunch 12:00-1:00 pm
Cost: $5.00

Brews and Chews 7-10 pm
A WE Pop-up Pub Night will highlight craft beer and food pairings and feature local DJ Teyshan spinning 90s hip-hop
Cost: $10

Friday, Sept 19th
Butchery Basics 2-4 pm
Breaking down a whole chicken into retail cuts is a fast, easy way to save $.
Suggested Donation: $5

Backyard Chickens 101 (for kids and others!) 3:30-5:30 pm
Learn the basics of keeping chickens in this kid and family friendly workshop.
Suggested Donation: $5

Native Edibles 6:30-8:30 pm
Come out and learn about edible plants that call our region home. Lori Snyder from the Metis Nation will discuss how to identify and harvest wild, edible, and medicinal plants in an ethical way.
Suggested Donation: $5

Saturday, Sept 20
Farmers Market Tours 10 am
Join local nutritionist Lisa Halliwell and WE MLA Spencer Chandra Herbert for a tour of your Farmers’ Market!
Cost: Free Continue reading

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Deadline Sept 19 for comments on laneway infill: 1601 Comox/1071 Cardero, 1546 Nelson and 1529 Comox

The deadline is September 19 for public input at this stage for proposals for laneway infill at 1601 Comox/1071 Cardero, 1546 Nelson  and 1529 Comox.

For analysis and comments please see our previous post:

For our coverage of the Urban Design Panel discussion:

Comments from residents are being invited by the City until September 19, 2014, and can be shared with the City Planning Department by emailing the Project Facilitator:

You may wish to also share your opinions with the Mayor and City Councillors with a cc to:

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Beach Towers development: Deadline for public input Sept 19, plus UDP Sept 24, DPB Nov 17

Beach Towers view scheme 9-Jul-2014Several important steps are coming up for the Beach Towers project. We urge people who may have any concerns about this project now or in the future to download and save a copy of all related documents immediately, for future reference. Experience has shown that soon after a permit has been issued, they disappear from the City website without a trace. (Incidentally, there has been speculation that Devonshire Properties is trying to sell the property.)

Public comments for the Beach Towers development permit application are due by September 19, 2014:

Beach Towers will be reviewed at the Urban Design Panel on Wednesday, September 
24, 2014 (6:15 pm & 7:15 pm):

[NOTE: Unfortunately, the City deletes the agenda document as soon as the meeting is over, so THE LINK ABOVE WILL NOT WORK, but we leave it there to make a point. Fortunately, we have saved a copy as a public service, and here it is for download, by clicking CoV UDP agenda-urban-design-panel-20140924, beach towers etc.]

Or see the meetings tab here:

The UDP is not known to respond to individual citizens. They will not ‘formally’ accept written comments from members of the public, although some UDP members occasionally raise issues that have come to their attention.

The current design drawings and full details are posted here:

The final design will be evaluated at the Development Permit Board on November 17, 2014:
(See “Meetings” tab. Agenda goes up shortly before the meeting.)

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Notice of new infill proposal – Strathmore Lodge (1180 Comox Street / 1086 Bute Street). Meeting Sept 17 (Wed)

1180 Comox Street public meeting card 17-Sep-2014b

1180 Comox Street public meeting card 17-Sep-2014b

This card has been sent to local neighbours. We have typed out the details for easier reading. It looks like a new building is proposed adjacent to the existing heritage building at 1086 Bute. A small house now stands at 1180 Comox Street, but the lot appears to be linked to the 1086 Bute property. We have attempted to show the location with Google Maps below. 1180 Comox Street public meeting card 17-Sep-2014

Strathmore Lodge
Unit 602 – 1086 Bute Street
Vancouver, BC V6E 1Z5


Strathmore Lodge will hold a Public Meeting:

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014, from 4-7 pm
Container Coffee @ The Burrard Motor Inn
102 – 1100 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC

To consider 3 potential schemes under a heritage revitalization agreement using the existing RM-5B (Multiple Dwelling) zoning and the West End Community Vision Plan as the basis for a 100% Purpose-Built Rental infill development off the land and include up to 13 units with an approximate density of 1.4 FSR or below (1.5 FSR allowed) in either a mixed three or 4-storey scheme and a maximum height of 12.2 m (40ft.).

