Vancouver Aquatic Centre’s future: 2014 election issue for West Enders? Ask candidates where they stand.

Vancouver Aquatic Centre Sign

Vancouver Aquatic Centre Sign

What is the future of the Vancouver Aquatic Centre, a cherished facility in the West End? This is a good question for incumbent and hopeful candidates for Mayor, City Council, and Park Board leading up to the November 15 civic election in 2014. Incumbents should be asked what they know about this. Hopefuls should be asked what they would do if elected. (See WEN election 2014 page.)

And West Enders might also wonder this: What was the purpose of the entire community planning exercise if dramatically different ideas (not renewal but demolition and relocation) are suddenly discovered only six months after the Plan is adopted?

Throughout the multi-year consultation on the West End Community Plan (adopted by City Council in November 2013) the Aquatic Centre featured prominently as a valued community amenity. As an enticement for public support of the Plan, West End residents were led to believe that we would get upgrades to our amenities (including the Aquatic Centre) in return for the major increase in density and development that would come with the implementation of the Plan. (See our post West End Plan will spark a real estate boom here, says Business in Vancouver, June 17, 2014)

But suddenly, in August 2014, sharp citizens discovered that an obscure “request for proposals” for development of the Granville Loops area at the north end of the Granville Bridge included building a replacement for the Aquatic Center outside the West End.

It turns out to be true — the City of Vancouver and Park Board are considering demolishing the existing Vancouver Aquatic Centre. In upcoming candidates’ debates, and direct communication, we urge you to  ask candidates publicly where they stand on the future of the Aquatic Centre. Below are some relevant materials, including a press release, excerpts from the West End Community Plan, and more.

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Debate of City Council Candidates (on planning issues — all neighbourhoods, West End welcome) Oct 20 (Mon), by RAMP

City Council Candidates’ Debate (Planning issues, all neighbourhoods, citywide)
Monday, October 20, 2014, 6:45 pm to 9:00 pm (doors open 6:30)
Heritage Hall (Main Street and East 15th Avenue)
Special WEN note to West Enders: In contrast to past elections, the West End Community Centre Association has decided NOT to host a candidates’ debate/event this year. No other organization is planning one as far as we know. WEN is considering, but has no specific plans at the moment. If you would like to volunteer to organize one in the West End please feel free to contact us. Otherwise, this one on October 20 is your best option to meet Council candidates on planning issues.
Moderator: Miranda Nelson (The Georgia Straight)
Participants: Heather Deal & Raymond Louie (Vision Vancouver), George Affleck & Ken Low (NPA), Adriane Carr & Pete Fry (Green Party), Tim Louis & Keith Higgins (COPE) and Nicholas Chernen (Cedar Party).
RAMP 2014 election_debate_oct20_8-5x11
The focus will be on neighbourhood planning and other topics that City Hall sets policy over. Ask the candidates “what’s their plan for your neighbourhood?” Come join the debate and ask questions. This is a free event. There will be an open microphone to take questions from the audience during the second half of the debate. Refreshments will be provided.

Questions for the first half of the debate will be crowd sourced. Please send your questions to by 1pm, Sunday October 19th. Posters: full page colour, two per page handout, four per page handout, black & white full page flyer, four per page black & white handout

More details on the debate are available on RAMP (Residents Association Mount Pleasant) website:
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Mayoral and Council Candidates – Town Hall Meeting at St. James Community Hall (Oct 15, Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods)

Notice: West Enders (and citizens from all over Vancouver) are encouraged to attend this event in Kitsilano, and/or to send in your questions for candidates in advance of the meeting.

Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods (CVN)
Town Hall Meeting with Candidates for Vancouver City Council and Mayor
Putting the “Community” Back into Community Planning

Wednesday, October 15, 2014
7 to 9 pm
St. James Community Hall
3214 West 10th Avenue (and Trutch)

This is a chance to hear the candidates. Ask them your questions on planning, zoning, and citizen engagement. The focus of this meeting will be on the Principles and Goals for Community Planning and Citizen Engagement (download PDF here) developed by this coalition of 24 neighbourhood associations from across the city (West End Neighbours is a member. See full list below.)

