West End renters alarmed over “demovictions”: What to do?

Three-storey walk-up rental apartment, VancouverSince Vancouver City Council adopted the West End Community Plan in November 2013, West End Neighbours has received a number of inquiries from renters who are alarmed about being evicted from older rental buildings.  Developers either buy them up, then demolish them, and build luxury condos and/or expensive new rental buildings, or empty them of tenants, renovate them (sometimes with the creation of additional smaller suites) and then rent them out again at higher monthly rents.

Below are excerpts from a recent message to WEN from a concerned resident:

I’m a resident of [an older West End rental building], and I’m sure you’re aware my building is slated for demolition.  From the start, this process has been extremely stressful. In a normal situation I would simply move, but considering I have a pet and I’m facing a rent increase of as much as $500, I am basically being booted out of the West End after building a life and career here.  Some extremely vague assurances have been made …  However I’ve seen nothing in writing and nothing official from the city or developer as to what will be done. Considering the rental situation in the West End currently, an offer of $1000 to put me out on the streets is a slap in the face. I don’t want money, I want a place to live.

*****

We are aware that this can be an extremely stressful process for anyone. Here are some initial suggestions.

Posted in Uncategorized

Redevelopment of 1661 Davie Street (existing Safeway site): Does it fulfill Community Plan objectives? (DPB meeting May 16 – Mon)

DE419982 at 1661 Davie, FIG1Intro: Below we provide links to official information about this major development application in Vancouver’s West End, and provide some analysis for residents to consider if they wish to send their own comments to the City. This is a powerful case study to compare and contrast what was promised by the West End Community Plan versus what is proposed to be built. Compare the guidelines of the West End Community Plan with the actual proposal, and you may find quite a difference. Below we also include info for you to provide your comments to the City. Besides what we listed here, if you have other points observations that deserve attention, please send us an e-mail (info@westendneighbours.com) and we could add them to the bottom of this post to share with others. It is important for residents to get their input to the City’s Development Permit Board.  You may also wish to share comments with City Council on the broader issue of change in the West End at mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca.

1. THE PROJECT

On Monday, May 16, 2016 after 3 pm, the City of Vancouver’s Development Permit Board is set to consider a large project on Davie Street (and Cardero) at the site of the existing “Safeway” (built approximately 20 years ago) and a BC Liquor store.  No rezoning or public hearing or rezoning is required as the site was already “pre-rezoned” for higher density at the time the West End Community Plan was adopted by City Council (Nov. 2013, and subsequent zoning changes completed in Jan. 2014).  Once the Development Permit Board (a group of four senior managers at the City of Vancouver) approves the project, the development can proceed directly to a building permit.

The proposed development – File number DE419982 – is for a mixed-use project consisting of:

  • a 3 storey retail base with three commercial units on the ground level, including a new liquor store;
  • a new grocery store on the upper ground & mezzanine level;
  • two residential towers (21 and 22 storeys) containing a total of 319 market rental apartments;
  • 3 levels of underground parking with 117 commercial spaces and 135 residential spaces.
  • The official applicant, Henriquez Partners Architects (CEO Gregory Henriquez), is working with developer Westbank Projects Corp. (CEO Ian Gillespie) , for client Safeway on this development, and the actual owner of this property is apparently Crombie REIT in a share-leaseback arrangement. Safeway was a subsidiary of the American Safeway Inc. but was sold in 2013 to Canada’s second-largest supermarket chain, Sobeys (a division of conglomerate Empire Company).

Official project information from City of Vancouver: http://development.vancouver.ca/1661davie/index.htm

Here is an image of the project provided by the applicant — looking north-east on Davie Street:

DE419982 at 1661 Davie, FIG1

 

In the West End Community Plan consultation process, the site was shown as being eligible for ONE tower, not two (the 3-D plan created by the City shows the single tower outlined in yellow on the inset image on the lower right).  The actual development as proposed includes two towers as shown in orange on the larger image to the left:

DE419982 at 1661 Davie, FIG2

The cumulative impacts of the towers proposed for Lower Davie Street – including those already constructed (“The Alexandra” at 1221 Bidwell), those recently approved at 1188 Bidwell Street (Mac’s Milk/Bosleys) and 1668 Davie Street (London Drugs parking lot), as well as those under consideration (1661 Davie Street) – will have a dramatic impact on the character of this part of the West End.  (These new towers plus other potential towers on Davie and Pendrell Streets are indicated in peach colour.)