Copies of the preliminary schemes may be viewed on September 17th at the Public Meeting. Anyone who consdiers themselves affected by a proposal in this location is encouraged to attend to obtain further information and provide input on the proposed forms of development. All submitted comments will be distributed to the City of Vancouver, Department of Development Services & Planning. Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Travic Hanks, Architect AIBC of Haeccity Studio Architecture Inc. p. (778) 837-6744 or

Map prepared by WEN, credit Google Maps.

1180 Comox Street location, Google Maps, 17-Sep-2014

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Results of laneway infill proposals at UDP Aug 27: 1529 Comox (NO), 1601 Comox/1071 Cardero (YES), 1546 Nelson (YES)

1529 Comox Street

1529 Comox Street, artist’s rendering

(Updated) We previously announced these proposals (Laneway Infill Proposals – Cardero, Comox, and Nelson Streets: Analysis and comments). Each one includes the construction of new buildings three to four storeys high in the rear of buildings now on the sites.

These three “laneway infill” projects were considered by the Urban Design Panel (UDP) on August 27, 2014. The UDP is an advisory body appointed by City Council. The UDP did NOT support the 1529 Comox proposal, but DID support 1546 Nelson and 1071 Cardero (1601 Comox), although with non-unanimous decisions on each of these. These are the first development applications under what has been dubbed “Laneways 2.0” in the new West End Community Plan.

Some residents originally thought the City was talking about Laneway infill applications Comox, Nelson, Cardero Sept-2014laneway houses” similar to what is being built on lanes elsewhere in Vancouver, and several media reporters and commentators reinforced this idea. But what the City really had in mind is just starting to become clear now with these proposals.

The UDP outcome (non-support or support) typically gets reported to City Council or to the Development Permit Board, depending on what approval stream is involved (in this case, the Development Permit Board). It appears these projects can be approved without further Council involvement, and without a Public Hearing, as a result of adoption of the West End Community Plan. (During public consultations on the Plan, most residents were probably not informed that things would work this way. Other neighbourhoods, beware!). While “non-endorsed” applications can still be approved by the DPB (and in some cases by one person alone — the Director of Planning!), the City typically wants to see changes prior to consideration of approval. Sometimes non-supported applications are modified and come back again for review by the Urban Design Panel.

Here it the link to the initial outcome report of the meeting):

Full minutes are not posted, but we copy the text of these three decisions below. Images are from the original agenda.

1529 Comox StreetAddress: 1529 Comox Street
DE: 418115
Description: To construct a new 4-storey multiple dwelling infill building at the
rear of the property consisting of six one-bedroom units and one
three-bedroom unit with surface parking space at the rear. This
application includes relocating the existing multiple dwelling
building towards the front property line with an addition.
Zoning: RM-5
Application Status: Development Application
Review: First
Architect: Ankenman Marchand Architects
Owner: Carrera Management Corporation
Delegation: Tim Ankenman, Ankenman Marchand Architects
Daniel Martins, Ankenman Marchand Architects
Staff: Colin King and Holly Sovdi

Note: As of September 6, we understand that  this particular application has been removed from the schedule for the October 20, 2014, Development Permit Board (DPB) meeting.

[Note that the 1529 Comox proposal includes a 520-square-foot, two-bedroom unit intended for families. One bedroom is less than 45 square feet. The City claims to be creating "affordable housing," but avoids mentioning that the trick is by shrinking the living space smaller and smaller.] Continue reading

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Laneway Infill Proposals – Cardero, Comox, and Nelson Streets: Analysis and comments

Development signs have recently been installed and notices to neighbours have been mailed for new development proposals at 1601 Comox/1071 Cardero, 1546 Nelson  and 1529 Comox. Each of these proposals includes the construction of new buildings ranging from three to four storeys in height in the rear yard areas of the buildings on the sites.

It appears these projects can be approved without a Public Hearing, as a result of adoption of the West End Community Plan. The three projects will be reviewed by the city’s Urban Design Panel at the meeting of Wednesday, August 27th (note corrected date).

Please read below and ask yourself, is this what you expected when the City said “laneway housing” was coming to the West End?

Project information is now posted for these each of these developments is listed on the City of Vancouver website at the links below.