Questions for candidates will be accepted in writing at the meeting, or in
advance at:

Participants include Mayoralty Candidates: Meena Wong, Bob Kasting, and Kirk LaPointe

Representing the Vancouver Green Party are Cleta Brown and Adriane Carr. In addition to Mayoralty Candidate Kirk LaPointe, Melissa De Genova will attend for the NPA. R.J. Aquino will represent OneCity. Glen Chernen and Nicholas Chernen will represent the Cedar Party. In addition to Mayoralty Candidate Meena Wong, Lisa Barrett will represent COPE. Councillor Andrea Reimer will represent Vision Vancouver.

Our Moderator is Charlie Smith, editor of the Georgia Straight.

The theme of the meeting will be Planning, Development and Community Engagement: Putting the Community back into Community Planning.

Each party has been asked to send two candidates standing for either the mayoralty or City Council.

CVN will ask each party to respond in opening remarks to the Coalition’s Principles & Goals document that seeks to significantly improve planning, development, and rezoning processes in the city. Much of the balance of the evening will be given over to an open-mic opportunity for residents to question the candidates about their planning, development, and zoning policies.

Read the Coalition of Vancouver Neighbourhoods’ Principles and Goals (143kb PDF)

LIST OF COALITION MEMBERS (as of Oct. 2014) From CVN website. Continue reading

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“Murder at the Sands” (Nov. 6, Best Western Sands Hotel): Annual fundraiser for West End – Coal Harbour Community Policing Centre

WECHCPC, Murder at the Sands poster, 6-Nov-2014(This is a public service announcement, received from West End Citizens’ Action Network (WECAN).

The very popular West End – Coal Harbour Community Policing Centre’s annual fundraiser “Murder at the Sands” is November 6 at the BEST WESTERN PLUS Sands Hotel.

Join CPC staff & volunteers, your friends and neighbours, for a fantastic 3-course meal, auction items from BC Ferries, Firehall Arts Centre, and Bermuda Bay Beach in Florida (just to name a few), as well as a ‘murder’ in Las Vegas.

Grab your tickets today! Tickets are just $75 (you get a $25 tax receipt) and are available at:

We hope to see you there!


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WESTENDER Rants/Raves: The Lauren is totally bogus (WEN Director’s response to article by editor)

TheLauren May 2014 (31)(Updated) Here we provide the text of a letter by WEN Director Virginia Richards that was published in the October 9, 2014, issue of WE Vancouver (The Westender). She wrote it to set the record straight, in response to an article entitled “West End rental building 30 years in the making,” written by Robert Mangelsdorf (the managing editor of The Westender). Below we print Ms. Richards’ letter (published version and longer unpublished version), followed by the original article by Mr. Mangelsdorf, and some references.

The Westender is owned by Glacier Media.

Rants/Raves: The Lauren is totally bogus

The Lauren offers little for West End (published version)

The Lauren at Comox and Broughton Streets (Westender Sept. 18-24, 2014) is being marketed as the “first purpose-built market rental tower for close to 30 years” but the 22-storey rental tower at St. Andrews Church three blocks to the east was built only 10 years ago. Rezoning of The Lauren site was contentious and bolstered neighbourhood demands for an updated West End Community Plan, a plan that now prohibits similar tower development in the centre of the West End.

The Lauren was approved under the City of Vancouver’s STIR program and received a huge 375 per cent increase in density and forgiveness of $1.7 million in Development Cost Levies. The developer did very nicely thanks to Vancouver taxpayers who will pick up the future tab for municipal infrastructure this project should have helped finance.

The Lauren contains six units under the provincial government’s SAFER program with a rent subsidy to eligible seniors and rents starting at $1,175 per month, but these units are offered for only five years. While the developer has promoted his benevolence, what will become of the surprised seniors at the end of the five-year period?

During the rezoning process, city council and the public were told by the developer that market studio and one bedroom apartments would rent for between $860 and $1,465 per month. Instead, these same units range from $1,400 to $1,800, with townhouse units at up to $3,200. It’s convenient for the leasing manager to sing the building’s praises, but while the project was approved as “affordable rental housing” the units are instead some of the priciest rentals in the West End. There is little “affordable” about this project, and little in it for the community.

–Virginia Richards, longtime West End resident Continue reading

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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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