A West End resident used a graphics program to create two images of Davie Street showing the impacts of the subject development and nearby development already approved  or constructed.  The images, shared with WEN, show the “existing” and “future” views west on Davie Street from the Cardero Street intersection.

How do you feel about the overall impacts of the developments on the experience of people at ground level?  Is this what you understood would be an outcome of the West End Community Plan?

EXISTING view west on Davie Street from the Cardero Street intersection:

DE419982 at 1661 Davie, FIG3

FUTURE view west on Davie Street from the Cardero Street intersection:

DE419982 at 1661 Davie, FIG4

2. HOW TO PROVIDE PUBLIC INPUT

This large development deserves consideration by the public. You are encouraged to review the project plans and share your comments with the City of Vancouver.

1661 Davie Street project information on the City’s website:
http://development.vancouver.ca/1661davie/index.htm

You can provide the City your written comments on the proposal right up until May 16th by emailing the Project Facilitator at:  wendy.lebreton@vancouver.ca.

Development Permit Board
Monday, May 16, 2016
Town Hall Meeting Room, City Hall
Meeting starts at 3 pm
(Public may write or speak to the DPB. You could write to the meeting coordinator asking for a slot to speak, and asking to convey your written comments to the DPB. lidia.mcleod@vancouver.ca)

More info on the DPB and how it operates:
http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/development-permit-board.aspx

You may also wish to call/write/meet Mayor and other members of City Council to share your observations on how the West End Community Plan is being implemented. Our elected officials are ultimately accountable for that, though they are officially not part of the decision-making process. Contact City Council: https://westendneighbours.wordpress.com/how-to/contact-mayor-and-council/

The public can attend and speak to the Development Permit Board.  Information on the May 16th meeting (click the “meetings” tab for agenda, which will probably appear just shortly before the meeting — sometimes just minutes before the meeting starts):
http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/development-permit-board.aspx

Please note: If you previously provided input to the City regarding the application (e.g., at the Open House in March) you may wish to revise and resend it to the DPB. WEN has learned from other cases that previous public input on any development application does NOT automatically get incorporated into each next step of the decision process — in this case, the Development Permit Board.

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3. MORE ANALYSIS, AND COMPARISON WITH WEST END COMMUNITY PLAN

In reviewing the project plans and formatting comments, you may wish to consider the following topics and points of reference:

3.1. Site Layout

The existing “mid-block” pedestrian connection between Davie Street and the rear lane is proposed to be removed.  The existing lane access allows pedestrians greater use of the lane and also helps to organize vehicle access to the existing underground parking area. But the loss of this connection and space would appear to be a negative outcome of the project. One of the future parking garage entrances is proposed to be directly facing Davie Street. But that sidewalk is a busy pedestrian route. Care should be taken in how this entrance is designed, as it is important to preserve pedestrian/sidewalk comfort and safety on the Davie Street sidewalk.

3.2. Size of Floorplates

One of the issues discussed in the West End Community Plan process was that of smaller floorplate buildings. The idea was to give preference to the design of “slim” towers to reflect the history of high-rise development in the West End and to reduce shadowing and view impacts.  The West End Plan indicates that for the subject site the maximum tower floor plate is limited to 511 sq. m.   The applicant is proposing to exceed the recommended tower floorplate size on the lower levels of the tower buildings with floorplates ranging from 600 to 949 sq. m.  Given that no rezoning or public hearing is required for this project, shouldn’t the buildings proposed reflect the guideline provisions of the West End Plan and shouldn’t the tower floorplates also comply with the guideline?