1601 Comox (Addressed at 1071 Cardero):

601 Comox (Addressed 1071 Cardero)Note that the sign board in front of this project indicates that the proposed FSR (Floor Space Ratio, or the ratio of the building area to the lot area) is 2.36.  This ignores the existing building on the site, so the total FSR is actually approximately 4.4.  The project includes “family-oriented” two-bedroom units as small as 618 square feet.  Continue reading

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Beach Towers development plans now online, public input invited (DE418163 & DE418164)

The Beach Towers development is moving through the next phase of the City’s approvals process (public hearing for the rezoning was in February 2013). Details of the development application have now been posted online. The public now has the opportunity to provide input.

1600 & 1625 Harwood Street – DE418163 & DE418164

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We encourage anyone concerned or affected to have a look at the documents (links are copied below for your convenience). Residents living in or near Beach Towers may wish to see if any concerns they expressed before and during the rezoning process have been addressed. (They may also wish to organize a good framework for dealing with the City and contractors during the upcoming construction work.)

Comments from the public should be received on or before September 19, 2014 to be considered in the staff review, though comments will also be considered up to the date of the decision by the DPB.

This application is scheduled on the agenda for this DPB meeting:
Development Permit Board
November 17, 2014 (meeting starts 3 pm)
Town Hall Meeting Room, 1st Floor, Vancouver City Hall (Main Building)

Please contact Wendy LeBreton, Project Facilitator directly at 604.871.6796 or wendy.lebreton [at] if you have any further comments or questions. Continue reading

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Comments on 1155 Thurlow rezoning for 22-storey tower (Public Hearing July 15): Density, rents, urban design, and fairness

1155 Thurlow, aerial photo site surrounding CoV-PH, 15-Jul-2014(Updated/revised) Though the creation of social housing is a laudable objective, an examination of this application from the perspective of urban planning and fairness to the West End neighbourhood shows that  some things are seriously wrong with this development.

This post is a compilation of comments WEN has received on this rezoning application at 1155 Thurlow, going to Public Hearing on July 15, 2014. To be updated as more come in.

The site is where  Central Presbyterian Church stands today. The application has been coordinated by Henriquez Partners Architects (other recent projects by this firm include what is now the 21-storey The Alexandra at Bidwell and Davie, and the former site of St. John’s Church, now 22-storey The Lauren, at Comox and Broughton).1155 Thurlow, building image CoV-PH, 15-Jul-2014

The application is for a “22-storey mixed-use building comprised of a church, child day care facility, one retail unit, and a total of 213 dwelling units of which 168 would be secured as market rental housing and 45 would be secured as social housing. The proposed floor space ratio (FSR) is 9.45 and height is 63 metres (207 feet).”

Key concerns:

  1. Density of the project
  2. Rents for the social housing units (and whether these are truly “social housing”) and market rental units (for which no information has been provided to the public)
  3. Other urban planning considerations
  4. Fairness to the community

Continue reading

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Public Hearing 15-July-2014 (Tues), 22-storey tower at 1155 Thurlow Street (1108 Pendrell Street) (DE417385)

1155 Thurlow, building image CoV-PH, 15-Jul-2014A Public Hearing will occur on Tuesday, July 15, 2014 at Vancouver City Hall, for an important development application in the West End — a 22-storey tower at 1155 Thurlow Street. Below we provide official information from the City, based on e-mail, website (Rezoning Centre and Public Hearing agenda). Separately, we will provide an independent analysis, time permitting. If you feel you  are affected by this development, we encourage you to write or speak to City Council. See the Public Hearing agenda for info on how to do so.

1155 Thurlow Street 1155 Thurlow, aerial photo site surrounding CoV-PH, 15-Jul-2014
North 1/2 of Lot 1, South 1/2 of Lot 1, East 1/2 of Lot 2 and West 1/2 of Lot 2, Block 24 District Lot 185 Plan 92; PIDs 015-750-051, 015-750-060, 015-750-078 and 015-750-086 respectively
To rezone 1155 Thurlow Street from RM-5B (Multiple Dwelling) District to CD-1 (Comprehensive Development) District, to permit the development of a 22-storey mixed-use building comprised of a church, child day care facility, one retail unit, and a total of 213 dwelling units of which 168 would be secured as market rental housing and 45 would be secured as social housing. The proposed floor space ratio (FSR) is 9.45 and height is 63 metres (207 feet).

From City of Vancouver Rezoning Centre

Rezoning and Development Permit Application – 1155 Thurlow Street (1108 Pendrell Street) (DE417385) Continue reading

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