3.3. Streetscape and Building Finishes

The West End Community Plan indicates that:

Building materials should include a variety of materials, rather than consist primarily of glass façade, and reflect the architectural character of surrounding buildings. This is particularly important for the lower floors.”

And encourages:

“…mixed-use development with continuous active commercial frontages in this area.”

Further, the Plan includes a specific policy that commercial streets should be enhanced as public spaces:

Policies
Improve the commercial streets as public spaces
10.2.1 Enhance public spaces along the commercial streets (Robson, Denman, and Davie Streets, and Alberni Retail District) to improve walkability and vibrancy, create gathering spaces, and support commerce. 

Now, look at the developer’s colour rendered image of the Davie Street streetscape is shown below:

DE419982 at 1661 Davie, FIG6Contrary to the objectives of the West End Community Plan the project proposes two towers perched on a monolithic glass podium which ignores the rhythm of individual storefronts on Davie Street.  What do you think? Should the podium of the project be re-examined and redesigned to better reflect this important location on Davie Street? Should the City require the applicant to make a greater effort to create a comfortable and attractive pedestrian-oriented shopping street in accordance with the objectives of the West End Community Plan?

3.4. Lane Frontage

The design of the north elevation of the podium appears completely at odds with the community plan objectives for “activation” of lanes as public spaces and the provisions of Section 10.4 of the Community Plan.

DE419982 at 1661 Davie, FIG7

So now, how have the applicants interpreted those guidelines? The proposal offers unrelieved walls built right to the property line and punctuated only with ventilation grilles, loading facilities, and parking access. Do you think that any of those features could been seen as assisting the residential character, activation, or pedestrian comfort on the rear lane?

The hostile expanse of concrete as shown in the image below does little to accommodate the community plan suggestion that the site to the north (across the lane) might benefit from residential laneway infill development:

FIG 8

 

DE419982 at 1661 Davie, FIG8

If anything ever gets built along the lane from this Safeway development, imagine the view and shade impacts the residents will be faced with.

At the west end of the site along the lane this blank concrete wall extends to 14.8 metres  or 48.5 feet in height. That’s almost five storeys high. Note that the rectangular elements marked “20” are not windows. They are indicted as “painted metal louvres”.

DE419982 at 1661 Davie, FIG9

Consider all of the above. Do you think the resulting lane elevation will be “pedestrian friendly.”  Do you think efforts should be made to change this element of the project to achieve the objectives of the West End Community Plan?

3.5. Shadowing

The development will shadow the Lord Roberts Elementary School playground during the busy after-school hours. The field is jointly managed by the Vancouver Parks Board and Vancouver School Board, and heavily used year-round in this densely-populated urban community. The playground is an important public space in the West End. Do you think that sunlight on the public space should be preserved? Is the incremental increase in shadowing from this proposal acceptable to the community?

The blue areas on the map below show the additional shadow arising from the proposed building at 3 pm on a December afternoon:

DE419982 at 1661 Davie, FIG10

Many believe efforts should be made to adjust the “massing” of the towers to reduce or eliminate the incremental shadow impacts on Lord Roberts School playground.

3.6. Public Realm

Figure 10.1  of the West End Community Plan indicates an objective to create a public realm improvement at the north-west corner of Davie and Cardero Streets.

 

DE419982 at 1661 Davie, FIG11So how is that expressed in this proposal? There appears to be no effort in the project design to provide for a high quality, publicly-accessible and usable space here, at the north-west corner of Davie and Cardero Streets. Do you think the City and applicant should make greater efforts to implement this objective of the community plan?

3.7. Parking

135 parking stalls are proposed for the 319 market residential units.  This means that 184 of the proposed apartment units will have no access to parking on-site. If the occupants of these units use cars they will need to park them on the street.  The high rents in these proposed new buildings create the likelihood for a resident population with relatively higher rates of car ownership. Therefore, parking demand should be examined carefully to avoid creating additional parking problems in the neighbourhood.

3.8. Construction Management

The 3-D image at the start of this article shows potentially seven towers in the 20-plus storey range being constructed over the next many months, with the development potential created by the adoption of the West End Community Plan. Will the City, developers and contractors manage all the demolition and construction activities carefully and in an integrated way to minimize impacts on the thousands of nearby residences, visitors, and passers-by? Prior to demolition and construction activity taking place at this site, would you like the City to improve its regulations and procedures regarding management of construction impacts and communication with affected residents and businesses?

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4. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

4.1 Chronology

  • 2013 (Nov) – West End Community Plan adopted by City Council after a Public Hearing.
  • 2014 (Jan) – City Council adopts bylaw that “pre-zones” huge sections of the West End to comply with new WECP. (This means that no public hearing will be required for the 1661 Davie (Safeway) site.
  • 2016 (Jan 28) – First notice from City about this project, when the City’s “Development Applications” website carries project information.
  • 2016 (Jan 29) – A month after first public notice, the City holds a “community open house” to show the designs.
  • 2016 (Mar 9) – Just over a month after the application becomes official, the Urban Design Panel unanimously “supports” the application (5 support votes versus zero non-support). Total members 13. Interestingly, only 5 of 8 members who were present voted, so 3 abstained evidently, while 5 members were absent. So in effect, only 5 of 13 members, or 38%, officially supported the project.
  • 2016 (Mar 29) – Two months after first public notice, the deadline for public comments to get into the City staff’s written review of this project for the Development Permit Board. However, the City says that “comments will be considered up until the date of decision.”
  • 2016 (May 16) – Less than four months after first public notice, the 4-person internal Development Permit Board is slated to make its final decision to approve the project. The meeting starts at 3 pm, but the actual start time for this project will not be known publicly until shortly before the meeting.

The above chronology shows how the West End Community Plan has accelerated the approval process for major tower developments, reduced opportunities for public input, and created a buffer between residents and elected officials. The Urban Design Panel does not deal with the public, and the four-person Development Permit Board is just an internal body. Minutes of the Urban Design Panel meeting are not yet available (as of May 1), just a couple weeks before the final decision of the Development Permit Board, and if past practice is a guide, the public will not know what the final staff report to the DPB says shortly (hours or minutes) before the actual meeting. In effect, this major development goes from first public notice to final approval in less than four months, despite having many elements that are in contradiction with the West End Community Plan – the key document presented to the public as a way to guide growth and change in the neighbourhood.

4.2 ROLE AND DECISION OF THE URBAN DESIGN PANEL

The Urban Design Panel (UDP) unanimously supported the project application during a daytime meeting on March 9, 2016. (As of May 1, 2016, the minutes of meeting were not yet available to the public.) Those minutes are important for any member of the public to review in order to evaluate whether or not the expert panel adequately considered urban design issues. Eventually, the minutes will appear here:
http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/committees/minutes-urban-design-panel-20160309.pdf

WEN has an audio recording of the UDP meeting. Please contact WEN if you would like to review the audio.

4.3. CORPORATE OWNERSHIP OF THE SITE

As far as we know, Empire Company Limited (www.empireco.ca, Toronto Stock Exchange EMP.A) owns Sobeys (www.sobeyscorporate.com), which owns Safeway in western Canada. Headquartered in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, Empire was founded in 1963 and is a Canadian conglomerate involved mostly in food retail and corporate investments. Empire Company also owns the Sobeys supermarket chain. As far as we can tell, Crombie REIT owns the 1661 Davie Street site and Sobeys would have a leaseback arrangement. www.crombiereit.ca. Crombie REIT appears to be a Canadian “unincorporated open ended publicly traded real estate investment trust” which trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and also happens to be based in Stellarton, Nova Scotia. Its executive includes several members of the Sobeys family. http://www.snl.com/irweblinkx/od.aspx?iid=4143678

Posted in Uncategorized

Westbank’s First Baptist Church project (56 storeys, at Burrard & Nelson) goes to UDP April 6 (Wed)

first-baptist-3-blog, from changingcitybookThe Urban Design Panel will review this proposal on April 6, 2016. Details from the meeting agenda are provided below. This is the first of four items on the agenda. The PDF document includes excerpts of the West End Plan and the relevant design guidelines.
http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/committees/agenda-urban-design-panel-20160406.PDF

Urban Design Panel. 
Time: 3:00 pm
Place: Town Hall Meeting Room, Vancouver City Hall
3:00 pm
1. 3:15 pm Address: 969 Burrard Street & 1019–1045 Nelson Street
(1.5 hours) DA: N/A
Description: The proposal includes restoration of First Baptist Church, new church ancillary spaces, including a 37-space child daycare, a gymnasium, a counselling centre, offices and a café, a new eight-storey building containing 66 social housing units, owned by the church, and a new 56-storey tower containing 294 market strata residential units with a floor space ratio (FSR) of 10.83.
Zoning: CD-1 (445) and RM-5B to CD-1 Revised
Application Status: Rezoning (Higher Building)
Review: First
Architect: Bing Thom Architects (Amirali Javidan)
Staff: Karen Hoese and Sailen Black

first-baptist-2, from changingcitybook

The meeting is open to the public, but may not speak. Upon request, an audio recording of the meeting is available to the public afterwards. The UDP is an advisory body to City Council. You can learn more about the UDP and rules  here. http://vancouver.ca/your-government/urban-design-panel.aspx

Westbank has a number of major projects on the go at the moment in the West End. A 43-storey tower at 1550 Alberni was at the UDP on Dec 2, 2015, supported 7 to 0 by voting UDP members. The 21-storey tower at 1754 Pendrell is another. Another one in the works is Davie Safeway, for 21 and 23 storeys.

One industry blog indicated that Gillespie had declared this First Baptist project a “done deal”already in January 2013, months before the West End Community Plan (WECP) became official. One wonders how he knew.

It appears that even while the residents of the West End were participating in good faith with City of Vancouver staff as input for the WECP, other staff were in detailed negotiations with developers like Westbank. The WECP was adopted by City Council in November 2013, ten months AFTER Gillespie called this project a “done deal.” See this quote:

… finally, there is a mind-blowing project at the first baptist church in the pipes, gillepsie showed us a couple images and the entire room gasped in awe and excitement. it’s a full church restoration and expansion with a bing thom-designed tower rising off the back portion of the site, a very special, narrow, pointed marina city-esque wonder that will become a city icon almost immediately. gillespie called it “a done deal.” Source: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showthread.php?p=5973259#post5973259

From the West End Community Plan…

  1. Seven Built Form Guiding Principles
  2. Reinforce the Dome-Shaped Skyline
  3. Strengthen the Urban Frame
  4. Adhere to Prevailing View Corridors
  5. Recognize Transitional Role in Form and Scale
  6. Demonstrate Shadowing Performance
  7. Responsive Form to Private Views
  8. Ground Oriented Focus in Uses and Public Realm Quality

First Baptist Church rezoning location 969 Burrard, UDP, 6-Apr-2016

Posted in Uncategorized

Wave of development in West End: Opportunities for public input. See list here.

West End Google Maps 24-Feb-2016

Red marks indicate only current applications in the list below. Besides these, many other developments are under way or in the pipeline for the West End.

The West End Community Plan adopted in November 2013 has unleashed a wave of development. Below, we have summarized some of the upcoming current opportunities for your input on rezoning and/or development applications with information from the City of Vancouver website on the various development proposals.

Please note carefully the locations that affect or concern you and provide your comments to the City by the deadline noted — in writing or at the open houses or meetings indicated.

(Note: WEN is entirely volunteer run. Your donations help us cover costs of website and e-mail lists. Donate by link at top right of this page. Thank you!)

1661 Davie Street – DE419982

Henriquez Partners Architects (with Westbank) has applied to the City of Vancouver for permission to develop this site with a mixed-use building consisting of:

• a 3 storey podium with three (3) retail units on the lower & upper ground level;
• a retail grocery store on the upper ground & mezzanine level;
• two residential towers containing a total of 319 dwelling units (market rental);
• 3 levels common underground parking, accessed off Davie St and the rear lane; and
• Total floor area of 28,405m2.

Under the site’s existing C5-A zoning, the application is “conditional” so it may be permitted; however, it requires the decision of the Development Permit Board. This application has been scheduled for the Development Permit Board for  May 2, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. in the Town Hall Meeting Room (1st Floor, City Hall, 453 West 12th Avenue).

You can provide comments by filling out our online comment form.

We welcome your written comments (letter or e-mail) on this development application. Comments should be received on, or before March 29 , 2016, to be considered in the staff review. However, comments will be considered up until the date of decision.

A community open house is scheduled from 5:00 – 8:00 pm on Monday, February 29, 2016, at Coast Plaza Hotel, 1763 Comox Street with the applicant team and City staff available to answer any questions.

WEN coverage: https://westendneighbours.wordpress.com/2016/01/28/21-and-23-storeys-safeway-davie-proposed/

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Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

Bosa tower (1500 W Georgia) 43 storeys revised concept proposed: Open house Feb 4 (Thurs)

Bosa 1500 West Georgia image proposed Jan 2016Bosa Properties is holding an open house to show their revised plans for a tower at 1500 West Georgia Street. The tower has been scaled back from the original 50 storeys to 43.

Open House
Empire Landmark Hotel, 1400 Robson St, (Pavilion 1)
5 –7:30 pm (drop in)
Thursday, February 4th, 2016

This event is organized by the developer, a chance for input at this point. A separate open house would be expected in the future hosted by the City, as part of the rezoning process.

 

 

Bosa 1500 West Georgia image proposed, open house invite card, 4-Feb-2016

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

21 & 23 storeys set for Davie Safeway at 1661 Davie (DE419982). Henriquez/Westbank. Open House Feb 29. DPB May 2.

1661-davie from changingcitybook-comA development application sign has just gone up at the Safeway store at 1661 Davie Street (and Cardero) for two towers above a re-built Safeway store.

This is the first public notice about this Davie Safeway application. No Public Hearing is required, as City Council “pre-zoned” this site in connection with the West End Community Plan in 2013. Two more towers recently approved (also with no Public Hearing required thanks to the WECP) are on the same block: 23 storeys on the London Drugs parking lot at 1668 Davie, and 22 storeys above what is now Mac’s at 1188 Bidwell). The four-person Development Permit Board at City Hall will approve the project on May 3, 2016. In practice, public input is generally limited to minor design details for projects like these.

Below are excerpts of the City web page.

Open House (applicant team and City staff present)
5 to 8 pm, Monday, February 29, 2016
Coast Plaza Hotel, 1763 Comox Street

Henriquez Partners Architects has applied for Westbank Projects Corp. to the City of Vancouver for permission to develop this site with a mixed-use building consisting of:

• a 3 storey podium with three (3) retail units on the lower & upper ground level;
• a retail grocery store on the upper ground & mezzanine level;
two residential towers containing a total of 319 dwelling units (market rental);
[21 and 23 storeys high, plus rooftop structures. The City’s published information does not state this very prominently.]
• 3 levels common underground parking, accessed off Davie St and the rear lane; and
• Total floor area of 28,405m2.

Under the site’s existing C5-A zoning, the application is “conditional” so it may be permitted; however, it requires the decision of the DPB set for this date:

Development Permit Board
3 pm, Monday, May 2, 2016
Town Hall Meeting Room (1st Floor, City Hall, 453 West 12th Avenue).

Provide comments by filling out the City’s online comment form. Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

Providence Lands (St. Paul’s Hospital) Policy Planning Program: Jan 20 (Wed) at City Council. Speakers invited.

stpauls(Update, with WEN comment at bottom.)

The City has been circulating the following note. We share it here, as it an important matter for the West End. Note that this is not a discussion about whether to move the hospital. (It has already been decided that the location on Burrard Street will close and a new hospital built in False Creek.) This meeting is a part of work the City is doing to plan for the new and old locations. Here is your opportunity to provide input to Mayor and Council.

Providence Lands (St. Paul’s Hospital) Policy Planning Program
 
The above-noted Policy Report dated January 7, 2016, will be considered by Vancouver City Council at its meeting on:
DATE:
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
TIME:
9:30 am
PLACE:
Council Chamber
Third Floor, City Hall
 
If you wish further information on this matter, please contact Kevin McNaney at 604.871.6851. If you wish further information on the meeting, please call Leslie Tuerlings at 604.873.7015.
You may also communicate your thoughts on the issue to the Mayor and Councillors by emailing mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca and we will ensure Council receives all correspondence before the matter is considered.
For your information, all meetings of Council are webcast and can be viewed at: http://civic.neulion.com/cityofvancouver/ .The minutes for this meeting can be viewed at: http://vancouver.ca/councilmeetings approximately two days following the meeting.
____________________
City Clerk’s Office
City of Vancouver
Email: speaker.request@vancouver.ca
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COMMENT FROM WEST END NEIGHBOURS

Please note that with it’s Regular Council meeting on January 20, the City is not actually undertaking a planning process for the “old St. Paul’s site” (the current site on Burrard) although that is the piece of the puzzle that is of most interest to WEN. Right now what the City is focusing on is the policy framework around accommodating the new False Creek hospital location.  The City is also participating in the conversation being conducted by Providence Health Care and the Province around how health care services may continue to be provided to the West End. The loss of the medical and health services and employment that St. Paul’s Hospital provided for over a century is a significant loss and disappointment to many people in the West End neighbourhood, which under the new West End Community Plan is set grow by 10,000 people with many new tower developments. WEN hopes that that some medical and health services will remain on the site to serve the community. The real and full discussion about re-development of the current site on Burrard is anticipated to come (presumably) much later.

Additional note by West End Neighbours:

Please also note that this meeting is NOT a discussion about whether to move the hospital. That has been decided already. The focus for West Enders should be on those aspect of the policy recommendations, as noted in the report:

THAT Council direct staff to collaborate with Providence and Vancouver Coastal Health on robust public consultation on the relocation and transformation of St Paul’s Hospital, generally as outlined in the Public Consultation Strategy in Appendix B, with the following objectives:

i. On the current St Paul’s site (“Burrard Street Site”), City staff should participate in the Providence/Vancouver Coastal Health clinical services planning process on health care services required in the West End and across the Downtown area, and report back to Council on consultation outcomes, including any issues that arise related to the future redevelopment of the site. (Note: Providence is not proceeding with redevelopment of the Burrard Street Site at this time)

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Excerpt of note from City of Vancouver, West End Planning

The report seeks Council’s approval of a policy planning program for the movement of St Paul’s Hospital from Burrard Street (“Burrard Street Site”) to a state-of-the-art, integrated care and research hospital and health campus in the False Creek Flats (“Station Street Site”).

The planning program will include a robust public consultation on the future of the Station Street Site and related expectations for local health care service delivery in the West End and across the Downtown area.

Posted in Uncategorized

Will Urban Design Panel for 21-storey tower at 1750 Pendrell (Wed, Jan 13) address harsh laneway elevation?

 

1772-1774 or 1750 Pendrell, lane view, UDP docs, 13-Jan-2016

Caption: The West End Community Plan adopted in 2013 was intended to “activate” the neighbourhood’s laneways and make them more comfortable for pedestrians. This image shows how the policy is now being implemented. Imagine the parent and child’s experience here passing concrete walls and ventilation grills.

The Urban Design Panel has 1750 Pendrell Street in Vancouver’s West End on its agenda for January 13, 2016 (Wednesday). (The address for rezoning phases of the process was 1754-1772 Pendrell, but it appears to have been changed to 1750.)

The rezoning on this site for a 21-storey tower for Westbank Projects Corp (architect Henriquez Partners Architects) was approved by City Council on September 15, 2015:
http://former.vancouver.ca/commsvcs/planning/rezoning/applications/1754-1772pendrell/index.htm

A condition of the rezoning was that the applicant attain a development permit from the city. The design forwarded for the Development Permit application is significantly different than the one presented to the public and considered by City Council as part of the rezoning application. The curved balconies and illuminated “sail” feature on the west facade have been deleted, and the design now proposes rectangular wrap around balconies. The number of rental units in the project has increased from 171 rental units to 173 rental units. The unit mix has changed, with a reduction in 2 bedroom units and an increase in 3 bedroom units, although the lack of floor plans on the City’s website makes it impossible to review the size of the 3 bedroom units proposed. Continue reading

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WEN writes City Council on 2016 Budget & Capital Plan, 5-year plan: More info sought on benefits of Community Plan

CoV photo Vancouver City Council 2015-2018

Vancouver City Council, 2014 to 2018

On December 14, 2015, West End Neighours wrote the following letter Vancouver City Council for its Regular Council meeting set for Tuesday, December 15, to provide requests and input regarding the City’s financial plans, from the perspective of the West End. Council is expected to approve the budget at that meeting. The main theme of the letter is to ask City Hall to provide more information to the community regarding the implementation and benefits of the West End Community Plan, adopted in 2013. We will report back to readers when we receive a response.

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Dear Mayor and Council,

We are writing regarding the 2016 Budget and Capital Plan, Five Year Financial Plan, and Property Endowment Fund, from the perspective of the West End.

City Council adopted the West End Community Plan just over two years ago. Since then, we have seen many major tower projects approved or in the pipeline ranging from 20 to 65 storeys, as well as laneway apartment buildings. Those approvals, and more expected in the coming years, will bring thousands more people into the West End, putting increasing demand on community facilities.

We ask Council to provide for residents of the West End to receive an update on what is being delivered for the community through the West End Community Plan.

The 2016 budget documents mention some projects, including a facility for Qmunity, design of the Jim Deva Plaza, and renovations to the Gordon Neighbourhood House, a survey of parking issues, and some attention to further development.

In the bigger context, we ask Council to look into the current status of amenity improvements indicated for the Public Benefits Strategy for the West End Community Plan. When approved, the PBS was estimated to have a value in the range of $585 to $630 million over thirty years, with significant contributions from Development Cost Levies and Community Amenity Contributions. Continue reading

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1550 Alberni (43 storeys, Westbank) goes to Urban Design Panel Dec. 2 (Wed)

1550-Alberni-Street-2 image Kengo Kuma, Westbank, smallWestenders may be interested in knowing that the UDP, an influential advisory body to City Council, will be reviewing an application by Westbank Projects Corp (CEO Ian Gillespie) for a 43-storey tower at 1550 Alberni. Details are as follows.

Urban Design Panel
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
Meeting starts at 3 pm, and 1550 Alberni is up at 4:15 pm
Agenda: http://vancouver.ca/files/cov/committees/agenda-urban-design-panel.20151202.pdf

Official details from the agenda follow further below. Three other applications are also being discussed in the meeting, one being the Vancouver Art Gallery.

We have covered this application before: “Pre-application” open house (June 29, 2015), and public open house (November 3, 2015). This UDP meeting is another step toward the rezoning at a Public Hearing at an as-yet unknown date. In some cases, the UDP raises issues for the applicant to address before it comes back a second time for another vote. For more about the UDP please visit the official City page here.

4:15 pm Address: 1550 Alberni Street
Description: To construct a 43-storey mixed-use building, including 188 residential units with retail at grade.
Zoning: DD to CD-1
Application Status: Rezoning Application
Review: First
Architect: Merrick Architecture (Greg Borowski)
Staff: Linda Gillan and Colin King

Continue reading

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